This morning, I prepared two different breakfasts for my three daughters. Two girls wanted a smoothie and one of them wanted avocado toast. Most days, I might insist that they decide on one breakfast and help them work through compromising. Today, I know my day is packed with grade level meetings. Preparing just what each girl wants is my proactive way of apologizing for the day to come. As I deliver the last smoothie, I hand the glass to my middle daughter, Adi. She accepts it, not saying a word. I hold onto the cup, forcing her eyes to meet mine. That’s all it takes. “Thank you,” she says as I release the cup and she brings the straw to her lips.
Early last week, a colleague at another school, texted commenting on some literacy work that was shared that day. “I sent a thank you. Do you think that’s over the top?” she asked, referring to sending a note of thanks to our coordinator that had sent the work along through an email.
“Not at all.” I responded. “We can all use a touch of kindness right now.”
Later in the week, I found myself in the parking lot of our school. Each faculty member was given a strategic time slot to enter the building to gather materials. I was shoving my bags of books into my trunk when I spotted a friend, also returning to her car. We stood in the parking lot for a long time, in the drizzling rain and keeping our proper distance, and caught up, soaking up the connection. “I wanted to email B (our principal). I know she is doing so much right now and she’s been so great. I just don’t know if it would be weird coming from me.”
“Send her a note!” I encouraged. “We all need to be seen right now. I think it would mean a lot to her.”
Yesterday, our principal forwarded a thank you letter from a parent at our school. Inspired by a teacher who took part in the March Slice of Life Challenge, she was setting out to write a thank you letter every day in April. I was touched by her words, her inspiration, and this idea of sharing our gratitude.
Right now, it feels like it’s harder to see people and acknowledge all that everyone is juggling. More than ever, I think that we could be working harder to see others and to share our gratitude. So, if you’re feeling gratitude, I encourage you to reach out and let it be known. Gratitude is never extra. It may be the thing that keeps us going.