The power of two simple words: thank you

Kelsey Henninger

I try to clean my apartment once a week, but if I’m busy I will let it go for a couple weeks. I was cleaning the kitchen, this week, when I stepped in something sticky. I figured out the mysterious liquid was grape Kool-Aid.

My roommate’s friend was drinking grape Kool-Aid the night before and must have spilled a little, which is not a big deal. As I wiped the grape puddle from the floor, however, I noticed the Kool-Aid was all down the front of the cupboard and spilled in one of our drawers. I was frustrated that I had to clean up after her. “I’m not your mother and I shouldn’t have to clean up after you,” I thought to myself.

Cleaning up after my roommate’s friend made me realize how often I leave a mess for my mother to clean – even if it’s something little like leaving the blanket draped on the couch instead of folding it up and putting it away.

Since getting my own place, I have tried to be more cautious of my actions when I go home. I try to minimize my mother’s work by taking more responsibility for everything I do.

Instead of dropping off my laundry and bouncing out the door to visit with friends until my brief stop home for dinner, I stick around the house and help with dinner and laundry if my mother lets me.

Working together is easier than doing it alone. Most of the time, my roommates and I will clean together. But if I notice that my roommates have cleaned the bathroom or done the dishes without me, I try to thank them. It’s always nice to be reminded that you are appreciated. A simple “thank you” can mean a lot. I’m sure my roommates do plenty of things that go unnoticed and unthanked, but I make a valiant effort to notice the small things.

I thank my mother for every meal and everything she buys me because, on my budget, I live with the necessities and do not always get everything I want. When she buys me something I desire but do not need, I am thankful because I no longer expect her to support me financially. The things I formerly expected and took for granted at home, I now appreciate so much more because I know how much work they involve.

Moving out helps you mature and appreciate the smaller things. I know my mother is happier with my new found appreciation toward her about everything she does for me because she has gone 20 years without appreciation from me.

If you do not live on your own yet, I’m sure your responsibilities have still increased once entering college. Just make sure you take time to thank those who have supported you. Appreciation is free and goes a long way.

Kelsey Henninger is a junior magazine journalism major and a columnist for the Summer Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].