It’s that time of year when the days are short and cold. I feel like I’m entering a dark tunnel, and although I know I’ll come out of it on the other side, I can’t help but brace myself against the chilly temperatures and the work and indecision that goes along with it. Is it too cold to go out? How many layers? Will the kids be warm enough? Carrying around all of our coats and hats and gloves is almost enough to make me want to just stay in, but I know that leads to problems of its own: bickering and wrestling between the kids from being cooped up, restlessness and impatience on my part from being caged in with three little people who like to bounce and ricochet and jump and climb, and the gloominess and fatigue that settles into our apartment when we are deprived of light and warmth and contact with the outside world.
I consider it a supreme act of mercy that at the outset of winter and the long, dark, cold months that lie ahead, we have the opportunity to take stock of all the wonderful things about our lives. Thanksgiving not only gives us a chance to fill up on delicious food, but on time with friends and family, and on thoughts of gratitude and love that can permeate the coming season with light and warmth.
Giving thanks has, of course, been actually shown to make people happy. It has also been shown to improve relationships and physical health. Is it any wonder, then, that keeping a gratitude journal has become so popular? But part of the joy of making a list and keeping track of all the things I am grateful for is to consider why those things are so important to me. Meditating on the reasons really digging deep to get to the root of why those things fill me with happiness takes my focus away from the small irritations of winter and lets me see this season instead as a time to focus on being the source of love and light to others.
With that in mind, I’d like to share some things I am most grateful for in my life: the things that bring me the greatest source of comfort and joy not only during the winter, but in all times and all seasons.
So Much to Be Grateful For 1 of 5
It's time to count your blessings . . . and the blessings of having blessings.
My Kids. Obviously. 2 of 5
They are cute and hilarious and energetic and silly and all of those things that simultaneously drive me crazy and make me fall in love all over again. And while I am grateful just to have my kids, grateful just to be a mom, when I really think about it, the part of having children that I am most grateful for is seeing the world anew every day. I get to explain things that I would have never given a second thought to, I get to see connections that would not have occurred to me without their help, I get to experience things for the very first time again and again and again when I introduce them to something new. And with each new experience, I gain a greater appreciation for this world we have to live in and all its complexity and simplicity. I am so grateful to my kids for that incredible gift.
My Husband. Of Course. 3 of 5
Perhaps more than anything else more than the help he gives with the housework, the way he supports me in my endeavors, the way he plays with and teaches our kids, which are all very important I'm grateful that my husband is on my side and is willing to pick up the slack when I can't any more.
My Education 4 of 5
One of my professors in college he was an economist said that one of the best things a mother could do for her children is to get an education. In fact, a mother's education level is one of the best predictors of a child's success. My attitude changed immediately from being somewhat non-commital about finishing college, to being fully engaged and focused on earning my degree. And while I have always planned to be a stay-at-home mom and to give my kids as much attention as I can while they are young and at home, I am grateful for the peace of mind I have knowing that I can be competitive in the work place if need be.
Not Being in School 5 of 5
As happy and grateful I am for my education, going to school was very stressful for me. So many dreams/nightmares of forgotten tests and unfinished papers, so many days spent either in the library or worried that I should be in the library. It was worth it, of course, but I'm grateful that I no longer have to spend so much time studying, worrying, and being tested and graded again and again and again.