Working On My Thankful Heart
It’s that time of the year again… The Holidays.
Friends, family, togetherness, and, undeniably -- stress.
Why is it that the “most wonderful time of the year” can sometimes bring out the worst in us?
I try to teach my kids to have a grateful heart. I ooh and aah over their hand turkeys and marvel at what they’re thankful for, only to turn around and curse the wifi for being spotty and fuss at my husband for putting my already-snug jeans in the dryer.
...why do I do this!?
We all experience hard things. We have seasons where the ground beneath us shakes, and we don’t know if we can keep holding on. But one of my greatest takeaways from seasons of turbulence with so many unknowns is this: we are so, so fortunate. That searching for the positive in any difficult situation is always worthwhile. After all, isn’t this a trait that I want to model for my children?
What if I spent my time being actively thankful, rather than complaining?
When the kids are screaming -- I’m thankful for children. I’m so thankful to be their mom. I know that not one single day is promised. I’m thankful that they love each other enough to sing Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer together for the 17th time at the top of their lungs.
When the laundry is piling up -- I’m thankful for clothes. I’m thankful for a freaking washing machine (I also think back to my grandmother and, like, how did she function without this!?)
When the kids track mud inside -- I’m thankful for the rain. I’m thankful for a safe backyard to play in. I’m thankful for my home.
When my husband is working late -- I’m thankful for his steady job. That his work helps provide for our family. That I can look forward to his coming home. That I don’t have to do this parenting thing alone.
The news is bleak. Natural disasters, man-made devastation -- people losing their homes and their loved ones -- are at the forefront of each broadcast.
Why in the world am I complaining about which brand of marshmallows my husband bought?
I don’t mean to minimize our struggles. Everyone has stressors and handles them differently. But truly -- what if we flipped the script? What if we looked for a small praise in even the darkest of circumstances?
I want my children to remember a mom who always searched for the good. Who, yeah, ran around like a chicken with her head cut off when Thanksgiving rolled around, but didn’t let a casserole drive her to an early grave.
Thankfulness is a trait I want to cultivate in my children, and it starts with me. How can I ask them to appreciate their toys, when I sometimes struggle to appreciate my own blessings?
So, the next time I’m panicked about something that will not matter in five years’ time, I’ll do my best to remember the things that will. Our health. Our family. The love and chaos we share.
I don’t know about you, but those are the things I’m most thankful for.