I admit it.  I was one of those kids who griped, complained, moaned, and made the task of thanking someone, in the form of a handwritten letter, take 4 times as long as was necessary.  I often considered just sending back the gift instead.  But - alas - my parents were the kind who liked to torture their children after every fun-filled birthday and magical Christmas with the borderline abusive job of writing thank you cards.  It was downright impossible figuring out what to say when I DID like the gift....but if there was any chance I wasn't completely giddy with excitement over what I had been given - I'd rather have been grounded for a month than try to form words that communicated a sincerity I didn't feel as an 8-year old.  Oh the joy I would feel on those rare occasions where mom either forgot to, or decided to forego, the sitting us down at the kitchen table and completing not one....not two....but at least FOUR sentences of gratitude on a piece of paper.  Utter bliss!

It has taken me almost a ripe 30 years to appreciate this (don't tell her, though!).  Not to say I haven't continued to send out thank-you notes since leaving my parents' house - but perhaps not as consistently as I could have.  I certainly made a huge effort around the time of my wedding and feel as though I was able to get out thank you notes to 85% of those people who gave us gifts (I'm afraid I might have slacked off after getting back from the honeymoon and going through the last few items).

All of this to say...over the past 10 months alone....I have spent well over $400 in gifts for weddings, baby showers, graduation, and birthday parties of friends and family.  And out of these 15 events I can recall, I only remember receiving 1 thank you card.  One.  And it blows my mind!  What happened to the art of sending thank-you cards?  Why have someone make a list of the items you receive at a baby/wedding/graduation  party/shower if you don't do anything with it afterwards? 

I still struggle with knowing what to say in the cards.  I still don't always care for the gift given - but I now see the huge importance of sending one.  I have absolutely no idea what that one thank you card said that I received.  And I'm sure I ended up throwing it away that night!  But I DO remember who sent it and have a big appreciation and respect for the time they took to write it.  Chris looked at me like I was crazy when I ran to Target for some carpet shampoo and came back with a bag full of thank-you cards about a month ago.   I had to explain to him I was already behind in thanking 3 people!  It's more important to me now, than ever before, to let people know that their time, thoughts, and money are more appreciated than they realize! 

Poor Josiah - I'm going to make him go through the same horrible task of sitting at the kitchen table and writing not one....not two...but at least FOUR sentences of gratitude to every person who has given him gifts... :)