My friend L. just moved from Boston to Albany and gave birth to twins. It’s been almost four months since they were born, and I pictured myself cooking for L. and helping with the babies the first month of their life. With older kids in school, a toddler, work and everything else, I kept putting off the visit. I finally realized there would be no perfect time to visit, but I found a nearly perfect time. My husband was home for the week, L.’s husband was away. I spent two nights getting to know her gorgeous twins and enjoying her bubbly 4 year-old daughter. Sure, I helped: I unloaded the dishwasher. I made pizza one night. I held babies. But most of all, I kept L. company and we caught up on our friendship.
The last night of the visit, we stayed up late talking and she told me how happy she was that I made the effort to come visit. I told her I’d forgotten how much a new mom needs help, even though I should know.
One of our new neighbors has a rebout with cancer. I don’t know her and planning the logistics of cooking a meal for their family seems intrusive. But who doesn’t like muffins? I could drop off some muffins.
L. & I also talked about the social graces we’ve had fall by the wayside lately. I have been terrible about calling or sending cards for nieces and nephews, but ironically being diligent about posting a Happy Birthday message on Facebook for people I worked with 10+ years ago and didn’t really know that well.
Work friends from 10 years ago may warrant a Facebook Happy Birthday posting. Good friends and family deserve a call or a card. A mom having her third or fourth baby doesn’t need a baby shower, but she does deserve a visit to admire the baby or a pretty, thoughtful (how about letterpress?) card to welcome the new addition. Attending a wake is hard to do, but standing in line to offer condolences in person is something I never regret taking the time to do.
Genuine, thoughtful and kind social graces matter.