I was thrilled when Aidan chose Gratitude as the December Here Year theme. As I just wrote last month, while I love the explosion of gratitude-related posting and Facebooking and general conversation around Thanksgiving, I actually would love to spread the awareness of our good fortune out throughout the year. It’s one of the things I care most deeply about as a person and as a parent.
For me, gratitude is inherently intertwined with paying attention. By listening to, watching, and observing the details of my own life, I automatically put myself in a thankful mood. I notice things to be grateful for in every corner. The adage that gratitude turns what we have into enough comes often to mind. Trite, yes, maybe, but also profoundly true.
I used to share posts regularly with photos and short snippets of things I’d noticed, that I wanted to mark, celebrate, and honor. I realize Instagram has become the place I do that, most days. What I hadn’t really put together before now was that those posts – this blog itself, in fact – and now, Instagram, are my way of saying thank you. By making sure I noticed my own life, I was cultivating gratitude for it.
So, with a deep bow to an instinct that was powerful before it was clearly articulate-able, I want to return to that. A few shimmering moments in my ordinary life lately that I noticed and for which I am deeply thankful.
Almost-full moon rising, 4pm. Picked Grace up from hockey practice, watched her as she tossed her hockey bag in the trunk and then slid into the front seat. Before my eyes my little girl has become a graceful young woman. I gasped at the startling beauty of a flock of birds flying overhead and then drove home, towards this rising moon, more beautiful somehow for its almost-full imperfection, the jagged bottom corner. Oh, this life.
One evening last month, when Grace was on a multi-day field trip for school and Matt was traveling for work, Whit and I curled up on the couch and did some DEAR (Drop Everything And Read). It was one of my favorite hours of November.
I had the most delightful, warm coffee with Rebecca Pacheco, whose blog, Omgal, I have long loved. She graciously gave me an advance copy of her book which I cannot WAIT to read. She also affirmed for me that the online world can indeed be a source of real, genuine, deep relationships. I don’t know Rebecca that well (yet) but look forward to spending more time with her and feel hugely grateful to have connected with her. And stay tuned for a review of Do Your Om Thing: Bending Yoga Tradition to Fit Your Modern Life, which I already know I’m going to love.
Grace opening a birthday gift from my dear, beloved Brettne. There’s something about the sight of my daughter holding two books I so passionately loved as a girl myself (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and To Kill a Mockingbird), sent to her from a friend who means a tremendous amount to me and whose love of books is even deeper than my own that brought tears to my eyes.
One of my favorite traditions is our annual visit to a local farm to buy our Christmas tree. We went yesterday morning. The truth is, there was some (“some”) tension and grouchiness before we went (on my part) and it wasn’t the smoothest visit. There was some pouting (perhaps also by me) and some short voices to each other (to put it mildly). But still, I’m thankful that we went all together, that we picked the beautiful tree that’s in our living room now, and even that we got this picture, which makes me laugh because it really conveys the perfectly imperfect nature of everyday life.
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