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PatienceIt's My Party!
By Lynda Schab

I love parties! In fact, I'm getting ready to throw one right now! I'm going through the preparations in my head – so many details! Do you want to know who the guest of honor is? It's someone VERY important! That's right – it's me! I'm throwing myself a party!

This isn't the first time I've thrown a party for myself. Usually, it starts off a little slow but before too long it will be an all-out, full blown party with plenty of conversation! Most of the time, the conversation goes something like this:

"I can't believe my husband didn't tell me I look nice today! I am dressed to the hilt, look like a million bucks, and not one single compliment!"

"Well, listen to this. I did four loads of laundry, picked up his clothes from the dry cleaners, went grocery shopping – even remembering to buy the potato chips he prefers – raked the leaves in the backyard, and made his favorite dinner! Not even a, ‘thank you’! Hmph!"

"That reminds me. Yesterday, I ran my daughter all over town in search of the perfect dress for the homecoming dance, dropped off and picked up my son from football practice, bought them dinner at their favorite fast food restaurant, and gave them each ten dollars to go to the movies. Then they had the nerve to complain that it wasn't enough!"

"I can't believe how they take me for granted! I get absolutely NO appreciation! None! Zilch! Zero!"

Yep, my pity party was in full swing.

How easy it is to get caught up in my own pity party. My thoughts are the invited guests – and there are zillions of them! Poor me! I am so unappreciated!

While other party songs include "Happy Birthday" and "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow," my theme song is, "Nobody Loves Me, Everybody Hates Me, Think I'll Go Eat Worms"!

What's amazing is that I actually keep giving myself these parties. I convince myself that I deserve an appreciation party considering how much I do for my family. And how little they thank me for it!

The only problem is that when the party is over, I'm not walking away with a hand full of balloons, a full belly from cake and ice cream, and a smile on my face. In my hand is a list of complaints, my belly is full of aches and "I screams" and the look on my face would scare a small child.

My parties do not have a reputation for being successful and the funny thing is, I never end up feeling any more appreciated than I did when they started.

Everyone loves a good pat on the back. Appreciation is so underrated! To be appreciated is to feel valued! Needed! Loved! Nothing compares to when my husband tells me how much he appreciates all I do for our family. It is awesome when my kids say thank you for making their lunch every day and for chauffeuring them all over creation. It's great when my boss tells me what a good job I'm doing and even greater when I'm compensated for it! But to expect appreciation, to look for it and wait for it to happen, well, that's only setting myself up for disappointment.

In May, we celebrate Teacher's Appreciation. October is Pastor/Clergy Appreciation month. There are even days set up for appreciation of secretaries, bosses, nurses, truckers, customers, caregivers … even elephants! Personally, I think there should be days set aside for mothers' appreciation.

I know, I know. We have Mother's Day. But on Mother’s Day, I am so busy running around to visit MY three mothers that my own Mother's Day kind of gets shoved to the side! In my opinion, Mother's Appreciation days should be categorized to include Mothers of Infants, Mothers of Toddlers, Mothers of Elementary School children, Mothers of Teenagers, etc., etc. This way, we're all covered!

To be fair, mothers aren't the only people with the desire or need to be appreciated. So with that in mind, I have decided to start an Appreciation Day in our home, beginning this month. Each month we will set aside one day to appreciate someone. We'll start with the four members of our own family – maybe I'll nominate myself to be first! (Or maybe we'll draw names out of a hat.). Ideas for showing appreciation within our family could be:
  1. Everyone writes down five things he or she appreciates about the guest of honor and then reads them aloud.
  2. Prepare their favorite meal.
  3. Make his or her bed and clean their room.
  4. Create a homemade card and gift specifically for them.
  5. Put together a scrapbook for that person, with pictures, poems, things that make them feel special. Present it to them on their special Appreciation Day.
After we celebrate each family member, we'll move on to others around us. We will take a day to appreciate:
  1. A Grandparent
  2. A Neighbor
  3. A Friend
  4. A Teacher
  5. A Pastor
  6. A Mail Carrier
  7. A Babysitter…
The list goes on and on.

What a great way to reach out and show thankfulness for people who impact our lives and touch us every day. I have a feeling that when I'm busy celebrating other people, my self-focus and need to be constantly appreciated will diminish.

Oh, I'll still welcome that pat on the back. But I won't expect it anymore. And I certainly don't intend on throwing any more parties for myself! They were getting sort of boring anyway.

I think I'll post the following on my refrigerator (since that's where I go first when I'm preparing for my party):

NOTICE: From this day forward, all pity parties have been canceled due to lack of interest. Go find someone else to celebrate!

Lynda Schab lives in Michigan with her husband and two children, whom she appreciates more than they'll ever know. She also appreciates your comments, pats on the back, and yes, even criticism. You can contact Lynda via the Letters Page of this Magazine.
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