TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Julie Clarke and her daughter Amelie live in a colorful house, surrounded by creativity. There’s a craft room with floor-to-ceiling art supplies, musical instruments in the family room, and 7-year-old Amelie’s bedroom would appeal to any little girl, with its fun, decorated furniture and pendants that hang from the ceiling.
When Amelie started kindergarten, her mom began what she hopes will be a 12-year-long endeavor: a daily, well-thought-out, colorful note, meant to celebrate, inspire, and support her daughter, tucked into her daughter’s lunch box or book bag.
Often, the notes recap the day, point out something Amelie did to make her proud – or the things that the little girl could’ve handled better – but they’re always carefully crafted.
“When I go to write something, I try to think of something that not only pertains to her at age seven, but that will also pertain to her day when she’s 17,” Julie explains.
Amelie loves the notes, and saves them in brightly patterned storage boxes, one for each year.
Says Amelie, “She takes her time and she makes them every day. They’re special for me.”
Julie ends her day creating the notes, saying it’s her relaxation, much like someone would watch television or do a crossword puzzle. It’s also how she quiets herself, and gives gratitude for the day. But they’re therapeutic, too.
Julie was widowed not long after Amelie started school. Her husband John passed away suddenly, due to a severe reaction to a wasp sting. The EMMY-winning audio operator is likely the inspiration for the musical side of the couple’s little girl. Julie posses the artistic talent. And, she hopes, the daily devotions make Amelie feel extra loved.
“It’s a little extra attention here and there,” says Julie. “She’s lost one parent, so I try to do that for her – and throw in a little extra. It’s love in a box.”
Julie began sharing the lunch notes on an Instagram account, Amelie’s Lunch Notes, so that her friends to see them. But it wasn’t long before the feed caught the eye of people she’s never met.
“When people reach out and say how much they mean, and how important they are to them, that’s pretty cool,” Julie says. She hopes it’s inspiration for other parents.
Julie says, one day, she might compile the messages into a book, an occasionally she’ll teach art classes at Paper Seahorse in Tampa. But for now she’s simply focused on taking note of each day.