Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Confession on Thank Yous

Ok, here's another hang-up I have while we're on the topic of wedding thank yous. It's not a memory, but still something I can't seem to let go of (of which I cannot seem to let go...for you English critics out there). When I was growing up, my mom drilled into me and my siblings the necessity of writing thank you notes whenever we received a gift. Now, I agree this is a nice and polite gesture, but I write thank yous even if I received the gift in the company of the person who gave it to me. That's just overkill, as if the words 'thank you' out of your mouth with probably a smile, other cheerful comments, or expressed enthusiasm is not enough - only the written, formal words will do! But despite my arguments against it, I still comply to this day.

Maybe other people's moms did not put the same emphasis on this when they were children. Lucky them. Writing thank you notes can be a big pain especially, say, after you have already had to go through the difficulty of thinking up nice things to say out loud in a shower situation for all the same gifts. Which makes me wonder what I ended up writing in that thank you note for the teddy bear towels...

Do I sound completely ungrateful here? I don't mean to be. I think it is a good thing to be thankful for gifts you receive (especially when they are from God) and I think it is good to make known that thankfulness, but I do not think it is necessarily a good thing to have inflexible rules for social decorum. As if I need any more help in being a judgmental person.

So there it is. Because I had thank you notes so ingrained in me as a child, I cannot let go of the expectation of it now both for myself and for others, which brings me to the point of this post: in the past few years, I have purchased wedding gifts for a few people who never sent me a thank you note and I think about it way more often than I should.

It's not that I consider them to be bad people for it. In fact, they are all still people I esteem, love, and admire. I don't even think they behaved badly. The real problem is that I am concerned that 1) they may never have received the gift that I bought and/or 2) they didn't properly credit me for giving the gift. It would just be so ironic if I was walking around all this time thinking, "Why didn't they write me a thank you note?" when they are walking around thinking, "Why didn't she buy us a wedding gift?" Other people probably don't think thoughts like that though...

So here they are. The gifts that I can't seem to forget about:

Summer 2005 - Cousin's wedding
I purchased a nice set of bedsheets off of their registry at Bed, Bath and Beyond and had them shipped to the address on file (which must have been correct). Later when I tracked the package, I saw that whoever signed for it was not a name I recognized. Perhaps my cousin's wife lived with a roommate at the time or there was an office that received packages for her building. Or maybe it was delivered to the wrong person who promptly hopped into bed for a cozy nap in some Pure Beech Jersey queen-sized sheets.

Summer 2009 - Friend's wedding
[Deleted due to new information coming to light. I am a schmuck.]

Fall 2009 - Friend's wedding
[Deleted due to new information coming to light. Silly me.]

I realize it is ridiculous to keep this list in my head (especially since while writing this I remembered three more birthday presents in the same category). Most likely the gifts were received, with thanks, and the note was forgotten or never part of the plan. I need to be okay with that. Apparently, I have a hard time doing good without acknowledgment. It's a funny thing too because I received a gift for my wedding that had no card attached and still do not know who gave it to us to this day. Someone out there may very well have me on a list in their head. If I am able to let go of holding other people to the thank you note rule, I hope I can let myself off the hook too:

To whoever gave us the gift of various kitchen items including some sort of utensils, I thank you. And I really mean that.

1 comment:

  1. Definitely a "Losie" trait. Just wait until Bea has birthday parties. The obsession/obligation starts all over again!