My birthday is at the end September and so I’ve been thinking about what I want to do. The weeks before Jack’s birthday, I’m also in planning mode. I love planning special days and trips, and this process makes the build-up to the day seem like a celebration too. Not so for Jack. The thought of being responsible for planning and executing a special occasion is a daunting task for him. It isn’t fun.
For years, I felt slighted by this. I took it personally and thought, “I go to all of this work for your birthday, (or Christmas, Valentine’s Day or whatever) and it seem like it’s a chore when you need to think about something for me. I failed to consider that often, when he did make plans, I didn’t like them and changed them anyway, (but feeling slighted never needs a logical reason to exist, so I felt quite justified in my displeasure with him).
Last week we had a serious talk about our mutual lack of appreciation (for the part of each other that wasn’t like us). I wanted him to be more like me (while doing everything else) and he had the same feeling about me. We decided that over the next month, we would concentrate on what we appreciated about each other, and that we would not only silently acknowledge this, we’d say it too.
Jack is great at taking care of the “infrastructure” of our home: mortgage, taxes, fuel, lights, garbage, lawn…he takes care of all of this, month in and month out. It isn’t the glitzy, exciting, new or fun things that he plans, but without his part, the glitz wouldn’t be happening either. It is the stuff that goes mostly unnoticed but as I tried to notice, and to tell him that I noticed and appreciated what he was doing, the atmosphere of our home got lighter. We’ve gone from saying, “I really appreciate……” a couple of times a week, to many times a day. He told me last night, as he walked in the door that he appreciated my friendly greeting. We’ve made a game of it.
So last week when he said to me, “I need to start thinking about your birthday” I said,
“No you don’t. That’s my job.” and we both laughed…. And I began planning. First we’re going to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s home in Concord Mass and then on to the Natural Living Expo (in Sturbridge) for the night, and I can’t tell you how excited I am. I love these plans, and so does Jack.
“Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well”. Voltaire
Why not make this weekend an “Appreciation Fest” by trying to notice what is right, with everyone and everything you think about (including yourself) and if you’d like to, write these things here on the blog (as often as you’d like).
If you are reading this, I really appreciate you being a part of my life. Without you, this blog would not be what it is. Love to you!, Mary