Introducing…The Gratitude Stash

Here’s where I collect my morsels of gratitude to save for when I’m feeling blue.

It’s not at all hard to find negative viewpoints on the state of humanity. Despite that and my own facility with visiting the darker side of my own imagination, I am an optimist. Call it gut instinct, but I think that we are making slow and steady progress, individually and collectively. And I think that the confines of the human mind make it difficult for us to realize that. Because we each can only see our little sphere of reality, and nearly everybody’s reality has a set of challenges. Operating on the assumption that I can store away special moments of gratitude to call upon when I’m feeling lower than I’d like, I’m going to share some recent happenings in my own life that have given me pause for a sense of gratitude. It occurred to me today that gratitude is self perpetuating: I realized that I was grateful for these moments and then I realized that I was grateful for experiencing gratitude, and then I realized that I was grateful to have something positive to write about since I’ve been having some spells of low morale lately. So, thank goodness for gratitude!

I have always thought that once my kid(s) were old enough to be operating out in the world that I would be sensitive about yelling them instructions or corrections so that other people could hear our exchange. Somewhere in my imagination it seems to me that a person would be more receptive to constructive criticism delivered privately. So I always figured that if my kid was doing something that seemed best not to do, I would discreetly draw him aside and let him know my feelings in a voice that only he could hear. These days I don’t go to the playground too often, maybe 1 ½ hours a week, but I have never seen anybody do what I’ve just described…until last week. I don’t know the mom or the kids, I may never see them again. But I really appreciated how she handled herself when her older child spit on her younger child. Her actions prove the point that what we do has a big impact and I admire her for acting with care and what I observed as respect for her son. Way to go mama!

Sometimes my little boy will not go to sleep unless I put him in the car. Which then leaves me to figure out what to do while I’m driving around. I try to plan cross-town-to-the-only-branch-with-a-drive-through-window-bank-deposits and longer errands around nap time. But sometimes the car lulls my man of action to sleep when I’m making quick stops and I don’t have the flexibility in my schedule to extend the length of my errands so that he can sleep un-interrupted. This happened recently when I was going to pick up our weekly order from Three Stone Hearth (who I love, by the way!). There was a spot available on the street right in front of the door and I had the idea that I could just pop my head in and ask if anybody would keep an eye on the babe in the car seat so that I could leave him to slumber peacefully. There was a mom there, traveling solo, and she was happy to do us the favor. I was so appreciative of her giving us 7 or so minutes of her time! It made my pick up so much easier, allowed my baby to sleep, and best of all gave me a sense of camaraderie with a fellow mama on the go.

I’ve always loved waking up on my birthday and Christmas day because they are special days of celebration in my family. The fact that we celebrate birthdays and Christmas the way we do allows me to conjure up a magical feeling of excitement when I first open my eyes on those two special days of the year. While becoming a mom has ushered in a multitude of blessings for me, one of my favorites is that now I have two more days in a year that are now set within a magical framework: the anniversary of my son’s birth and mother’s day. Now these two days are eternally special to me, my son’s birthday for obvious reasons and mother’s day because it’s sort of like a bonus birthday for moms. As I write this, I realize that our wedding anniversary could easily make it into the cannon of very special days in our family. But so far, my husband and I have done a poor job of celebrating our anniversary on account of coincidental sickness and heavy workloads, hopefully we’ll make some improvements in that department in future years. And while I’m at it, his birthday and father’s day could also get onto the list. I think that will be even more likely to happen as our son gets older and learns to participate in our familial celebrations. So, we’re looking at seven specially magical days a year. That’s five extra days that my dear little one has given to me. What a lovely treat for mama!

One of our caregivers for our young lad recently had her little girl. We are so proud of her and very happy to know that she and baby are doing well! I was eager to bring her and her family food and to introduce to two little ones to each other, just as eager as she was to get a dose of our toddling man. So we headed over to their place with a quick stop to the market to pick up some provisions. Given my full schedule and lack of help, I was supplementing the home-cooked meals with some store-bought items. Corn bread, which is usually plentiful in the prepared foods department was on the list, but alas, I didn’t see any. My inquiry led me on a while goose chase around the store. Not only was my kid disinclined to ride in the cart, he was rather squirrelly (Adele, please forgive the adjective) and I was consequently short on patience. By the time we’d finally confirmed that they were completely out – for I really wanted that corn bread – I was at the end of my rope and it seemed to me that we’d talked to just about every body in the store. In spite of my frazzled and strained demeanor, every person who we encountered kept me in countenance with their kindness. I was duly impressed. Here’s to the employees of Berkeley Whole Foods Market taking care of mamas shopping with babes in tow!

So it would seem that in spite of the challenges that I encounter in my days, I also have many opportunities to be grateful, and as I’ve already pointed out: the more I keep my attention on those morsels, the fuller my basket seems to get. So, here’s to always remembering my daily dose of gratitude!


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