When I take a moment to meditate on thankfulness, I wonder how grateful I truly am. No, I cannot find that new age few minutes daily to sit quietly and put things in context. I am usually too busy stressing out over the small stuff (I could write my own book: How to Best Stress Over the Small Stuff - but really, who would buy that).
So, how grateful am I?
I question my gratitude for the reordered and disorganized priorities of my life.
I have led myself to believe that there are many things I cannot live without such as chocolate, The New York Times Sunday Styles Section, a sense of good taste, good food, coffee with lactaid milk, Mad Men, is this too vacuous a list?
Maybe I am forgetting to be thankful for the obvious.
I am so fortunate to live a life in which my needs are met. Of course, I am the one meeting my own needs. Interesting to think that was not true only a mere five years ago (ok, let's not go there).
I try to be mindful and grateful for that ability (but again, I have not made this a daily practice).
The basics? Food, shelter, safety, transportation and disposable finances to clothe and provide for my family - these I have and am grateful for that, so grateful for that. I had better start doing that grateful thing everyday.
And what of that which I cannot live without and which adds to the joy (and therefore the gratitude) in my life?
I am grateful for these things which I cannot live well, and joyfully without including both the obvious and the all to often overlooked:
My dear family without whom I would have a less full and less fulfilling life. My parents who compliment and supplement my parenting, and whose daily presence in my life guide, aid and at times infuriate me. My sisters, with whom I am in pretty constant contact through proximity, electricity and if all else fails, telephonically. Those women, and frequently their husbands have given me so much more than the bond of sisterhood. Here I feel the need to insert "Thank you, mom" to our mother who while not blessed with siblings endowed us with the knowledge that we would need to be passionate about our sisterhood. Passionate enough to move heaven and earth, if need be.
My four children--I have no greater joy in my life. I am infinitely grateful that I am their mother. I am grateful beyond belief for this blessing.
And friends, I am so so blessed with friendship. Thank you for connection. In life there are friends and there are facebook friends. You know, they check in and check out but usually are not a daily presence in my life. Usually they appear on your wall on your birthday. I am glad to see the pictures of their families but I do not feel true deep meaningful gratitude for this periphery of my acquaintance circle.
My endless gratitude is for my inner circle. The women who have shared with me their kitchen tables, their thoughts, cups and cups of coffee and some of whom opened their homes to me as havens from the storm. These women have become my sanctuary if not my sanity. Their friendships, the oldest of which (the Ankle Illustrator) began over my lady bug backpack in the second grade, have grounded me. These bonds run so deeply through me they are like the blood in my veins.
That which surrounds me completes me. I love the beauty in nature. The visual magnificence of fall foliage is a blessing!
I upped my appreciation this year as I collected and pressed and mailed the yellow, red, and orange leaves to my dear far away friend (the Meticulous Mother of Many). She lives in Israel, where I want to live. Despite the wonder and travail that comes with living there she pines (sorry I couldn't help myself) for the effects depleted chlorophyl in deciduous trees. I hope I can do this small kindness for her yearly until I arrive. But now back to nature, I love the blue of the sky, the clouds, the bareness of the trees, the grass, and the rain. I have good windows through which I can see the day before I leave my home.
I am grateful for music. The melody, the lyrics, the sounds fill my soul. I love music. My grandfather came every day and played our baby grand piano. Perhaps this early pervasion of music ignited the need to have music in my life. My taste runs eclectic: Jewish, bluegrass, indie, classic rock, some classical, and country. My dear friend (the Hampton Maid) earns her living through music. She has had tremendous influence on my taste, appreciation and understanding of music. Music is the brilliance in my life.
I need to read. I am so grateful for the written word. I learned to love the library from my eldest sister (Honey). I think that she might equate reading with breathing. She has been known to finish two books in a day. My pace is a little slower--I have had 10 less years to perfect this skills. Now I am reading a great deal of children's literature for my Masters class. She has thoughtfully contributed that this could be good for my soul.
TOUCH. I am so fortunate that my youngest (Angel Baby) still desires the morning snuggle. I cherish each and every one I have with her. I don't know what I will do when I lose this time with her. I love to touch, and be touched. I have a wonderful cousin who is a hugger (Queen of Hugs). It is so good to be in her presence because she cuts through everything and just hugs. I think that is one of the greatest losses in my life without marriage. I hope one day to be fortunate enough to find a good man who would love me, and fill my need for touch. For this I would be grateful.
This is a lot of gratitude for one post, and there is a side dish yet to be made. The sweet potatoes are calling from the kitchen so I will sign off with the question.
What are you thankful for , and how do you express it?