As parents, we want to instill in our children that with hard work and perseverance, they can do anything they want to in this life.
Sometimes, though, life puts challenges in front of us that test that resolve. It’s not always easy to keep our thoughts focused on the positive. And, as we watch our children strive to do something with their lives, especially in the world we live in today, one hope we hold dear is to one day hear them utter these words: “I GOT A JOB!!!”
Those words could actually mean that the child might not be showing up on your doorstep anytime soon to reclaim their old bedroom, with piles of laundry and a dog (or cat) in tow!
I’ve been lucky in this respect. My daughter landed a good job with a solid, stable company after she moved to California back in 2007. But despite that fact, the past three years still have been a series of ups and downs on many levels. Lots of struggle, change, tears, talking, and her questioning whether she should come back to New York to the comfort of family and friends.
Then last week came a phone call that every parent hopes to someday hear. Melanie called to give me some great news about the direction her company is heading — and the role she will play in their change and growth.
If you haven’t guessed, I’m going to use this edition of “Take Note” to brag about my daughter Melanie, and how we managed to continue our close relationship even though separated by 3000 miles.
I’ll start by stating the obvious… I sent her many, many cards! (I’m sure you wouldn’t have guessed!)
When she first moved out west, the phone would ring, and I would wonder as I picked it up what challenge we were about to face. She persevered through loneliness, severe health problems and simple daily frustrations… and I was so proud of her. Her future was bright — even though I wished she were 2999 miles closer!
With the strong bond we share, I feel what she feels, and it was sometimes very hard. But as a parent, I was always there to offer support and encouragement – doing whatever I could to help out from 3000 miles away.
Some of the most difficult times for her were birthdays and holidays. So in 2009, on the spur of the moment, I decided to fly out and surprise her for her 28th birthday.
We hadn’t seen eachother in almost a year. I wanted to give her the gift of my time, and encouragement for everything she was striving to achieve. The will to win, despite life’s challenges.
Melanie is not an easy one to keep a secret from. Never has been. But I got her GOOD!
As I made my plans and traveled to California, everyone I met wanted to ensure a successful surprise! The JetBlue flight attendants, after hearing my story, let me sit in the front row so I could be the first off the plane. Melanie’s boss, Dee — an awesome lady — picked me up at the airport with a cold bottle of water waiting when I jumped in the car after racing off the plane.
Their offices close at 4:30. My plane arrived at 3, and – as long as there was no traffic – we were 45 minutes away. Because it was Friday, Melanie could choose to leave at any time, so Dee gave her projects that would hopefully keep her there until we arrived. A few of her co-workers were also in on the surprise, and promised to delay Melanie if she tried to leave.
When we arrived at the office, the scene that unfolded still brings tears to my eyes. I asked Dee if she would do one last thing as I walked into Melanie’s office — capture the moment she saw me. And she did…
Of course, Dee received a heartfelt card in the mail, along with a box of brownies as my thanks for everything she did. (Guess what site I used?!) I was able to do this from the airport, over the internet, while I waited for the plane to bring me back to New York a week later. It had this special picture on the front that needs no description.
I tell this story often, as I pull a copy of the now somewhat tattered card I carry in my purse, and I still tear up when I tell it.
Moments come in our lives when we want to say thanks in a special way, and there is no better way in my world than to do it with a SendOutCards card and a unexpected gift. The fact that it takes just minutes to do, regardless of where you are, whenever the thought comes to mind, is one of many great things about it.
You then change someone else’s world — along with your own. Go ahead and do it right now. Send a card, my treat.