I have a confession to make. I am obsessed with Thank You Notes. I send them to acknowledge presents. I send them when I have been a guest in someone’s home. I send them when I have received the great gift of someone’s time or attention. I create and sell beautiful linen fold over notes with hand mounted original photographs. I get a little thrill when I find beautiful notecards (even better when they are discounted!).
Writing a thank you note is my favorite way to practice gratitude and I refer to it as ‘sending a smile.’
One of Sinatra’s Christmas presents was Madeline Says Merci by John Bemelmans Marciano. It is a sweet little book written by the Grandson of Ludwig Bemelmans (Madeline’s creator). Madeline is a favorite at story time in our home and I thought this would be a nice little book on manners when I added it to the Christmas wish list Sinatra’s thoughtful Grandma asked me to compile. (What can I say, my Mom is a no-nonsense kind of lady in all things – including gift giving.)
Imagine my utter delight when I read the Marciano’s advice on saying thank you!
“A thank you spoken is a very nice token /But a thank you letter is even better
Because getting a thank you in the mail / Will brighten your day, without fail.”
Yes, yes it will brighten your day. It will make you smile – for sure.
Now I’m still writing all of Sinatra’s thank you notes since it’ll be a few more years until handwriting is up to snuff for me to pass on the actual writing. I do try to include the munchkin in the process, writing a few each time she sits down to lunch. Sinatra is in the high chair happily munching cheese and I sit at our breakfast counter and talk through the note writing process. Sometimes the Hubs and I laugh about how much trouble we’re in for once the critter starts to speak. I explain addressing an envelope every time. For now I get a sideways glance and requests for more cheese, but, I’m willing to bet there is understanding of this on some level. One day my child may channel Cliff Clavin and explain to a pre-school class why a return address is vital.
One of the best parts of parenthood – the (few and far between) moment when you simply know you’re doing the right thing by your child. Writing thank you notes for Sinatra is one of those moments for me. I’m teaching her the value of saying thank you and hoping I’m sparing the heartache that comes with dwelling on what’s lacking by instilling a sense of gratitude from these early days.