Oh, thank-you cards.
You know, there are a lot of things I consider myself good at: writing, encouraging, tickling the heck out of my kids… but writing thank-you cards is just not one of them.
And oh, how I wish it was.
I have many mom friends who are just so on top of it. We show up to their birthday party/baby shower/wedding and within two weeks, like clockwork, there’s a sweet little card sitting in my mailbox. And I ooh and ahh at it while I secretly cry inside.
Here’s some real truth for you: there is a box in the bottom of my linen closet with about a hundred written and addressed thank-you cards in it. From our wedding. THREE YEARS AGO. So if you’re reading this and you attended my wedding and never received a thank-you card, feel free to stop by sometime, I’m sure I can find it for you. -insert face in palm emoji here-
On top of that, I have a box of thank-yous from my oldest son’s birthday this last year still sitting on my buffet in my dining room. Also addressed. I even went to the effort of having him color each one and pick out cute little stamps in the shape of different sports balls… Lord help me.
I like to think of myself as a thankful person. I would consider myself grateful and I know that I make an effort to be genuinely thankful in the moment when I (or my child) receive a gift or have someone bless us in some way. I am just a bit challenged on the follow-up afterwards.
For a long time, I felt really guilty about this. I thought that there were expectations I wasn’t meeting and people that I was disappointing. I believed that if I didn’t get these cards written and taken care of, then I wasn’t showing thankfulness and that made me feel awful. I would stress and try my best, so much so that by the time I did complete them I wasn’t really feeling that thankful anymore.
Now, I’m realizing that saying “thank you” in the moment is going to have to be enough. As a mom with three little boys, my time is fully occupied with reading books, breaking up fights, and making endless peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches. I don’t find that I have much extra time. I long for those who bless us to know how deeply thankful we are, but I think that season of thank-you cards will have to come someday in the future.
If you’re a momma who feels that weight as well, I urge you to give yourself some grace. There have been a few thank-yous I have missed that I’ve regretted, but in continuing relationship have been able to express and all was okay. There is only so much we can do.
As I say often, go easy on yourselves, and go easy on others. If you can’t send a thank-you, that’s okay. Make a call, send a text or an email, or even just wait until you see them next and give them a great big hug. There are other ways to express gratitude that mean just as much, and you certainly don’t want to run the risk of expressing gratitude simply out of obligation. Be truly thankful.
Meanwhile, I’ll try to not feel haunted about the several sets of unsent thank-you cards sitting in various places in my house. No promises.