Christmas season in schools is always fairly manic. Play rehearsals, decoration crafting, fairs, cold breaktimes, end of term reports, parties – all throw themselves in the mix to create excitable, overwhelmed, exhausted children. For teachers, the wind down towards the last day when they can clear away glitter and put a Christmas film on is likewise a simultaneously exhausting and delightful time.
Over the years I was given some wonderful thank you gifts at Christmas, never expected but always gratefully received. They ranged from bottles of wine and vouchers selected by parents to gifts such as cookbooks, home-made biscuits and even a Boppit (an electronic, addictive and over-excited children’s toy). The little boy who gave it to me said, “I was allowed to choose what to buy you. This reminded me of you”. It was probably one of my favourite gifts of all time.
A mum came back into school one New Year and told me she had fought her son all holiday to get him to write his thank you cards. On the first day back I’d given him one to thank him for the gift he had given me. He went home that day and wrote all of his own thank you cards without any fuss. The mum was delighted – he had realised the impact his cards could have on the recipients.
When we were younger we were always encouraged to write thank you cards to people who had given us gifts or been kind. It was a lesson well embedded and remains with me today. In fact we have a couple of outstanding thank you cards which are currently awaiting a stamp and until they are sent I won’t feel quite settled. Appreciating gifts we have been given and valuing time and effort people have made is important and so, now on Day 99, I want to say thank you.
Thank you to everyone who has read my words and followed along with my 100 day challenge. Thank you to those who dipped in and out; thank you to those who read every day without exception. Thank you to strangers who stumbled along and checked it out; thank you to those who stayed for the ride.
Thank you to the people who messaged me to say they’d been inspired to exercise themselves. Thank you to those who offered support – exercising with me in person or in spirit. Thank you to my in-laws who are sometimes surprised by my mad ideas but always supportive. Thank you to the people who told me I was awesome and amazing and fantastic. And thank you to my brother who read a few days and then told me my writing was too cheesy and cringey – it’s always good to have people who can ground you too.
Thank you to my parents who read every word and helped with childcare so I could exercise on various days along the way. Thank you to my dad, whose faith in me is unwavering and my mum who, as always, immediately jumped aboard armed with inspiration, suggestions, boundless enthusiasm and encouragement.
Thank you to our children who have absolutely no idea what has been going on but have unknowingly inspired me numerous times and kept me going. And thank you to my husband – my biggest cheerleader – who has helped, supported, guided and provided motivation every day and especially when I met bumps along the way.
I have so many emotions about reaching day 99, the penultimate day. And at the fore of those emotions is gratitude.