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When we first realized my son was struggling with reading, we were encouraged to buy fridge magnets to help him with his spelling and writing and make it fun. I know life is always more fun standing in front of the fridge, but it’s usually leftover related. So much yum! My son didn’t spend a lot of time intentionally forming words from brightly coloured pieces of magnetized plastic, but they came to be meaningful in our house.

Once upon a time, I was sick in bed and feeling awful. I got up and found a surprise on the fridge – a love note from my son in cheery fridge magnets. “I love you mum” they proclaimed. I responded to his message with one of my own, “Liam rocks”. Our communication is ever evolving as he grows. When he’s away at his dad’s he likes to FaceTime me to keep in touch, so I can see his face and he can show me his toys. My kid is sarcastic, with a bone dry cappucino sense of humour, so his facial expressions help decode the intent of his messages. Sometimes he text messages me off his iPad at his dad’s.

The most hilarious miscommunication by text message occurred one day after his “church camp” (Sunday school but on Wednesdays). He messaged me, “They almost found Jesse!” I was perplexed. “Who is Jesse? How long has he been missing?” I was met with crickets, no response. Later that night he explained, with exasperation, that at “church camp” they were talking about scientists/archaeologists being close to finding Jesus. Fridge magnets are definitely less confusing than text messages.

It is so easy to miscommunicate by text message in a relationship. I don’t know how many times I’ve ended up with hurt feelings on one side or another because of inferred tone or perceived inattention or technological glitches delaying communication. I decided one day to get back to basics and left a love note on the fridge, knowing full well that my boyfriend would be making dinner after work. I was so excited about my ridiculously corny message in fridge magnet format. Take that, text message! You have been dethroned.

The thing about text messages is that you get a beep or a buzz alerting you to their presence. After work, preparing dinner on autopilot, it’s super easy to completely ignore the front of the fridge, which looks exactly like it always does (black with a collection of seemingly nonsensical letters). Imagine my surprise, when we ate dinner with nary a mention of my sneaky subliminal messaging. I finally couldn’t take it anymore and asked if he wouldn’t mind grabbing me a drink from the fridge – AND READING THE FREAKING MESSAGE ON THE DOOR. This was going really well. I could totally tell this was going to be a thing forever and ever (sarcasm font).

Anyways, he saw the message and thought it was cute and conceded that my gesture was adorable and romantic in a mom-of-a-7-year-old kind of way. I figured I had “won” this round and sat smugly, enjoying what turned out to be a rather short reign as far as covert-romantic-gestures-conjurer-in-chief. It wasn’t long before I received my own “Didn’t you see my grand romantic gesture?”

‘I heart you’ was written on the bathroom mirror, lying in wait for the next steamy shower to be revealed. I’m actually a bath person, so I probably would have never known without prompting. It was very sweet and I ran the shower to see his lovely missive. I melted, like the soap in the shower.

Taking our sweet nothings offline, we learned love is love however you communicate it, and no communication replaces a face to face conversation. If you ever wonder if you are loved – ask, but look around, sometimes the writing is on the wall fridge.

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