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Friday, September 16, 2011

More Gratitude, But In Fewer Words.

You know what my high school didn't have? Well... lots of things.

But one thing in particular:  the Cool Kids Lunch Table.  

You know why? Mostly because we weren't in a John Hughes movie, but also because we could leave campus for lunch.

And the cool kids had cars.

Actually, a lot of kids had cars whether they were cool or not. I, however,--even though I was at least moderately cool--did not. Thus, I occasionally found myself stuck at school during the lunch hour when I couldn't bum a ride off anybody else.

On those rare occasions when I couldn't ride along with somebody to the Taco Bandido or the Dairy Queen, I had the choice whether to go through the hot lunch line or eat out of the vending maching. And every once in a while I would give into my hunger and bypass my standard Dr. Pepper and Snickers bar for an actual lunch. But that meant going through the dreaded "lunch line." Which, in all my sixteen year old wisdom, I had deemed as very uncool.

Every time I walked through that line there was a classmate on the other side of the glass partition who served the food. And if it was uncool to be on my side of the glass, it was definitely uncool to be on her side.

I didn't know her well, but in a class of fewer than 200 students it's pretty hard not to know everyone. So I would say hi to her. No big deal. Why wouldn't I? It seemed kind of silly not to when I knew her name and she was standing right in front of me. I mean, clearly I could see through the glass between us.

I don't know when it was--I sort of think at the end of my junior year--but this girl gave me a thank you card.

For saying hi to her.

And, because this is a week of gratitude posts, I'd like to write a thank you to her now.

Dear D...,

Thank you for your card. To you it may have looked like I--walking around in that silly cheerleading skirt-- had all the confidence in the world. But I had all the same insecurities that every teen-ager has. Except I thought I was the only one who had them.

I didn't think I was very special when I didn't make cheerleader my senior year and when the boys I liked didn't like me back. And, I'm embarrassed to say now, it was pretty important to me to have people think I was special back then. I beat myself up over all the stupid things I did -- and there were a lot-- and every little mistake I made.

But your card made me feel like I had done one thing right. I made someone else happy--at least for a moment--without even really trying. All it took was a smile and a hello. And I wish I had realized then how much more important that was than the things I chose to focus on.

So thank you, D, for teaching me how important those two little words are. And for showing me how little it takes to make a difference.

Sincerely,

Brittany

P.S. It's been twenty years and I still have that card.


**Come back Monday when you will see how this post ties into a free giveaway I will be sponsoring to show a little gratitude for you, my readers.***

7 comments:

Melanie Jacobson said...

I'm constantly amazed by the power of a simple thank you.

Claire Robyns said...

Funny how the small things in life matter the most. Thanks for this post, it's a good reminder to take the time to say a simple hi or smile at someone today, just because

Anonymous said...

Brittany,

Not sure if this particular blog post is about me or not. I can’t remember having written any Thank You notes to anyone back then. Looking back there are several people that I would like to send them to now. So, if this was about me and you post this, maybe they will see it and know that I am grateful to them as well.

You were never alone with feeling insecure, I have come to realize many years later, that it wasn’t just you and I with feelings of inadequacy, it was everyone around us too! I worked in the lunch room every day from the time I was in 1st grade to being a Senior in High School. I always thought that someone needed to pay for my lunch (not the government giving me free lunch) and so it was going to be me. I wasn’t actually as poor as “I” thought I was, wish I had known that back then so I could have spent lunch time with friends. However, it did teach me to be reliable which I have been grateful for as an adult.

I always appreciated it every time you or anyone else would say "Hi!" There were several people who made gestures of acceptance and helping me to feel more like a cool kid. Even though we did have some cliques (although not really any kind of clique rivalry, which was good! and not like the schools are now, Scary!!!) and every clique tried to include me. But that didn’t stop me from feeling shy and overwhelmed by pretty much everything and everyone. It is funny how that has changed over the years, as I slowly stopped being so unsure of myself and actually tried harder to be the one including others that looked like they felt that same way! I have way more friends now than even I can imagine and they are all the coolest kids I know! I wish I could be like each one in some small way, because they are all amazing people with talents and ambitions!!!

I always thought you were one of the "COOLEST" kids I knew. You looked so sure of who you were and what you were doing, and how your future would turn out. You were one of the bravest too! You were always one of the kids I wanted to be just like! I tried out for several sports, cheerleading not one of those because I had failed at everything else so was too scared to try that one (did make it to be a Cheerleader coach for a year just after High School in another city though, way cool experience by the way!!!). I was so glad we had a good track coach! Because our Senior year I FINALLY made a team, even though I was the slowest person on it. That was the first time I felt any confidence and that someday I might make it to the cool kid’s arena. There were some achievements prior, but that was the first time I really felt successful in High School.

Keep smiling, saying “Hello”, and being your bright bubbly self; because I am still looking up to and admiring you with all that you do and have done!

D

Maggie said...

Very cool thank you note for a thank you note. Melanie's book has us all thinking about thank yous, huh?

elenaaitken.com said...

This post made me tear up a bit. It's strange because high school is always this strange little world unto itself. And now that it's gone (long gone) I occasionally run into someone that I graduated with, who comments on the fact that I was nice to them. Why wouldn't I be?
Because I was part of the 'cool club' where so many of my friends snubbed everyone else. I made the effort not to, and I didn't realize until I was an adult many years later that that one simple decision made a difference.
Good for you for writing a thank you note. Even if she never reads it. You both clearly made a difference for each other.
Lovely post.

DeNae said...

I'm on my last high schooler, and it's absolutely true that a little kindness goes a long, long way. I was friendly with "K" back in HS, for the simple reason that she was quirky and different, and I really liked her.

I had a lot of friends, and she never accepted any invitations to parties or movies, so it was mostly just "Hi."

Years later, when I married, "K" came to my reception. And for a gift, she brought me a hand-made quilt. It had to have taken her hours and hours - it would have taken me years - and I was flabbergasted at such a sweet, personal gift. But the best part was the card that came with it. You can guess what it said, and it was then that I realized how much our lives are made up of small, seemingly insignificant moments. It was easy for me to like "K," but she felt different and weird, and our friendship obviously meant a great deal to her. I'll never forget that lesson.

Enjoy Birth said...

I keep every thank you note or e-mail I get as a doula/cbe/blogger. It is nice to hear that what I do makes a difference.

Thank YOU for taking me shopping that one time. We really do need to do it again. I still wear those clothes and it has been like 4 or 5 years.