“One of these dadblamed days, y’all are gonna wish I was here to do for y’all. You’ll see what all I did then!”
This epitaph was uttered on more than one occasion by my grandmother. Probably daily.
She felt like us heathens took her for granted.
All the cooking, cleaning, and sewing she did for us was in vain because to her, we didn’t appreciate her efforts.
As a kid, I thought she was just fussing as she always did. If Granny was breathing, she was complaining.
So I didn’t understand why this mantra was repeated daily.
Until I got older.
Then I understood – clearly.
I can remember one day my ex informed me that what I did was so inconsequential, it could be written on the world’s smallest Post-It note and still have room left to spare.
I thought about how Granny would fuss about all the things she did for us and how no one noticed and if they did, they never uttered the first word of gratitude.
“People only notice what you do in two situations,” she said one day. “When you get something cussed wrong and when you quit doing it.”
For once, I heeded the old gal’s words of wisdom.
So I quit doing all the things I normally did. The laundry. The ironing.
I’ve never been much on cleaning but I quit loading and unloading the dishwasher and I quit sweeping.
Most importantly to the ex, I quit cooking.
He came home from work to find me reading a novel while sipping a glass of wine.
“What’s for dinner?” he asked.
“Whatever you want,” I replied.
“Great. I was thinking about Italian.”
I nodded and kept reading.
A few minutes later, he realized I wasn’t scurrying around the kitchen, making his meal.
“When were you planning on starting dinner? I’m hungry.”
“Then you better order something and hope there’s not a wait,” I said. “I’m not cooking.”
“You said you’d make whatever I wanted.”
“You misheard me. I said you could get whatever you want. You told me the other day what I did, didn’t matter. So I guess cooking isn’t important.”
“I worked all day,” he protested.
“So did I,” I said.
“You’ll have to make yourself something to eat,” he stated.
“Nope,” I said. “I ate before I came home.”
I had grabbed a bite with friends who knew all about my cooking embargo.
“What am I supposed to do?” he asked, his irritation growing.
“I don’t care,” I said. “All I know is, I am not gonna be the one to make you anything.”
Since making a peanut butter sandwich took about two minutes of his evening, he had a lot of time to think about our exchange.
Problem is, so did I.
And I’ve continued to think about it over the course of my lifetime.
Whether it’s a relationship, a job, or whatever it is, when we don’t feel appreciated, it affects us.
We start to feel like what we do doesn’t matter or is insignificant.
Even when it’s important.
Feeling like we’re taken for granted is never a good feeling.
Being told “thank you,” “you matter,” and “I appreciate what you do” is needed.
Problem is, a lot of people forget that, especially when it comes to saying those words to the people who need them the most.
Those people typically are family and loved ones.
It’s not just a matter of manners, although in some ways it is.
We often forget that the people in our life deserve the same level of respect and kindness that we would extend to strangers, but when you think about that, there’s a whole lot of rudeness going on in the world.
We should treat our loved ones a bit better than we do strangers. Yet, we don’t.
We do tend to take them for granted and neglect to let them know how much we appreciate what they do for us.
There’s an old saying that claims that people who feel appreciated tend to do more than what’s expected.
This goes for not just our working environments but our home life as well.
When we feel like what we do matters, it makes us feel like we matter by extension of our works.
I know there’s been times I’ve felt like the more I did, the more that was put on me to do — and no one said the first word of thanks.
But, like Granny said oh, so many years ago, the minute something was wrong, I heard about it.
So what did I do?
I quit trying. I stopped doing. And soon, because no one was appreciated, a lot of things didn’t get done.
Imagine what we could all get done if maybe, just maybe a little bit of appreciation was shared, rather than a little bit of blame.
Sudie Crouch is an award-winning humor columnist residing in the North Georgia Mountains among the bears, deer, and possibly Sasquatch. You can connect with her on Facebook at Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Humor, and Deep-Fried Wisdom. Her recently published book, ‘Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Wisdom, and Deep-Fried Humor’ is available in paperback and Kindle download on Amazon.