It has not escaped me that Oprah's last show aired yesterday. I would have to be living under a rock to have missed that information although I didn't watch it. I used to watch her show regularly, I even had a subscription to O magazine for a while before I discovered I just don't make the time to read magazines with any regularity and let it lapse. It was Oprah who introduced me to the concept of being aware of and recording gratitude via Sarah Ban Breathnach, which has stuck with me through 1,122 days and counting.
Today I am pondering gratitude for a number of reasons. I am mixing gratitude up with expectations. I am wondering why it isn't enough for me to express my personal gratitude without expecting an acknowledgement in return.
A few weeks ago one of Riley's extra activities, that had run from the previous September to this May, came to an end. I had asked the other parents who participated in the year to financially contribute to a $50 gift card for the person who ran the event the year long. They all agreed, happily paid up and wrote some thought-felt words in a card I purchased. When I presented this to the organizer of the event, she didn't open it right away, but popped it into her bag "for later". For days I waited for an email or a phone call, something that would thank me/us in return for our own gesture. Two weeks have now passed and not only has there been no email or phone call but I have seen this person at school drop off a few times. Still, nothing has been mentioned. I haven't gone so far as to fish for a response and I find myself struggling with it to be enough that I made my own gesture of gratitude with out the expectation of a thank you back.
Where is the line between good manners in thanking someone for a gift and expecting acknowledgement for something I did willingly and genuinely?
Last year I tried to grow something in a part of my garden that had only produced weeds. I was planting physically and metaphorically but managed to only coax out small bits and pieces of colour where I had imagined a riot of wildness. Physically and metaphorically. This year I am trying again in the same patch of ground but my expectations are different. I am just going to "wait and see" what decides to bloom despite the variety of seeds planted. I am still tending, watering, and watching over it. Physically and metaphorically.
And in other parts of my garden I am grateful for the irises about to burst
the tiger's eye still to be planted
the last of the tulips
and funky weeds that show up all on their own