I've been in a funk lately.
There's a lot of contributing factors. Limited "me" time. Work is getting more ridiculous by the day. Little Man is in full two-year-old bloom, replete with countless tantrums that strike with the speed of a rattlesnake. Missing family, feeling fat, tired....ack. The list goes on.
You know how it is---sometimes you just hit a wall. It's easy to get caught up in the day to day living and lose sight of what things make your life sweet.
Before Little Man came home I kept a gratitude journal. I loved how the last think I thought of before bedtime was something that made me happy and reminded me to give thanks. Acknowledging what makes my life good helped me to feel more balanced.
So when I saw this 21 Days of Gratitude project, I decided to get on board. I'm using it as a call to drag my butt out of the funk and get back on track, being mindful of the richness that surrounds me.
There are writing prompts which I might use occasionally, but right now, I know exactly what I'm thankful for. It's Day 3 of the project, so let me play catch up:
Can it really be nearly 21 years that we've been married?! Oh my goodness does that sound insane. What's crazier (at least to me) is that we are nearing the point where we've been together half our lives. Half our lives!!
I can tell you so many things about him that I'm thankful for: the way he can still make me laugh; what an amazing father he is; how he does sweet things out of the blue, like bringing me cookies or buying a necklace he thinks I'll like; how he loves to play practical jokes; or how wonderful it is to be with someone who *gets* me and loves me, despite my many flaws. Perhaps because of them.
But one thing I'm absolutely grateful for is that there is still so much to learn about him. Over twenty years together and I'm still discovering new things. (Since when does he like beets?!) The joy of discovery makes this whole journey together continue to feel new even when we have decades together. I am grateful (and need to remember more often) that there is still more to be learned about this wonderful man that I'm lucky enough to be married to.
Day 2: Little Man
Little Man is a huge Dr. Seuss fan, something that I'll readily admit, I have never been. He carries One Fish, Two Fish around with him everywhere. Everywhere! I'm amazed how much of the book he already knows, and I hear him quoting it at night as he falls asleep.
Each night he insists on reading some form of Dr. Seuss before we go to bed. I used to dread it. I find the illustrations a bit creepy, and the Cat in the Hat always made me uncomfortable as a kid. I thought he was just rude!
But night after night, as we read the books, I've started to see them in a new light. I've learned to enjoy the play on words and quit over-thinking them. They are about being in the moment, and delighting in the silly. Now I happily dig in to "Wocket in my pocket", enjoying the nonsense rhymes as much as Little Man. (I still don't like the Cat much though...)
This lesson---learning to be in the moment---is one of the greatest gifts that Little Man has shared with me. With him, I'm learning to press pause on the craziness of adult life, and be fully present, savoring small moments as they come instead of constantly planning, figuring, conjecturing about moments that lie ahead.
Of course, I could go on and on about a bazillion other reasons that I'm grateful where Little Man is concerned. His health. His passionate nature. His empathy for others. His tenacity. His brilliant smile.
And need I tell you how I'm still flabbergasted that I get to be his mother? And how overjoyed?
No, I think you probably already know that.
Day 3: My brain
She also had schizophrenia and had been institutionalized several times in her life. That's how I met her, as I was documenting the terrible living conditions for many mentally ill people in our city. I spent a lot of time with Georgia as I worked on the story. It could be incredibly heartbreaking to see the way she was living, trying to stay afloat with limited funds and being impaired as she was. But she was determined and passionate and independent. I admired that.
Georgia could be scattered at times, especially because of the medications she took to control her schizophrenia. But she was incredibly smart and one day, when her head was clear and quiet, she described to me the pain and frustration at her illness and not being able to live the life that she wished she could. She started crying and said it wasn't easy or happy to live her life. But that she must go on. And she told me to cherish my "God-given gift of a healthy mind which is precious".
Never once had I thought of this. Never once before had I been thankful that I had a brain, a good brain. There are certainly times when I've been frustrated at my inability to do math or to remember names. And of course I wish I was smarter.
But I have a good brain that works. And that is absolutely something to be thankful for. Thank you, Georgia, for teaching me.