Friday, February 24, 2012


I was just perusing Pinterest, and I noticed some goody bags for a kid's party labeled "Thank you!" It got me thinking, when I was a kid, my mom always had me say thank you to the kids who came to my parties, or just came over for a play date. I always thought, in typical selfish-kid fashion, why exactly am I thanking them? I always thanked my friends when they invited ME places--they extended the invitation, after all, they let me play with their toys and make a mess in their house and eat their Fruit by the Foot. That made sense. It didn't make sense to me the other way around: Thanks for coming over and messing up my room, not putting my doll's hair on the right way, and eating those last two cookies I was going to eat after supper tonight? I didn't think that seemed quite right.

Now I see it differently. As an adult, and one who has suffered extreme feelings of loneliness, I understand the reasoning behind thanking friends for spending time with me. Even when it takes a lot of effort on my part, I'm always grateful that someone else thought I was a worthy way to spend part of the day. When you're a kid you don't think much about your value as a person. You're a kid, and your parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles (if you are lucky enough to have them) are always telling you how wonderful you are and everything you do, no matter how crappy, is perfect.

When you're an adult, you start to realize that your worth as a person is measured by more than the opinion of the people who created you (no offense, Mom.) Your worth is measured by the things you do for yourself, for your friends, and for people you don't know--in short, for the world in general. And when other people want to be around you, it's a sign you're either doing something right, or that they put up with your negative qualities so much because there is something lovable about you regardless of whatever you're lacking in personality. No one is entitled to trust, friendship, and respect without first showing some to others, and we're all guilty of betraying at least one of these fundamental principles at one point or another.

Despite our faults, most of us still have at least one person who calls you, texts you, eats lunch with you, or at bare minimum comments on your Facebook posts. If you do, be grateful to those people--they've seen the ups and the downs, and they are willing enough to muddle through your downs because they think your ups are worth it. If you don't, maybe you need to reconsider the ways you show trust, friendship, and respect to others. It's important to realize that people perceive things differently based on personality, gender, age, stage in life, and the kind of day they're having. If you're naturally sarcastic, like me, realize that some people don't get that kind of humor and don't appreciate it. Almost all of my friends have at one point or another been offended by something I've said. (I can't count how many times I've probably offended my husband.) But they've all forgiven me, just as I willingly forgive them for accidental insults that are nearly always meant in jest.

I guess what I'm saying in all this rambling is that now that I'm an adult, I appreciate much more that friendship can be a sacrifice. You sacrifice time, energy, calories, and sometimes your own feeling of well-being for your friends. And I love my friends and am eternally grateful for everything they've sacrificed for me.