gifts and thanks

Dear Jen and Mad,

I want to thank you for starting the Just Posts, and keeping them going. Ever since I read a gift post by one of your original wedding attendees/co-brides, I have been drawn in. What’s more, I have taken it upon myself to draw others in. You see, I think that when a person makes an effort to use their voice for social change or for generally making the world a better place, that person deserves an audience. And I see the Just Posts as a means to that audience.

I think the voices do really matter. Mad, I know you have expressed some doubts about the possible emptiness of online activism. Are the Just Posts really Just Words? For me, at least, they are more than that. I have actually made efforts based on what I have read. I joined a CSA, to support a local farmer and sustainable agriculture. I have donated money. I have given gifts that benefitted a school library. I have considered ways to take action, and have at least in some cases, taken those actions. And, what I feel is most important, I have started to speak out more. I have shared my thoughts and my hopes, and found others who have listened. And I think that this in itself matters.

I must admit that I was taken aback when you started your gift registry list for the baby that the two of you are growing. When you asked for time for volunteering, for actual getting-out-of-the-house actions, I thought that this was too expensive a gift to request. You see, my life has gotten quite busy in the last few months. Pressures are building for school and work, and I’m at a point where I really need to buckle down and work towards my degree. At the same time, I have other demands from family and friends, which I cannot ignore to an even greater degree that I do now.

Here’s something kinda funny. Just a few weeks before you announced this new growth in your marriage, I had started to consider more ways that I could act. I have spent time in the past in volunteering activities, and these have been very important to me. Only few days before the big announcement, likely particulary inspired by this post of Jen’s, I started looking at online databases with volunteer opportunities, scoping out places that might be close to home. But I didn’t get too far. My scoping activities were likely cut short by some other demands on my time and attention. And I thought that this was perhaps not the right time for me to start wearing my volunteer pants again, but that I’d keep looking to see if there was something I could fit in down the road.

So when you made your request, I was thrown into a bit of an existential crisis. I may even have had a wee bit of a temper tantrum. I felt a little like I was being asked to clean my room, after I’d already decided to clean my room later. “I will not clean my room! I don’t want to!” I shouted to the universe. “I don’t need to clean my room!”

But the truth is, you are right. My room is a mess. I need to pick up the piles of stuff off the floor and take some action. Here’s the thing. I can’t promise a thorough job right now. It will have to be a gradual one. For a start, I will share my stories of volunteerism, in the hopes that these may motivate me more, and maybe someone else who sees them. I will look into volunteer opportunities, and share what I’ve learned. I will make some calls. And I will find more actions I can take.

I know it’s not the gift you were hoping for, but consider it more of a gift card. Or a promise of a gift card, scribbled on a greeting card. A re-used greeting card.

So, here’s to say thank you for all you do, and all the ways that you inspire me.

Much love,



As the ultimate in tacky gift-giving, this post is being offered not only as a shower gift to Mad and Jen for their Just Post baby, but as an entry to the Monday Missions. This week’s mission was to write a post in the form of a thank you note.

10 responses to “gifts and thanks

  1. Looks like you subscribe to Joe’s gifting philosophy: The I.O.U.

    I’m neither Jen, nor Mad (could you tell?), but I will go out on a limb and say, baby, you’ve got priorities…and you’ll know when you finally have enough time to get your house…erm…room in order. And we’ll be there. Mwahahahaha. ;)

  2. A,

    Ok, seriously, this brought tears to my eyes. Maybe it’s the rawness of the last few days, maybe it’s because you were speaking directly from your heart. Maybe it’s because I can relate, that I too, feel overwhelmed and I’m the one who decided to get knocked up in the first place, or maybe just because your heart is so very, very honest and lovely. Thank you.

    Love to you, A.

  3. I am just so humbled by all of you big hearts.

  4. this was a great letter. Can I just scrawl “ditto”on your used card, sign my name below it, and leave it at that? ;)

  5. How honest and real. I say fantastic, too, because so many probably feel overwhelmed and need to find the place and spot. And it’s great to see how inspiring this all is, and you…inspiring too.

  6. Used cards are the best. They totally help the environment!

  7. What Painted Maypole said…ditto.

    Great letter. And yes, they have been inspiring, Mad & Jen.

  8. This was beautiful.

  9. Ah shucks, Alejna, you’re the best. Seriously. I loved this post–everything about it. My volunteer gig is 90 minutes every other week at a place 3 blocks from my house, because all of this really is hard with so many other competing priorities. So ya, I’ll take the gift card and when you are done cleaning your room maybe you can help me with mine.

  10. Pingback: The July Just Posts « collecting tokens

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