The Scar of Unmet Expectation

Last time we talked about the delema of not enough hours in the day to make all of the big events in the lives of those we love and in our own lives when time and money are involved.

I told you that these two things are just excuses for not making the event a priority in your life.  I would like to explain this one.  Every New Year’s Day in my house is the day of “REST”.  The holidays are over.  The guests are gone.  The decorations may be up or they may be put away and feasting and parting are now through.  I clear off the kitchen table and bring out my new big flip year calendar, I pull out my stickers and my marking pens and my address book.  I also take down last year’s calendar and get a pad of paper out and a pen.

Systematically I go through the old calendar month by month and put a birthday reminder sticker on the days that loved ones have birthdays and I write in their age.  On my pad of paper I keep a running list of cards that I will need to purchase for the “Entire Coming Year”.  I do this for Anniversaries, Special Events, concerts, ball games and the like.  When I am done which takes about 1 1/2 hours, I have my card purchasing list and my completed calendar.

If I get stuck or I forget that nephew Frank is going to graduate this coming June, I pick up the phone and call him or his mom to verify and to find out the date.  The same is true for weddings, baby showers and the like.

When I have spoken to my family over the holidays, I try to be very deliberate about asking questions about likes and plans, and dreams of those making big life transitions and make a note in order to remind myself the next time I am out to look for those things that the person might be interested in as a gift idea.

Also during these times of quiet (after a holiday is past), I often sit and reflect about life and those with whom I have just visited with and jot down things that stand out.  The way a young nephew or niece is really maturing and growing up and beginning to put things together from their manners, to speak and their appearance. 

When it comes time to give the gift and card to commemorate the big event, I pull out my notes and a nice clean piece of decorative stationary and write a very positive up lifting mentoring type letter to the young person. 

Here’s what I know, when times are tough, a physical letter with a wonderful message is very much appreciated during those times.  It is a tangible reminder that someone loves me, someone out there cares about me and I am not lost or forgotten here at college (for instance). 

Here’s another quick idea.  One year in our own family we have several grandchildren all graduating on the same day in different states.  So how do you get grandma and grandpa to each graduation?  By cell phone of course with streaming video and photos.  It was such a great idea.  All of the family virtually attended all of the graduations and everyone joined in the excitement and the joy of the special day for each graduate. 

No one went home with a scar of unmet expectation.

These are just a couple of ways to give “yourself” without spending money or taking time off of your work.