Grateful Glasses

I just got back from that speaking engagement I mentioned last week. That one where I was supposed to talk about raising grateful children. I don’t really know if I addressed the topic at hand, or even what I said at all, but I thought I would share what was on my mind as I was babbling on about who knows what.

It was a year ago yesterday that the boys and I were on our way to the gym when Micah called and said that his contract was not being renewed. Come January 1, he’d be unemployed. I had just found out I was pregnant two weeks before. And with those two things on my mind, I shed a few tears as I wheeled the stroller down Bedford Avenue to yoga class.

We allowed ourselves to be sad for one day. And then we moved forward. This was a blessing, we told ourselves. An answer to the prayers we’d been saying, asking for new opportunities and opened doors. We’re not risk-taking people, but we knew we needed to take a risk if we were to get where we want to go. The best way to do that, apparently, was to get laid off. Once we saw it that way, it was really easy to be happy about it. And to see everything else through our “grateful glasses.”

(I’m pretty sure this is what grateful glasses look like. Because I’m grateful for these glasses.)
Because of that, this past year was one of the happiest years of my life. Despite being under-employed for much of it, despite adding another mouth to feed in the midst of it, despite all the disappointment around Manchild’s schooling, despite everything, I felt less anxious, less stressed, less worried than I’ve ever felt before.

It’s amazing the things you can see when you put on a new pair of glasses. All the little kindnesses you missed before. All the small ways people help and serve each other – even the little people who drive you crazy half the time. I love seeing the kids try to help out. And even if it turns out horribly, I’m grateful for the thought and the effort. Even if they end up spilling water all over the floor while they’re washing the dishes, or unrolling the entire roll of toilet paper when they’re trying to wipe their own bums. I try to let them know that, with my fancy new glasses on, I see it, and I appreciate it.

It’s even more amazing how easy it is to find the silver linings with those glasses. There’s suddenly very little to complain about. I’ve made it a goal to be more vocal about that too, especially in front of the kids – and even more especially when they’re having a hard time finding anything to be happy about.

Finally, did you ever do that thing, back in the day, where you made a list of all the qualities you were looking for in a spouse? You wanted someone kind, genuine, fun-loving, spontaneous, someone who loves children and puppies and helps old ladies across the street. And then you realized that if you wanted all that, you had to be all that, too?

I’m pretty sure it goes double for kids. You want to raise kind, thoughtful, grateful, children who appreciate you and don’t complain? I’m pretty sure you’ve got to be that person.

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3 Comments

  1. It’s so true. There was a moment a while ago when I realized that every “bad” thing Grant does he learned from me, and that if I wanted him to be a good person I better be that person too. I think I needed that reminder again, so thanks.

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  2. When I was newly pregnant with my son it seemed like the world crashed down on us over and over again, with the last event being I was cut to 1/2 time at work. At the time? I was devastated. Normal, crazy, pregnancy emotions turned into, honestly? Depression. Today? I see it as one of the biggest blessings of my life. Do I wish I had been full time until my son was born for the money? SURE. But, I enjoyed the naps, and then I REALLY enjoyed the extra time I got to spend with him until he was 8 months old, and I never would have chosen that path on my own.

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  3. You did a beautiful job on Wednesday night. Thanks for sharing your words and thoughts! So, so lovely.

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