Choosing an attitude of gratitude

Do you remember a specific defining moment of when you felt like a grownup? I remember being at the movie theater with my boyfriend in college. I had gone to the bathroom, was washing my hands and looked up at the mirror and was surprised at my reflection. I don’t know what it was, but something about my appearance had seemingly changed and I remember feeling like I wasn’t a girl anymore. Why this revelation randomly took place in the middle of a movie date – I have no idea. (I mean, it was for sure a PG-rated date. Let’s be clear.)

I was reminded of that moment and that feeling the other morning when I slogged out of bed and teetered to the bathroom only to be startled by my reflection. Whoa. Staring back at me was one saggy, baggy tired mother. How did that happen?

It’s like John Mayer sings, “Whatever happened to my lunchbox // when came the day that it got thrown away  // and don’t you think I should have had some say in that decision”

***

Exactly a year ago I went on a crusade to practice an attitude of gratitude. I was unhappy at work, the kids were constantly getting sick, we had to cancel a bunch of plans, and so I started a two week project on my personal Instagram account I called #righttheshipRach in effort to turn my negative outlook around to a positive one.

I mentioned last week that Jim is currently in Washington caring for his dad. It’s been hard having him gone and staying focused on the good around here. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that our version of “hard” while challenging, could be a whole lot worse.

Instead of focusing on the sad situation, the unfairness of cancer, and the emotional aspect of being away from my husband for the longest stretch in 13 years, I’ve been trying to continue to right this ship as best I can. “Right” it by writing helps – I’ve been adding post-it notes to my refrigerator of things and people I’m thankful for, and that is giving me something tangible and positive to continually focus on – because god knows the frequency of my visits to the refrigerator to fetch more toddler snacks and fulfill more demands for MILK. And in righting this ship, friendships help even more.

Last week I wrote about empathy with a lot on my mind. The world was hurting. I was hurting. And many people close to me have been dealing with some major life stuff. The weight of it all is heavy. Figuratively and literally. Like I texted my friend the other night, “How about when your pity party turns into a pregnancy scare because you’ve eaten too much ice cream over the last couple weeks? Proud mama of a high performing food baby over here.” 

It happens.

***

There was a time not too long ago that one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to make my bed every morning. It was something so hard for me to do that I made it a freaking resolution that — get this — I didn’t even keep! That seems bonkers to me now. If I don’t make my bed now, it’s very much a no bueno kind of day. But again, I’m perplexed at the invisible time-lapse. How did I get from there to here?

All of a sudden, we’re the caregivers. We’re in charge. On camping trips, we’re the ones putting out the campfires and washing little hands and feet before bed. We lock the doors, turn out the lights, and make sure the dishwasher is running. It feels like his parents just helped us move into our first house, but now we’re moving them out of their last.

***

Exactly a year ago, I took my first letterpress class at our local art museum. I made a calendar. And at the bottom, I added this quote by Emily Dickinson,

“Forever is composed of nows.”

And so for now, I choose to be grateful and to love hard.

4 thoughts on “Choosing an attitude of gratitude

  1. What a beautiful post and a wonderful reminder…because even when life is hard, there is always some good to be found. Sending you and your family love. xo

    Like

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