Making some changes...

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Working in our basement yesterday has made me realize two things:

2. I am a horrible communicator.

As is typical of going through a basement full of junk, I came across several boxes filled to the brim with “memories.” Seven boxes to be exact. (Again, we have WAY TOO MUCH CRAP)

As I sat there sorting through baby blankets, stuffed animals, soccer trophies, scrapbooks from graduations, and endless school papers, I kept getting stuck on all of the cards and letters that I had saved. Every few minutes I found myself captivated by something a friend or family member had written me years before.

I found special little notes from my grandparents and family, random “just because” cards from all of my friends in college, and more specifically two letters that I received from each of my parents just before I graduated high school.

Each and every one of them touched me like I was reading them for the first time. A few of them made me laugh but most of them made me cry.

I sat down there for almost two hours in tears; partially because they recalled a lot of sweet memories about my childhood but mainly because I could not remember a single time where I responded to any of them.

The more cards and letters I found, the more awful I felt.  The people I loved had gone out of their way to do something kind for me and received only silence in return.

Deep down, I’ve always felt like I’ve slightly neglected my relationships with family and friends throughout the years probably because I’m always so busy. Life is so damn busy. That was my excuse anyway. But somehow, despite the busyness of life, each and every one of these people was able to take time out of their day to think of me and what did I do to show them I appreciated the gesture? Nothing.

I always thought I was a good friend. A good daughter. Granddaughter. Niece. In-law. I had always tried to make time to visit or call or write. I tried to be a good communicator. Someone who keeps in touch. But for the first time, I felt like, here in my hands, I held the evidence to the contrary.

For some reason, I never took a second to sit down and reciprocate their thoughtfulness. 

Sitting in the basement surrounded by piles of these kind words, I felt selfish. I still do.

It breaks my heart to think that it took me this long to realize that I’ve been living in a bit of a haze. I’ve been so consumed in my own world that I have forgotten about everyone else.

Family and friends have had birthdays, graduations, marriages, promotions and many other milestones that have passed by without even a word from me. Or if I did notice, all they got was probably just a phone call or something half-assed that I had rushed to put together in time. I hate admitting that, but it’s true. And it sucks.

The real kicker for me was just a day or so ago when I came home from work to find a large package on our front steps addressed to me. It was from Mike’s Aunt that lives in Pennsylvania whom I have never met or even spoken to.  She sent me three cookbooks and a beautiful card that read:


Going through some boxes since we moved and finally found some more cookbooks. Mike said you like to cook and I thought I would pass these on to you.

Hope you enjoy them!

Love to you both,
Aunt Mary

I was shocked. I could not believe that someone who couldn’t pick me out of a lineup thought to send something to me during one of the most transitional and busy times in their lives. Although it was likely a small gesture to her, it meant the world to me.

I guess they say you can’t change something you can’t acknowledge. Well, I’m acknowledging the issue and now I’d like to fix it.

And I think I’ll start with a thank you…

"Dear Aunt Mary..."

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