By Kathleen Guthrie Woods
I’ve been thinking a lot about thank you notes recently, perhaps because I received the following from a young niece:
Dear Aunt Kath and Uncle B,
Thank you so, so, so much for the giftcard. I can’t wait to by [sic] something! Love you guys!
P.S. I can’t wait to get you something! Maybe!
That last line cracked me up, but what tugged at my heart was seeing her sweet lettering, in bright pink ink, on which she clearly took her time. I will be keeping this note in my box of treasures.
I am a big believer in the power of saying thank you. When I get excellent service at a restaurant or shop, I ask to speak to the manager to make certain she or he knows they have a great employee. When someone sends a new client my way, I follow up with a note and a Starbucks gift card to say how much I appreciate the referral. When someone takes the time to select a special gift for me, they get a handwritten note, sent through the mail, with a wax seal or sticker adorning the envelope.
I refuse to accept this is a dying art. Certainly most of the messages I receive come through an email or text (“Thx! :-)”), which are fine, but quickly disposable. I am always struck by the intimate connection I experience when I receive something in a dear person’s distinctive scrawl.
And this got me thinking about other people I might thank in more personal and direct ways. The nurse who comforted me as I faced a difficult diagnosis. The mommy friend who includes me in her kids’ activities because she doesn’t want me to miss out. The faraway friend who let me cry over the phone, without offering unhelpful advice, as I told her about a very painful baby shower.
This week I am going to send one note out to someone on my list, and I encourage—okay, I challenge you—to do the same. Think about the people who have helped you on this journey toward healing—perhaps by listening, being supportive, or being your ally when you most needed one—and send a note. It could be as simple as, “Thank you for being my friend through this difficult time.” I have a feeling she or he will be very touched by this small act of appreciation.
Kathleen is telling the story about her journey in The Mother of All Dilemmas. As she shares her quest to become a single mother (and ultimately embraces a life without children), she explores why society still appears to base a woman’s worth on how many children she has. Watch for updates on the book’s release here at LifeWithoutBaby.com.