An Attitude of Gratitude

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It is hard to believe that December has arrived.  With it comes so much joy and love, as well as, marking the end of a very trying year.  As November, the month of gratitude, came to a close yesterday, I sat and reflected on all the things that I was truly grateful for this year.  I know that was supposed to happen on Thanksgiving, but as 2020 has reminded us time and time again, not everything goes as planned.  I could sit here and tell you about everything that went wrong this year, but I am choosing to see the good that has come from it.  It forced me to slow down which is something that I needed more than anything else.  It allowed my body, mind, and spirit to heal and recharge after years of nonstop insanity.  I cannot even begin to explain how necessary that was for me.  I hate to imagine what would have happened if I had continued life down that crazy path.  I feel certain that my body or my brain would have eventually given out completely.  This year has also helped me realize that all that “extra” that was contributing to my stress isn’t really necessary.  We are doing just fine (and even better) without it all. I am so thankful for time to recharge. 

Another thing this year has given me is so many opportunities to actually have real conversations with my kids.  Much of my youngest daughter’s life has been combative with me.  Her younger years were very trying, and she and I have been like oil and water.  Prior to the last year or so, all we did was yell at each other because she did everything she could to push all my buttons until I had no choice but to lose it. To say it was a rough few years with her is an understatement! Now we have real, intellectual conversations that amaze me at her intuitiveness and that have shown me how much she has grown and matured.  She really is a neat kid.  Don’t get me wrong, she still knows how to push my buttons, but I have learned to remain calm (most of the time) and give her space.  It has made such a huge difference.  I don’t think any of that would have occurred had I still been living the crazy, hectic, stress-filled life.  I am so thankful for time to bond in ways we never have before.

When it comes to my oldest daughter, I am really getting to know who she is as a person. Our mother/daughter bond that the two of us have always had has strengthened this year because we finally have the time to just talk. She was always at practice and very rarely home so there was only time for superficial or necessary conversations. Now we talk about anything and everything because she has all the time in the world.  This year brought about a LOT of change for her.  She made the decision to leave the sport that has consumed her life for 15 years. She started a whole new sport that she had no clue in the world about, and I have seen her blossom through it.  Her confidence has returned, and I see a light in her eyes that has been dim for the past few years.  She also got her driver’s license and gained some independence which has brought about a little maturity that I thought we may never see in her.  She still has a long way to go in the maturity department, but I am hopeful that she may actually be able to survive when she leaves home for college in another year.  I am thankful for time to connect and grow. 

Finally, this year has definitely strengthened my marriage.  I don’t think that my husband and I have spent as much time together in the entire 20 years that we have been married as we have this year.  He has always either been deployed or we have been running every which way with the kids and everything else life throws at us. I think we have both been on our own personal growth and discovery this year, which has allowed us to also rediscover what we love about each other.  We’ve come to appreciate each other more, and I think we have made it a point to really try to meet either other’s needs. I have never seen him more relaxed and chill than I have this year, and I think he would probably say the same about me.  Less stress and chaos lead to less arguments and more time spent just enjoying each other’s company.  We actually have had time to simply “hang out” with each other, and it has been great.   I am thankful for time to love and be loved. 

I am thankful for all that I have received from this strange, insane year, but I am thankful most of all for TIME. It is such a precious thing and something we often take for granted. If this year has taught me anything is is to take time for myself, time for the ones I love, and time to enjoy life. We have such little time on this earth and we shouldn’t waste it. I have seen so many say that they are glad that the end of 2020 is near or can’t wait for this year to be over, but I have to admit that I will be a little sad for it to end.  My prayer for all of you is that you choose to look at 2020 as the year that things slowed down and families came together. Make the choice to look for the good in it all and be thankful. Have an attitude of gratitude instead of one of negativity.  Yes, it was hard for all of us (some more than others), but don’t let the hard days be your focus. Choose to appreciate the little things and be thankful for all you have been given this year alone. I promise it will make this Christmas season so much brighter and will set you up for the start of 2021 with the right mindset.

Anchored in Gratitude,

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