Thanksgiving is pretty much here, and while we all dream of stuffing our faces with delicious turkey and all the fixings, we also remember that it’s a day of giving thanks. It’s easy to give thanks on this one day, designated specifically for it, but much tougher to feel thankful on a daily basis. It’s also easy to give thanks for all the big stuff that we normally take for granted: our family, our friends, food, shelter, good health. But here’s the hard part: giving thanks for the gripes.
When I was pregnant, I was more mindful of appreciating the little things that I think most women would complain about. For example, every morning when I woke up with extreme nausea, I pumped my fists in glee because it was an indication that I was still pregnant. Or when I was 38 weeks along, I didn’t mind that my belly looked big enough to carry twins, or that my feet looked like blown up gloves instead of feet. I was in no rush to give birth because I had a baby moving around in there, and I enjoyed being able to feel him growing inside me (I most enjoyed the hiccups!). I felt so lucky to be able to experience all of that, especially after having miscarried previously. All of the discomfort was temporary, and meant that my life was changing for the better.
As a mother, sometimes I get so caught up in life now that I don’t have that same mindfulness that I did when I was pregnant. There’s so much more to have to think about and do when your kid is outside in the world rather than safely nestled in your belly. There’s taking care of a tiny human (who now has a mind of his own!), and work, and household chores, and getting dinner ready, and squeezing in some “me” time. Sometimes it’s so overwhelming and I end up exhausted, annoyed, and not in an entirely grateful mood.
Except, when I think about it all (and I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently), a lot of the stuff I get annoyed by and complain about, are things I should really be grateful for. Thus I present to you:
5 “Annoying” Things I’m Thankful For
1. Being tired.
I wake up at 530 am almost every morning, and essentially am non stop doing something until well into the night. If I’m lucky, I can get in bed by midnight. Coffee is a good friend to me in the mornings, and I practically fall into bed when it’s time to go to sleep. I maybe grumble about being tired at least once every day. BUT. I wake up at 530 am every weekday morning because I go to a 630 am fitness class. I get to take that time for myself to exercise with my friends while husband takes care of getting Bash ready for school. This time to myself is a luxury and it keeps me sane! I’ll take exhaustion over insanity any day.
2. Having too many things to do.
A few months ago, I got a goal calendar to keep better track of my seemingly never ending to-do list. Sometimes (a lot of times), this list can seem so daunting, and I get frustrated to have so much stuff on my list with not enough time to get everything done. But after some thought, a lot of the things on my list are things I love to do, or are things that I do for people I care about. I’m so thankful that I have a life like mine where I can do all these things I like to do (like work out with friends and learn ukulele), and people I love who appreciate the things I do for them (like do laundry or make dinner or bake cookies).
3. Gaining and losing the same 5 lbs.
For the last 6 months or so, I’ve gained and lost the same 5lbs. It’s been a never ending cycle, likely due to my love/hate relationship with sugar and carbs. And yet, I’ve forgotten to be kind to myself. This body gained 70 lbs while pregnant (and only 8 of those were the baby), and then it birthed this beautiful baby boy. It then walked, and jogged, and squatted, and lunged and pushed several times a week every week for the last 3 years and lost almost 80lbs since giving birth. To fret over 5lbs is ridiculous. It’s a blip in the grand scheme of things, especially after all the amazing things my body has accomplished.
4. Bash calling out in the middle of the night.
Most nights, Bash is so tired from school that he knocks out pretty instantly. But some nights, he will stay up way past his bedtime, beckoning for us to come to him. As Bash grows, so does his imagination. In the dark, alone, after we’ve read bedtime stories and sung songs, sometimes, his mind seems to imagine all sorts of things to scare him. And so, he calls out to us. A lot. “Mom! Dad! I need you!!” “Mommy! Will you do your work really fast and then come in and hold my hand?” These are phrases that repeat a few times over the course of the night, and sometimes I get frustrated and lose patience. But then I remember that this kid needs us. He loves us so much, and having us with him is his greatest comfort. Imagine being the one thing in the entire world that can make a person feel better. This won’t last forever, but while it does, it is amazing.
5. Bash’s forgetfulness.
My kid normally has an amazing memory. As in, he’s remembered the code to the iPad after having just shown him once. He remembers when people do nice things for him, or give him gifts. He even remembers a lot of the sign language they teach him in school. He’s like a sponge. Which is why it can be so exasperating when he forgets the things we tell him. Like he’ll forget that we told him not to do something, and then he will continue to do it. Or he’ll forget that we asked him to do something (like clean up his toys) because he got caught up in doing something else. I am a little embarrassed to admit that while I don’t like to, I sometimes I lose my temper and scold him for forgetting what I’ve told him, because then I have to constantly repeat things (which I hate!). But the thing is, this type of forgetfulness is one of his greatest strengths, and something I am actually really grateful for, because despite his excellent memory, he very quickly forgets those times I’ve put him in time out, or when I’ve scolded him. A simple “I’m sorry for getting mad,” elicits a quick, “that’s okay!” with a kiss and a hug, and then he’s off to play! That he never remembers to hold a grudge is something I’m truly thankful for, and a quality I hope he continues to have as he grows.
It can be so easy for me to find something to complain about, but going forward, I want to spend more time being more appreciative of the life I have. I know that I am truly lucky with a wonderful family, good friends, and a comfortable life, but I also want to cherish even the less obvious stuff that may not seem so awesome.
What gripes can you think of to be thankful for? Sound off in the comments below!