I think people need to feel appreciated. To be Seen [with a capital S], to be noticed. To be thanked and acknowledged. To be told, "Hey, I know that sometimes parenthood/marriage/your job/keeping up/life can be hard, but damn, you're doing a good job. And I see you. So, thanks."
And people may argue that we shouldn't need acknowledgement or gratitude. That we shouldn't need the appreciation. Maybe they're right. But it sure is a good feeling to receive a little bit of it, isn't it? To be told, "Thanks for going out and getting the groceries, again." or "Wow, the lawn just looks great."
Sometimes that one little acknowledgement can be enough to refuel, to reenergize.
Please don't misunderstand me. I am in no way implying that we should be treated like princesses or princes. Or that we need to give out medals and constant awards. We do not need to clean the toilet, make dinner, and greet spouses at the door with a beer every day in order to show gratitude. (Just as they do not need to provide a bouquet of roses and a shove out the door for a spa treatment every day to show theirs.)
I just think that for everyone -- especially spouses because somehow we get caught up in the day-to-day, the expectations, the to-dos that are not done, the never ending work that is family -- it is important to take the time and find the effort to express some gratitude.
So often I get stuck in my mind, spinning the wheel of look-at-all-I-do-and-I-am-doing-so-much-and-why-don't-you-see-all-I'm-doing, even though I know that he does so much too. And when I get stuck, there is unhappiness and resentment and all the bad things that come with those non-helpful thoughts. But I know that when I'm feeling that way, I'm less likely to show my appreciation because I'm so stuck in thinking about me, that I forget about him.
Just as I would sometimes like a little more gratitude, I'm sure he would too. And I find that when I can break that thought and see all he does, really see it and appreciate it and show it, then things start to balance out. We can let go of the competition of who's working harder, who's plate is more full, and just be grateful. Grateful for the effort the other person puts in. Grateful for the physical, emotional and spiritual work of being in a marriage, of being part of a family. Grateful for each other.
Because I am grateful. And I do appreciate.
And I need to remember, everyone needs that gratitude. Everyone likes some acknowledgement. And that "everyone"? That includes my husband.
So, I today say this:
Adam. I see you. I thank you. I appreciate what you are doing for us. For our family. For our life. You work damn hard, you're doing a wonderful job, and I'm grateful. Also, the toilet may not be clean, but I just might have a cold one waiting for you when you get home....