I am thankful.
For so long, I used the word “busy” to describe my life. But “busy” has a negative connotation--there isn’t enough time, space, capacity to get it all done. I don’t want to live in the negative.
Nowadays, I prefer to use “full”. My life is full--full of good things and hard things, of busy days filled with carpool lines and library trips and stretches of days spent in my pajamas taking care of sick children. It’s full of responsibilities and opportunities, of daydreams and of perfect moments with my children, typically followed quickly by an embarrassing public tantrum.
Once upon a time, I considered myself a planner. I do still like to plan ahead, but I’ve learned to hold the future a little more loosely. Life surprises us in all kinds of ways, and the more open I am to the possibilities, the less anxiety I feel when things don’t go exactly how I imagined. The more I pause to notice the beauty of each moment, the less time I spend imagining the future and living in the present, the more I realize that I have to be thankful for.
When I notice the things that are easy to take for granted, I become more thankful. When I realize that the hard things give us a better appreciation for the good things; when I can accept that bad things happen to everyone, and we can choose how we react, how we move on, and what we learn from them, I can move through them and not dwell in them.
I believe that being present will bring us some of the best gifts of all, moments and memories that we can carry with us always, no matter what the future holds. Sometimes even the hardest moments, the ones we want to escape from, the ones we would do anything not to be experiencing, can contain tiny fragments of beauty, if we can just be present and pay attention to them.
I believe that the more content we are with what we have, the less we will think we need, and what a blessing that is--not to constantly be striving for more. Whether it is more time, more money, more stuff, more influence, more followers--when we realize that what we have is ENOUGH--we can stop and enjoy it, for the gift it is right now. What good is all the stuff--all of the fame, fortune, or success--if we don’t enjoy the moment? I was listening to a podcast recently (Pantsuit Politics, maybe?) and they were discussing the Taylor Swift documentary (which I have yet to watch). Despite not having seen the documentary, the description they gave of the moment where, at the pinnacle of her career, she stopped to look around and thought “is this it?” made me stop and think. I don’t want to look at my life and think “is this all?”.
Whether my days consist of changing dirty diapers and never ending laundry or I eventually end up on the career track, whether my greatest influence is on those I share a home with, or I have the capacity to make a difference on a bigger scale--whatever it is, it is important, it is worthy, it is beautiful, and I am thankful.
Of course, I have moments of jealousy or discontent, times I wish for something someone else has--the perfect home, the bigger bank account, the talent, or the bathing suit ready body. It can be easy to drift into “if only I had…” or “one day when…”, but we don’t know what life will hold or what tomorrow will bring, so I want to be thankful, right now.
And so: I’m thankful for sunny Fridays with blue skies. I’m thankful for the sweetest little MOPs group that I’ve found, and that we were finally able to meet again after missing a month due to various weather events. I’m thankful for my post-MOPs treat to myself of Chick-Fil-A and a book in the car while Hayes naps and I wait for preschool pickup. Also so very thankful for drive-throughs in this stage of life. Coffee, dry cleaners, bank, Target, the grocery store, Chick-Fil-A--thank you for having a drive through so that I can let sleeping baby nap and so that I can avoid having to buckle and unbuckle carseats, not to mention the dragging of the kids to the errands .
I’m thankful for the ability to have conversations and discussions and debates, to not have to agree with everything that I’m told, and to be able to critically examine and decide what I want to believe for myself. I’m thankful for books and the library and social media, and access to information. I’m thankful that I can read. I’m thankful for podcasts and a car and a driver's license. I’m thankful for toy cars and the hours they spend occupying my children. I’m thankful for parks and greenways and trails and time spent outside.
I’m thankful for moments of laughter with my husband alongside the exasperation children can bring. I’m thankful for the snuggles of a sleeping baby, for little hands that find mine and for wildflowers carefully picked, just for me. I’m thankful for bedtime stories and dinners that are eaten without drama. I’m thankful for curious questions and spontaneous hugs and an up close view to the joys of childhood.
I’m thankful for spring on the horizon, the promise of new seasons, of new life, of sun on your shoulders and green grass beneath your feet. I’m thankful for longer days ahead and the adventures that will come with them--hikes and picnics and parks and jumping in puddles.
I am thankful.