Napkin Notes

The Napkin Notes Dad

When I was a kid, my dad made most of my lunches. They weren’t always the most impressive lunches at the lunch table. I still eyed the kids with Sun Chips and fruit snacks. And I did carefully sneak each article of food out from the cover of the paper bag the time he accidentally got an economy-size stock of Power Ranger-themed sandwich bags. But it felt special in a way to know that each day, even amid the uncertainties and stresses of growing up and finding friends and discovering who I was, that I had this reminder that something familiar and comfortable and loving awaited me at home.

So it made me extra nostalgic and emotional when I read this story in the Los Angeles Times about a dad, Garth Callaghan, with cancer who has started writing a napkin note to pack in his daughter’s lunch for every day until she graduates high school. Most of the notes are inspirational quotes or personal messages. Callaghan also posts them on his website and various social media sites and they’ve recently been turned into a Kindle eBook.

If that isn’t sweet or heartbreaking enough, hop on over and read the full story on the Los Angles Times website. The ending gets me every time.

On Getting Older

Do you guys ever get anxiety about growing older/aging? Since college, I feel like time just melts away and even I can’t believe I’m already 27 years old now! It feels like yesterday I was just 22 and starting my first full-time job, and it seriously feels like yesterday I was just 23 and moving to New York for grad school….

I’ve always been aware of aging since I was very young. When I was 8 or 9, my fourth grade teacher had a minor heart attack that left us with a substitute teacher for almost two months. After he returned, he gave us a long talk about how precious the time in your life is and how the hours and minutes and seconds that go by will never be yours again. Even then it felt like a heavy talk for us kids to grasp, but it stayed with me. However, it made me very sensitive about time and very anxious about how little control I had over it…when I turned 10, I knew that I would never be a single-digit age again, and when I first started high school, I distinctly remember thinking to myself that I would come to this place at 14 and I would leave it at 18, and that was a fact. In college, I was genuinely sad on my 20th birthday because I would never, ever be a teen again and it was so bewildering to know that these phases of my life could just move on without me, whether or not I was ready to move on as well…

But then, a couple of years ago, I came to the realization that aging is the best proof that we are indeed alive. Once that clicked for me, I felt such a great sense of freedom from worrying about the passage of time; instead, I started to see aging as a gift and I understood that my fourth grade teacher’s lesson to us was gratitude for time. When I came across the quote above today, it once again struck me how lucky each of us are to be able to get older every day, and what a privilege that truly is. Really, we are so lucky to get old! Each extra hour, day, month, or year is never promised, and we should never be sad about getting older because we would be so lucky to get old and wrinkly in this lifetime.

On a  side note, I also remember having a talk with a friend long ago that we wouldn’t plan for personal milestones in our lives, such as the age we’ll get married or the age we’ll have kids; instead, we would just always be the perfect age for wherever we were in life. Isn’t it so nice to let go of that anxiety and know that we’re exactly where we’re meant to be?

How do you guys feel about getting older? Do you worry, do you not care? What matters most to you at this point in your life? I’d love to hear your thoughts. :)

{photos of Paul Newman & Joanne Woodward via}

On Love And Mutual Weirdness

Illustration from The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss

Speaking of whimsy …  from the guru, himself, Dr. Seuss, a quote about love:

“We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”