Jun 24, 2009

In So Many Words

I have a theory.

I think the sum of a person’s life can be found in the notes of gratitude they receive from others. What better proof that they were thoughtful, gracious and kind?

When I was a kid, the end of every holiday was marked by my mother’s insistence that my brother and I sit down and write thank you notes to anyone who had given us a gift. We thought it was torture, of course, and struggled to fill a note card with complete sentences. We often resorted to using absurdly large handwriting to fill the space. Three sentences was the minimum and I'm willing to bet that every note I wrote followed the same template: "Dear ____, Thank you so much for the _______. I really love it. Hope to see you soon."

My grandfather passed away earlier this year and as we are sorting through eighty-five years of his life, we’ve come across stashes of old correspondence. It seems he saved every piece of paper he ever got – including every thank you note that my brother, my cousins and I ever sent him. My notes to him were mostly the stiffly-written ones of my youth, but they speak of his generosity, his support and his love – all the best parts.

I may not have kept every thank you note I’ve gotten over the years, but I have kept the ones that really meant something to me. What sets these apart? They are each written with humor, love, and a sense of the sender’s personality. They are all so thoughtful and personal that they remind me of why I went out of my way to do something for these friends in the first place. And when it’s all said & done, I hope that’s how I’m remembered: as a gal who went above and beyond for the people she loved.

From the mother of one of my oldest & best friends. She’s wasn’t feeling so hot so I sent her a batch of Spicy Brownies. My “West Coast Mama” sent back this sweet note in which she says I’m “like one of her own.” I couldn’t be more honored.

From a dear college friend. She married the most wonderful fella earlier this year and honored each of her friends at the wedding with a special note. As one of the founding members of our  cheese & cracker dinners, it was only appropriate that she included a shipment of cheese with her note!

This one is from three grown men - I swear! For years I worked for a small firm where I was the only girl – their “princess”. When I left for another job the guys sent me off with this sweet note.

A surprise from a childhood pal. She snuck away during a get together at my house and left this card in my room. At the end of the night it was so gratifying to realize that she’d known she was going to have fun before the party even started!

Hands down the most well-written thank you note I have ever received. From a dinner party participant, it details not only the dish I brought, but comments I made and stories I told that night. Her attention to detail illustrated that she was truly appreciative of my presence and my contributions to the evening.

There are more, and chances are if you’ve written me a thank you note in the last few years I’ve held on to it. I like to read through them occasionally as they remind me of fun parties, great gifts and acts of love and compassion I've shared with friends and family. So thank you all – for giving me these wonderful, tangible mementos. I treasure them all.

xo, TSG

1 comment:

Pink of Perfection said...

I absolutely love this and think you are so right. I am such a firm believer in saying thank you in writing for any and everything. I love that you've kept all these.