Have you ever noticed the SHE smack dab in the middle of the word, "appreciation"? Okay, so it's spelled differently but it sounds the same. Maybe SHE is there because SHE works hard and needs appreciation. Maybe SHE deserves appreciation more than anyone else you know.
What do you think?
Not long ago I threw a party for someone who deserves appreciation and rarely gets it. She has done so much and hasn't received the recognition that's owed her. Do you want to know who the guest of honor was? It was someone VERY important! That's right - it was me! I threw myself a party! And I don't know anyone who deserved it more.
That wasn't the first time I threw a party for myself. Like usual, my party started off a little slow but before long was a full-blown party with plenty of conversation! The conversation went something like this:
"I can't believe my husband didn't tell me I look nice today! I am dressed to the hilt, look like a million bucks, and not one single compliment!"
"Oh - how about this - I did four loads of laundry, picked up my husband's clothes from the dry cleaners, got groceries - even remembering to buy the potato chips he prefers, raked the leaves in the backyard, and made his favorite dinner! Not even a simple, "thank you"! Hmph!"
"That reminds me…yesterday, I bought my daughter tickets to the Jump5 Concert she's dying to see, then ran her all over town in search of the perfect outfit to wear. Then I dropped off and picked up my son from baseball practice. I bought them dinner at their favorite fast food restaurant, and gave them each ten dollars to go to the movies. Then they had the nerve to complain that it wasn't enough! I can't believe how they take me for granted! I get absolutely NO appreciation! None! Zilch! Zero!"
Yep, my pity party was in full swing.
How easy it is to get caught up in my own pity party. My thoughts are the invited guests - and there are zillions of them! Poor me! I am so unappreciated! While other party songs include "Happy Birthday" and "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow," my theme song is, "Nobody Loves Me, Everybody Hates Me, Think I'll Go Eat Worms"! What's amazing is that I actually keep giving myself these parties! I convince myself that I deserve an appreciation party considering how much I do for my family - and how little they thank me for it!
The only problem is that when the party is over, I'm not walking away with a hand full of balloons, a full belly from cake and ice cream, and a smile on my face. In my hand is a list of complaints, my belly is full of aches and "I screams" and the look on my face could scare a small child. My parties do not have a reputation for being successful. I never end up feeling any more appreciated than I did when they started.
Everyone loves a good pat on the back. To be appreciated is to feel valued! Needed! Loved! Nothing compares to when my husband tells me he appreciates all I do for our family. It is awesome when my kids say thank you for making their lunch every day and for chauffeuring them all over creation. It's great when my boss tells me what a good job I'm doing and even greater when I'm compensated for it! But when I expect appreciation, to look for it and wait for it to happen…well, that's only setting myself up for disappointment.
October is Pastor/Clergy Appreciation month. In May, we celebrate Teacher's Appreciation. There are even days set up for appreciation of secretaries, boss's, nurses, truckers, customers, caregivers, even elephants! Personally, I think there should be a day, set aside, for mothers' appreciation. I know, I know. What about Mother's Day, right? The problem is on Mothers Day, I am so busy running around to visit MY three mothers that my own Mother's Day kind of gets shoved to the side! In my opinion, Mother's Appreciation days should be categorized to include Mothers of Infants, Mothers of Toddlers, Mothers of Elementary School children, Mothers of Teenagers, etc., etc. This way, we're all covered!
To be fair, mothers aren't the only people with the desire or need to be appreciated. So with that in mind, I have decided to start an Appreciation Day in our home, beginning this month. Each month we will set aside one day to appreciate someone. We'll start with the four members of our own family - maybe I'll nominate myself to be first! (Or maybe we'll draw names out of a hat). Ideas for showing appreciation within our family could be:
* Everyone writes down five things he or she appreciates about the guest of honor and then read them aloud.
* Prepare a favorite meal.
* Make his bed and clean his room
* Create a home-made card and gift specifically for her.
* Put together a scrapbook for that person, with pictures, poems, things that make them feel special. Present it to them on their special Appreciation Day.
After we celebrate each family member, we'll move on to others around us. We will take a day to appreciate:
* A Grandparent
* A Neighbor
* A Friend
* A Teacher
* A Pastor
* A Mail Carrier
* A Babysitter
The list goes on and on…
What a great way to reach out and show thankfulness for people who impact our lives and touch us every day. I have a feeling that when I'm busy celebrating other people, my self-focus and interest in my own need to be constantly appreciated will diminish. Oh, I'll still welcome that pat on the back. But I won't expect it anymore. And I certainly don't intend on throwing any more parties for myself! They were getting sort of boring anyway.
I've come to the conclusion that the SHE in "Appreciation" may just be for SHE (okay, me) to remember to appreciate others. Maybe SHE needs to remember that SHE is not the only one in need of appreciation. Perhaps SHE needs to be more thankful for what SHE has than to focus on what SHE doesn't.
I think I'll post the following on my refrigerator (since that's where I go first when I'm preparing for my party):
NOTICE: From this day forward, all pity parties have been canceled due to lack of interest. Go find someone else to celebrate!
Wish I'd run across this years ago....when my kids were little ones. What an awesome heritage to build into the character of a family ... any family ... be it the workplace, church, the neighborhood ... possibilities are endless. Can you imagine the parties that would grow from choosing to 'honor' and 'love' in such a selfless manner. Thanks, Linda, I needed this reminder. Truth be told, it's never too late, is it? All it takes is one to start the party rolling.