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Showing up matters, and so does saying, 'Thanks for coming'

In Other Words
Jason Berghorst
Jason Berghorst, reporter

“Thanks for coming!”
Maybe you’ve heard or said those words recently or often in your life.
I sure have. I’m a “thank you” sayer. 
I’ve thanked police officers after pulling me over and even said thank you to another driver who hit my car in a parking lot. 
To be fair, the thank you was at the end of our interactions after the accident. I was thanking the man for taking responsibility, working together as we filed the report, etc.
But still … I thanked a stranger who just backed into my car. Think of that. 
I believe saying thank you is both important and beneficial. 
The older I get, the more I want to thank people for the things they do, for their time, for sharing an experience, or even just being a part of my life. 
Saying thank you tells someone they are valued and that they matter. 
I’ve been noticing a certain type of thank you more lately, like the times I’m told, “Thanks for coming.”
That type of thank you is one of my favorites.
Last winter I went to a junior varsity hockey game that my friend was coaching.
After the game my friend sent me a short text from the locker room saying, “Thanks for coming,” realizing that attending a JV game in which I know none of the players would not otherwise be on my to-do list. 
Sometimes when I attend LHS events, I’ve had parents say, “Thanks for coming,” as if I were there to watch only their child. Of course, I’m there to support many students, but I appreciate the sentiment just the same.
Showing up matters and showing appreciation to those who show up matters. 
When I attend my niece’s and nephew’s youth sporting events, their mom sometimes reminds them to tell Uncle Jason thanks for coming.
A couple of weeks ago, my niece thanked me for coming to her lacrosse game without her mom around. She’s learned well. 
Last month I went to Junior Legion baseball games that my friend’s son was playing in. Isaac was the only player I knew, but it was fun to see him play and spend time with his parents while watching. 
And he knew I was there to support him. 
After the game we went out for pizza with his team and their families. While there, Isaac sat with his teammates, and I didn’t get to talk to him much. 
As I was leaving the parking lot, though, I put down my window as he walked toward his dad’s pickup. He looked over, gave a big smile and said, “Thanks for coming!” (without his parents telling him to). 
That thank you sure felt good. I knew that it mattered that I drove to his games that day, that I matter to him and that he knows he and his family matter to me. 
Showing up matters. People matter.
Thank you for coming, indeed.

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