When I was younger than my present 67 years, I didn’t bother saying “Thank you” very much. I never knew that the special effort someone made for me wasn’t automatic; I didn’t know that all people didn’t do those things.
Life taught me otherwise.
When I was a single mother to a small child, I used to go to my parents’ house where I often did my laundry. It was easier than going to the Laundromat and it was waaayyy cheaper. I didn’t have to worry about pumping quarters into the machines, watching my loads, and removing them fast—after the spin or dry cycle.
While there, I used their detergent…their bleach…their softener stuff….freely.
I drank their wine, too (sometimes while I did that laundry.) And because I don’t like ‘drinking alone,’ I followed that up with their crackers and cheese.
The afore-mentioned are the small things I basically took for granted.
On further reflection, I note far more important stuff:
My parents invested in us, seriously. They took us 4 kids to CCD (religious instruction), play rehearsals, scout meetings, dental appointments, interminable science fairs (where they doubtless acted proud and interested,) Masses on Sundays, holy days, and Lent, dance recitals and practice…the hundreds of “Dreaded-but-Must-Do Parent Stuff” (if you want your kids successful.)
My parents got me to go to college, drumming into my head that my going was a certainty. The only question was “where?”
Their push gave me a career, one where I could support myself and two daughters whom I raised, with no financial support from anyone else.
I knew kids who didn’t hear the “Go to college” refrain and they became hourly-wage-workers. Oh, I did those jobs, too, but fortunately for me, they were extra income to add to my teacher’s salary ; they were never my sole source of income.
And because of my teaching job, I got medical benefits for my family, all the more important since I was sole provider.
When I got older, I learned that all parents don’t do that: some give minimal-to-no-effort; while others relinquish their role altogether.
Recently, President Obama’s appearance before supporters made the headlines. He got up at the podium and thanked them, but he showed them how very much he appreciated their work, in another way, too: He cried.
That got national attention and it went on all the news feeds.
An interesting aside? No one hinted at his possible emotional weakness or that the President’s ‘going soft.’
You see, he was overcome by their giving…the long hours of telephone calling….. hand-shaking… going door-to-door…the many hours they took away from their own personal pursuits because they believed in his mission.
He cried for their unselfish contribution (OK, it was selfish—they wanted their man “in.”)
His level of thanks was entirely appropriate.
Because everybody doesn’t do that and he would never have succeeded without them.
It got me to thinking: Many of us don’t thank others nearly enough or with such conviction. I’m going to work on that.
P. S. What’s a little blessing I’m thankful for? I no longer have to sit in frigid bleachers as my daughter plays clarinet for her high school band, at the Thanksgiving football game. Same for sideline soccer game support. Those regular roles I relinquish cheerfully…
“Happy Thanksgiving to All……….”