it's easy to have a grateful heart when, in those rare moments, everything is going smoothly, like the other day when our whole family was awake uncharacteristically early for church and I had time to get the girls in the bathtub while I sipped coffee and gently rubbed my baby bump and Greyson and Brandon played basketball in the kids' room. my heart whispered out, 'how lucky to be in this warm house while the outside is so cold with my three kids all perfectly content and all of us under this one roof and in no hurry right at this moment.'
sometimes a reminder to be grateful comes in the tiny hands reaching for mine, and the 'you're the best mom ever! thank you for letting me use the glue!' shouts of glee, the full on tackle hug I still get at the bus stop at afternoon pickup, and the welcome home kiss from my husband. No matter what the day has brought, these little sparks of pure love stop my heart in its tracks for a moment to recognize, 'this is your perfect.'
often times, i have to dislodge it from my throat and try to choke the gratitude down in the difficult moments that make up a mother's day raising very young kids. the messes that are twice the size of their bodies (we're raising creative and imaginative humans), the mealtime whining (we are lucky to not know what it means to really be hungry), the bedtime negotiations (they still need and want me around), the keys that are missing because he doesn't put them back where they go (we said for better or worse and he gets his fair share of my worst).
i try my best to extend a grateful heart to all the conveniences that we have and so many do not. i whisper to myself in moments that feel frustrating, 'first world problems, tab.' and i remember to take a grateful breath. so, i flip on the spigot and send a thank you for immediate clean water. i send a thank you out to the 'hide' button on facebook when my newsfeed becomes particularly disheartening. i thank the electricity for my nuked coffee for the third time today, for the food in the deep freezer, for the internet and the connections that it gives me to people i don't get to see everyday (or ever!), for laundry baskets of clothes that, alas, need folded but are in fact clean. my gratitude for certain luxuries i used to take for granted before becoming a mum that now are almost extolled in a ludicrous amount like an uninterrupted hot shower, and clean bed sheets, forgotten chocolate discovered on a difficult afternoon.
i try to look at the people that surround me and my family with a full and grateful heart. there are people who love us despite all of our flaws and frustrating habits. people who answer our calls in the midnight hour of need. those who show up, no questions when we are celebrating and when we are mourning. we have people in our lives who bring practical help and a hand extended. strangers that show up at just the right moment and offer help or advice just as we realize we need it. people who give us nothing more than patience as we learn and grow and figure our way through this life.
and i extend my grateful heart to myself when its difficult to be a part of a world in which it feels like so many other people are ungrateful or at the very least, unaware of the opportunities in which to be grateful. i am in charge of me, i am in charge of my own reactions and emotions. despite all else, i can find a way to go on with a grateful heart in this small little area that i occupy in the great big space and time of history.
when i'm feeling particularly gloomy or in a rut, i know that the first step to feeling right again is to dig deep in gratitude. to take stock of this one, precious, beautiful life as it is right in this moment and I can put one foot in front of the other; feeling lighter and more joyful with each step.