I am not quite sure how November is happening already, but it appears that I have awoken to the holiday season after my 4 hours of interrupted sleep – you know, that sleep that includes toddler kicks, 3am nursing sessions, and 6 inches of bed space.
As mothers, we do a lot. (That’s the understatement of the year.) For one reason or another, someone created the hashtag #30DaysOfThanks to share everything they were thankful for DAILY for the entire month of November. And, stupidly, all the mothers took the bait. We ate that crap right up. I mean, who doesn’t like looking perfect on social media? It is the platform we all use to display everything wonderful, everything emotional in our lives. Are we oversharing? Yes. Will our children hate us someday? God, I hope not. (I should have rethought posting all of those baby pictures…)
I really will try to write a #Thankful post each day to social media – if nothing else, it will remind me to say these things out loud. I feel as though some of the things mothers post are felt deeper from the online acquaintances than the in-real-life loved ones. So if nothing else, this is the point of the social media thankful trend for me. I am committed to conversing with my family about everything we are thankful for this year.
All of this said, I am about 99.98% sure that I will forget to post daily – that, and I know my posts will be less than perfectly thought out. I wanted to take the time to come up with 30 great things I am thankful for....
Here are my 2016 #30DaysOfThanks all rolled into one article…
The obvious 5 (That really need no other explanation other than LOVE):
1. My Marriage
2. My Husband
3. My Family
4. Each of My Children
5. Grandparents and Extended Family
The Rest of the List:
6. Our Health
7. Old Friends – Friends that are always a phone call away.
8. New Friends – The ones you know you have a connection with… the ones that you will call “old friends” in the future.
9. My Children’s Friends – I am grateful and thankful for the friendships my children have created. Watching your child grow into an independent person and handle life in all her glory takes your breath away!
10. My Husband’s Friends – Dear Lord, thank you for my husband’s friends who will grab a beer with him and listen to his work issues.
11. The Village – The support that comes with living in an area filled with people who genuinely care about one another – that is something to be grateful for.
12. Forgiveness and Hope – We seem to hurt the ones we love the most, or the ones we appreciate the least, but in all honesty, these are the people who are constants in our lives. Asking for forgiveness -and granting it- is truly a blessing I am thankful for. We are all different, and how boring the world would be if we all viewed it the same. The hope I have for all of our tomorrows will only turn to reality if the forgiveness of today is asked for and received. Together, we can become better.
13. Educating My Children Freely – We have chosen to homeschool, but this thankful item can be related to all education choices. Learning my children and their individual passions, talents, strengths and weaknesses has opened my eyes to the world.
14. Changing Seasons – The leaves are falling as I am typing. Cold air is next. Experiencing the seasons helps me connect to the earth. They remind me that the earth is always moving, and we only have one chance to take in this specific moment.
15. Writing – It is incredibly freeing to write. I have always had a knack at it, and have spent the last 8 years fiddling with it. In the last few years, my words have become my work – with a pregnancy book being published this winter and an amazing career as a content writer for My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear. I am so thankful for my writings – so thankful for everyone who reads these words – it’s emotional to think about. I have the ability to reach tens of thousands of people (or more) with information that helps to educate and inform them… again, I am so thankful.
16. My Husband’s Career – We may move a lot, and he may work ridiculous hours, but his career has brought adventure and (middle-class) luxury to our lives. We live below our means so that we can truly LIVE without too much financial strain. He goes into work before the sun is up, and he arrives home well after the kids are in bed most nights. He is dedicated to providing for us, but also to pursuing his own dreams.
17. Finding a Balance – I struggle with this on a day-to-day basis. There is so much to juggle: marriage, family, work, house, and self – it’s a lot. I was not sleeping much trying to keep all the balls in the air. I took the time to reprioritize and focus on what was important. I let go of certain responsibilities and found a new normal. It’s still not easy, but I am thankful for the balance I have right now.
18. Books – The feel and smell of opening a book excites me. I absolutely love reading (haha – I am a writer…) Sharing the love of reading with my children makes me giddy.
19. Time – Time is fleeting. I am forever grateful for every second I have here. This year, I worked on being present in the moments more, and over the months I have found myself realizing just how much it means to understand time.
20. Research and Technology – I am so thankful that research is literally at our fingertips now. I can pull up studies and make informed decisions, feeling confident in my parenting choices!
21. Road Trips – As #SingleMomDriving took off this summer, I realized just how thankful I am that my children love road trips as much as I do. I pack up four children and hit the road for an entire month – living in hotels and at friends’ homes along the way! These adventures are creating lifelong memories.
22. Our Garden – We picked 20-40 tomatoes per day all summer long. In fact, we are still getting a few here and there because of this warm fall! We had melons, berries, greens, root vegetables, cucumbers, peppers, herbs, and other deliciousness all season! Gardening is a way to connect with the earth and it teaches my children how important it is to take care of our world.
23. Good Food – I am a slave to the kitchen, as we believe it is so important to put the right foods in our bodies. Homecooked meals (thank you freezer meal planning!) keep us healthy, and there’s nothing better than knowing what you are putting into your body.
24. Breastfeeding and Baby Carriers – My body has grown, birthed, and fed 4 babies – 76 months of nursing so far. I am so thankful that I can do this! And also, how does a mother stay sane without babywearing? An amazing sling, wrap, or ergo is what gets me through each day!
25. House Cleaning Services – no explanation needed.
26. Bedtimes – Most nights I feel as though I am entering an alligator wrestling contest with my almost 3-year-old. It can be exhausting. Hell – my husband can’t seem to make it through a bedtime without falling asleep himself. I know I can’t be the only one who feels victorious once the tiny eyes close! In all seriousness, bedtime kisses, books, and late night questions about the world just fill me with happiness.
27. Wine – Children or no children, wine is wonderful. Spending time walking through a vineyard and learning about the process of creating wine is something I highly recommend. At this stage of life (4 children, a tirelessly working husband, and a writing career), I am truly grateful for my largely poured glass of wine after the kids are in bed.
28. Smart Phones – I can record, snap a photo, and edit it all within moments – and then send it to whomever I want with the swipe of a finger. Gone are the days when a third child has no baby pictures!
29. Social Media – As much as a love/hate relationship we all have with social media; it connects us to one another and allows relationships to continue without much effort. My children’s baby books can be found in albums on Facebook and Instagram; their great-grandparents can see daily pictures and know what’s going on in our lives. Social media makes uprooting and moving your family a tad bit easier because the relationships can remain strong due to a daily check-in. I believe in face-to-face time and telephone calls as often as possible, but in the craziness of life, I am thankful for social media.
30. The Future – I do not want to take the future for granted, as it is never a guarantee, but it is a beautiful thing to dream about: Imaging the children grown and exploring the world, enjoying a glass of wine together as we laugh and love together. I am forever thankful for this future, and I am grateful for every day of it I am granted.