Today is the eleventh post in the Attitude of Gratitude series. Click here for the complete list of posts. Join us Monday through Friday through Thanksgiving, and feel welcome to share your own stories as well in the comments sections of each post.
I am so happy that Laurie agreed to guest post for me today. She is an amazing mom and has some of the funniest kid stories. Ever. Please welcome Laurie from That Ranch Girl.
Hello Simply Klassic Readers!
Can I just start by saying how much I love Kristin and everything she does here at Simply Klassic? The name says it all, doesn’t it?
Late at night, after my kids are in bed, one of my favorite things to do is curl up with my I pad and catch up on my favorite blogs to see what everyone has been up to.
Kristin, you have such a gift of connecting people, so I am truly honored to be a part of your “Gratitude Series.”
I am rather new to the blogging world, but if you hop on over to “That Ranch Girl,” you’ll mostly find a little bit of everything. Sometimes things I’ve created, and other times stories about life that I hope to share with people I care about that I don’t get to see face to face.
Here is a picture of our family last Christmas. Am I the only one who seems to never find pictures of our family with me in them? I vow to do better at this in the future. Or my kids are going to grow up and think I was a fictional creature they made up in their heads.
Our littlest daughter Evie started Kindergarten this year. Since she has a summer birthday, we had to make the decision to either send her as the youngest kid in her class or the oldest.
After much debate, we sent her a few months ago with the confidence that she was ready.
Needless to say, the hardest part about this is the doubt that creeps in my head on the evenings when we hear her little voice retell stories of the daily events that do not go her way.
Last week, she started telling us about a particular boy in her class that keeps calling her names. I think he actually likes her, but soon enough this poor boy has to learn that continually calling a girl “Rat Face” at recess is probably not going to win her over.
Evie was angry and embarrassed at the situation. I wanted to find his address in the school directory and go tie him up by his toes at the nearest tree. She said she was tired of him and the name calling. And who could blame her? After she settled down, I asked her if she thought he was a true friend. She thought about this for a little while and then answered that no, he was not. So I inquired further. “What makes someone a true friend, Evie?”
In her five year old ways she started to say that a true friend was someone who would only say nice things about you. And, she added, that they would save her spot for her in line when she got back.
I smiled at this. Funny how not much changes from kindergarten to adult life.
Without any further prompting, Evie then got out her two little hands and started counting her “true friends” one by one on her sweet, child-like, dimpled fingers. As she was listing off the names, she got to the end of her second hand. She was surprised as she looked down at her hands and yelled, “Mom, I got more true friends than I got fingers to count!!!”
I don’t know about you, but it is really easy for me to be grateful when life seems good. Or when things go my way. When my kids make good grades, no one is throwing up in the household and everyone behaves. It feels easy to smile, write the family Christmas card, and be all full of “thankfuls” as Junie B. Jones would say.
It is another thing entirely for me to try to muster up a serving of gratefulness when life is hard. Or when I am hurting. When I feel stressed, tired, or lonely.
As we enter into the Thanksgiving season, I wonder if at times I am grateful only because I am supposed to be. Do I really notice all that I am given? Am I really honest?
I think sometimes the thing I struggle with most is the very notion that where I am in life sometimes does not match what the holiday season can expect of me. Chances are someone reading this or someone you know is likely going through a really difficult time right now. Perhaps an unraveling of a relationship or a desperate desire to stop feeling so alone. Or you have been waiting so long for the positive sign on a pregnancy test for what seems forever. Or maybe you are finding yourself so exhausted from trying to balance or carry it all, the thought of being grateful seems like one more thing on a never ending to-do list.
I don’t know about you, but my life never seems to look like the Christmas card snapshot or perfect Pottery Barn image I sometimes think or want my life to look like. (Do you know how much editing I had to do in the picture above?) I have to remember it is the people in the photo that matter. It is the lives inside of my home that mean more than any decoration outside or on the walls of it. What my little Evie girl reminded me – by literally counting what she was thankful for on her little fingers – was that maybe it is okay to be thankful even in the mess. Or pain. Or ugliness of someone calling me Rat Face at recess.
I can hit pause any time I allow myself to. I can be honest. And I can choose to see my situation differently. I can think about gratitude and how I am doing with that.
Where ever you find yourself in an increasingly busy season, I hope you find ways to be intentional about finding gratitude. And I really hope that once you start counting, you don’t have enough fingers.