Maybe I was just a little grouchy after having to spend Thanksgiving alone, but I admit that I'm one of those people who has been pretty annoyed with the "Thankful" meme that's been going around on Facebook. If you're not familiar, every day people post something that they're thankful for, some of which are lovely and others of which just seem to be a desperate attempt to stick with a meme for 30 days.
And while I understand that it's important to have gratitude and give thanks for even the small things, I wonder if those people have thought about taking the next step and actually saying "thank you" to those who need to hear it most. Like their spouses. And how it can make a huge difference in their marriages.
I still remember when I had my oldest daughter, now 8, and had the shocking revelation that moms do so much, most of which is completely thankless. There's no recognition for loading the dishwasher day in and day out, for changing yet another poopy diaper, or even getting up in the middle of the night to put a baby back to sleep.
All that is just part of the job.
However, when someone recognizes the challenges of parenthood, even if it's just with a simple "thank you," it's amazing how much more bearable some of the mundane tasks can become.
So much of the early issues my husband and I had in our marriage stemmed from me not feeling appreciated and, as we're learning in therapy, from him feeling the same way. We both wrote each other's jobs off as "easy" or as something we just had to do, and we never really acknowledged each other's efforts.
But lately, we've both been trying to be more thankful. No, not grateful updates on our Facebook walls, but just simple "thank yous" for things that matter. I know it's not easy for him, not because he's ungrateful but because expressing himself is a challenge.
So when he said "thank you" to me the other day for packing our kids' suitcases for a trip he was taking them on, it meant a lot. And the truth is, I've done it many many times before, without any sort of thanks at all. But those words, well, I'm pretty sure they felt better than any sort of gift he could have given me. Now I'm going to do my best to follow suit and say it in return.
When's the last time you've said or heard "thank you"?
Image via compujeramey/Flickr