Our son, Ben, is responsible for bringing the most remarkable people into our family’s life. They’ve come in the form of teachers, therapists, bus drivers and service providers – all caregivers who have shared their life with ours. I’ve learned that there’s no good reason to wait to say thank you.
Ben was born with severe cognitive, physical and speech development issues that require 24-hour care. If not for his caregivers, I don’t think Ben or our family would be in the good place that we are today.
The relationships we’ve developed with Ben’s caregivers have helped us establish a strong network of support. We are grateful for them and their willingness to care and love him as much as we do.
They’re caregiving has extended further than their job duties. When I’ve needed advice about how to approach a situation or vented about bureaucratic issues that prevented Ben from receiving services, they’ve provided insight or a listening ear to help get me through the tough times.
They hear the words, “thank you,” from me on a regular basis, but I also attempt to do something special for them as well.
Here are 5 ways to say thank you throughout the year:
Create a care package
Put special items in a box or reusable bag to show your appreciation for their work. Bus drivers and bus monitors are often underappreciated for what they do. A care package with a box of tissues, baby wipes, paper towels and glass cleaner will make them feel appreciated and help them be prepared for eventual situations. It also saves them having to buy these items with personal funds.
Consider making a “survive the first week” box for a teacher. Send in a tote bag with lip balm, mints, aspirin, a chocolate bar and other personal items that the teacher can have at their disposal during that hectic first weeks of school.
Give a gift for the road
Therapists often drive throughout the day traveling to different schools and homes to work with clients. Purchase a small lunch bag and fill it with a drink, snack and a magazine for a treat in between clients.
Many caregivers would appreciate a gift card to a local coffee shop or cafe so they can have a moment alone.
Volunteer your time
In some cases, giving a bit of your time can help ease the pressure off a caregiver or give them the opportunity to attend a special event.
I’m active with a leadership team at my son’s school because his teacher asked me to a be a part of the group. His teacher represents the interests of the special education program, and I can show my support of her and advocate about issues that affect her class.
Make or bake something
My favorite gift is a handmade bookmark that has the poem, “You’ll never know” printed on it. Add a bookmark to a book by a caregiver’s favorite author, a paperback for the beach or a volume of inspirational poems.
Not crafty and don’t have the time to bake? Pick-up store-bought muffins or cookies. It shows someone that you care about them.
Write a note
Most of us worry about stumbling over the right words to say how we feel about someone. In fact, that apprehension sometimes prevents us from ever writing the note. But words can mean so much to the receiver. Say thank you, pick one thing you are grateful for and sign it with your name. That’s it.
At the end of each year, I write the bus driver and monitor a note telling them how much it’s meant for me to know that Ben was in safe and capable hands while on the bus.
Are you waiting to say thank you to someone special in your life? Try one of the ideas above or use one as an inspiration to develop your own unique thank you.
Doing this already? Tell us who you show appreciation to. How do you say thank you? Add your ideas in the comment section.
Vanessa Infanzon is mom to three beautiful boys. Her oldest son, Ben, is a smart, funny and determined 14-year-old. He doesn’t let anything stop him from doing what he loves – swimming, being outdoors and eating out. Vanessa is also a contributing writer for Ross Feller Casey.