Of all the things I do not make enough time for, thanking my friends and family for their generosity is probably the most egregious omission.
I don’t write Thank You notes, and I should. Oh my how I should. People who care about me have shown it in showers of generosity that I should set aside time for daily to pen personal notes about.
I don’t do it.
I have a friend who gives me the most thoughtful gifts. Jewelry that is unusual and lovely. Cloth playtime books for my children she had specially made for us. Tickets to and companionship at great concerts. Wrapped beautifully with streaming ribbon she has to fight her cats for. I haven’t sent a note. I am confounded when I try to think of just the right gift in return, as if I haven’t known her for a decade.
I have a sister-in-law and a brother who make it rain with clothes and toys for my kids in regular waves—good things, too. When the weather turns cold, I reach into the next box and pull out a really nice coat that fits perfectly, with matching snow pants and boots ready for the first snowfall. Any given day, I can dress them in oxford-cloth shirts, khakis, sweater vests. I can’t imagine how much money we’ve saved on these clothes, and how much time and energy I’ve saved not shopping. It’s amazing and we are so fortunate. I’ve thanked them, but it’s not enough. They definitely deserve a something. Nothing comes to mind. I’m sure something will come to mind.
Friends and family and neighbors have brought gifts for the kids’ birthdays, baptisms, or even just because they went to an apple orchard that day. Time passes. No notes. I know I’m supposed to. I have boxes of thank-you cards just waiting for ink. So many pens. I even have stamps.
Nice hand-me-downs clothes sent from Indiana. Did I send a note? I can’t remember. Not likely. The postage alone they didn’t have to do. But they did. And I just went ahead with my life. Their awesome clothes got mixed in with other awesome clothes and my kids look great, and the shame wears me down.
Gifts from longtime friends for me, for the kids at holidays. Unbelievable, really. Like the charming couple from Australia, old friends of my husband’s parents, who send gifts every Christmas for children they have never met and will never meet. I forget which outfits are from them before the torn wrapping paper is thrown away. I’m a terrible person.
Hand-crocheted hats and blankets from a friend. Really terrific stuff, and who has hand-made anything from a friend anymore? These are special, and the dinosaur hat never fails to impress. Sure, I say thank you and show her some pictures on my phone, but do I send a note? Do I send photos? Yeah… no. Come on! She made them with her own hands!
My mother has given me tons of things over the years. From her, I have furniture, life, jewelry, clothes… and she’s generous to a fault every Christmas and birthday. She would probably love a note of thanks, even an annual summary of thanks. I’ve squeezed out a note or two over 44 years.
In short, I am so grateful and ashamed. Thanks to so many people, my life is a lot easier and more pleasant than it would be otherwise.
Okay, so I know this doesn’t cover it. This is just an extra thank you, on top of the notes and gifts that are coming. Soon. I’m sure my future self will be a better person than my current self is. I’m going to go get some sleep now, to help my future self have the energy to get on that.