Gratefulness is all around. It's Thanksgiving, which means that communicating what we're happy to have experienced this year is top priority. Thanksgiving makes gratefulness popular again for a minute or two. But I've discovered another side of gratefulness that goes way too ignored when we're all standing around the turkey.
Last night, I reunited with my dear family in Miami. I hadn't seen my cousins in way too long, and I was beaming a gratefulness ray of light out of my chest. Everyone was meeting the baby, I was getting "I love you"s from the people who fill my heart, and how wonderful that the weather in Miami was so chilly! Chilly enough that I couldn't take the little little to sit with us outdoors. Chilly! Holidays! Love!
And as we stood around the table holding hands and giving thanks, I couldn't help but think about the difficulties I've faced this year. Because why are we only grateful for all the *good* stuff we have?
I'm grateful for...
...the nights I've stayed up with the little guy. Now I understand how deep a mother's frustration, sacrifice, and loveloveLOVE runs. Empathy where it didn't previously exist. Appreciation for a good night's sleep.
...missing my mom during this Thanksgiving trip. She's been a cement-like constant in my life, one I didn't fully appreciate until now. Boatloads of appreciation.
...the bad clients I've had to deal with. I've somehow managed, which means I learned a thing or two about business and difficult conversations. Props to myself for dealing?
...the adjustment period JJ and I have gone through after the little's arrival. Nothing good comes easy. The work we've done has to pay off ... right?
...feeling like a total exercise newbie again. Humilty humility humility.
...the awkwardness of being around strangers or certain groups of people. I'm reminded of how deep my love runs for the people I feel close to in my life. My posse.
...the desperation I felt while driving down the highway as baby JJ screamed bloody murder in the backseat. Within that excruciating drive, I was reminded of my love for him, of how awesome it is when he doesn't cry, of how wonderful it is that he was perfectly healthy but probably just bored and wanting to see his momma's face. My little. *swoon*
And on and on my gratefulness flows. Even for the bad stuff. Especially for the bad stuff.
For some time now, I've been living by Maya Angelou's wise words:
"You can tell a lot about a person by the way she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights."
Bad things happen. We can learn from them in a state of grace or we can stomp our feet and throw a tantrum. I'm working on this, now still and probably forever. I threw my last tantrum just yesterday afternoon, and I'm grateful it happened: it taught me to appreciate peace and quiet when I have it, to be more gracious before people who don't mean me any harm, and to value my home more than I currently do.
Are you grateful for the tough stuff, for the lessons, for the newfound appreciation? It ain't easy, but I like it. It works for me.
PS. I just wrote this entire post on my phone while JJ sleeps next to me and baby JJ sleeps on top of me. Feeling productive and expressed and like my forearms really hurt. Grateful! :-)