Just a simple “Thank you.” That’s all I want. Sometimes I think it’s all anyone wants. In the last month I havecooked probably twenty or so meals. It would be thirty, except my hubby cooks fairly often and we have “Fend-For-Yourself” nights at least once a week. In that month I can count on one hand how many times a child has thanked me for one of those meals. In fact, I can tell you when they happened.
Last week my daughter brought home a new friend for dinner. She was polite, tasting everything I cooked and joining in on the competitive conversation that tends to fill our dinner table. When she got up from the meal, she turned to me and said, “Thanks for dinner.” I was charmed.
And then last night two of my children hollered “Thanks for the chili!” as I walked out the door while they sat down to eat their favorite chili I’d made twice in one week. It was laziness on my part – I couldn’t think of anything else to do with the ground beef I had on hand and I needed a crock pot meal since I had an evening engagement. Still, their appreciation warmed my soul as I headed out in to the chilly night.
When I was younger I worked part-time breaking yearlings for a race horse farm. The assistant manager at the farm supervised my work. Many days she complained about the long hours, the hard work, and the bad pay. One day after hearing her litany of complaints, I asked her, “So why do you keep working here?” At that point she’d worked there for several years. She thought for a moment and then she said, “Because every day when I tell my boss that I’m finished and headed home, he says, “Thanks for all your work.” A simple thank you kept her returning every day to a job that was not easy.
Saying “Thank You” lets another person know that you realize he or she has made an effort on your behalf. Not only is it recognition and appreciation, but it speaks to the fact that we have many options as to how we spend our time and effort and in this particular situation we’ve chosen to spend it here.
Recently, I spent nearly an entire morning cleaning my kitchen and mopping the floor. No, I’m not a neatnik and no my kitchen isn’t 2000 square feet, but I hadn’t seriously cleaned my kitchen in months. Really. It was not on my to-do list for the day. I hate cleaning in general, the kitchen perhaps most of all. What triggered this cleaning frenzy? My son and his honey toast.
When I returned from my morning run, my little darlings had self-sufficiently gotten themselves up, dressed, fed, and off to school on the bus. I sighed with relief that there would be no mad dash to the school. But as I made my way into the kitchen in my stocking feet I discovered something was amiss. About every two feet or so my socks stuck to the floor. The entire kitchen floor, table, and even a few chairs were spotted with honey. Apparently, my child had fixed himself some toast with honey and then eaten it as he moved around the kitchen dropping globs of sticky honey as he went. I have three children, but I knew instinctively who was the culprit in this case. We’ve had similar episodes with jelly. AGH.
When my child returns home later this afternoon and I calmly explain how I spent the morning, do you think he will say, “Sorry about that Mom, thanks for cleaning it up.” I doubt it too. But that’s all it would take to dispel my fury.
I can’t imagine doing laundry for, cleaning up after, shopping for, and chauffeuring a stranger without some form of compensation, or at the very least appreciation. Yet, I spend the majority of my waking hours caring for my family. Sure, I asked for it. And yes, all moms do this. But wouldn’t it all be wonderful if you got the occasional thanks? On a day that is not Mother’s Day?