Grasping for Gratitude

by Abby on April 6, 2015

It’s always fun to start your Spring Break with your child suffering the sudden onset of a violent stomach bug at 3 a.m. after a day of eating Easter candy. I’ll give you a second to let that colorful image sink in while I Purell my hands and start another load of laundry for the zillionth time today. (BTW, I blame this blog post I happened to read the other day. The power of suggestion …?)

We’re off to visit family this week if/when we recover, so I will leave you with this post from my archives. I did this again today, BTW. On my way to Target to buy new waterproof mattress protectors, I ran through the list: I’m grateful my kids are rarely sick; I’m grateful we have a good pediatrician; I’m grateful we have a working washer and dryer. That’s as far as I got. But after the carnage I’ve seen in the past 24 hrs, I’m grateful I could even think of these. Hope you’re having a healthy week in your world.

Gratitude Through Gritted Teeth

Flower growing out of a rockSaturday, 6:05am: “I throwed up, Mommy!” Not how I envisioned my weekend starting. On the bright side, at least he’d made it past the rug to the hardwood floor. Also? Daddy was home for backup. Things could always be worse.

Plans for our trip to the zoo were scrapped. Old towels and bowls to puke in were procured. The TV went on and stayed on. And the day dragged on…and on…and on.

My husband and I tag-teamed the weekend errands. I’ll take back the library books, you run to the bank. I’ll go get groceries, you throw in a load of laundry. I’ll take this one, you stay home with that one. I had the thought I’ve had so many times before: some weeks, there is no difference between weekdays and weekends for me. Was it Tuesday? Was it Saturday? Who knows? And does it make any difference? Parenting is a 24/7 gig. This is life; best get on with it.

Around 3pm or so, I had to get out of the house. I popped in my earbuds and headed outside for a long walk. Feet pounding the pavement, lungs inhaling the cool, fresh air. Walking and thinking, thinking and walking.

And what I thought was this: At least my kids aren’t chronically ill. I’ll take a stomach bug over months of hospitalization any day. At least I have a supportive husband who’s right there in the trenches with me. At least it’s a weekend so there are two of us home to help out. At least I didn’t get sick, too. (Yet.) Because moms don’t get sick days. Not really.

I thought about all those things I’ve read about positive thinking and happiness being a practice, a process. You choose your thoughts just like you choose to exercise. I could wallow in the woe-is-me’s on the couch, or I could force myself to think grateful thoughts as I forced myself to hike up that steep hill. I gritted my teeth and chose gratitude. It’s not easy, not today, but let’s give it a whirl.

As I rounded the corner of my street 40 min. later, I saw a package on the step. A case of honeybells, delectable citrus fruit sent from Florida by a beloved aunt. The mailbox held a funny card from my mom, a much-needed check, a new issue of O magazine. And I thought: Wow. This gratitude stuff works.

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