A friend and I were out the other day and she told me of her new task. Every time she felt angry towards something, she was going to try to overlook it and instead find something she is thankful for. (It is important to note that she had just had a crack in her windshield fixed.)
As we drove, she became angry with the driver in front of us. “What are you thankful for?!” I quickly asked.
She paused and replied, “Well. I am thankful for this new windshield SO I CAN CLEARLY SEE HOW TERRIBLE THIS PERSON IS DRIVING!”
It’s working well. Honestly though, she is the best. Another blessing in my life, actually, and an inspiration.
When I first began writing this last post before the big race, it was all about how I am so stressed out with everything coming together all at once. But as I wrote, I realized how silly it all sounded. Everything I was stressing about were things I brought on myself- and all of them incredibly lucky things to be stressing about. I should be doing it all the time, but November is especially the season to count my blessings.
1. I stressed about work. I won’t pretend the four days I work are stressful. I get to play with elderly people all day long. But I also make the calendar and if any month is busy, it is December. I’m off a lot the end of this month, so making December quickly with quality activities made me a little hyper.
Why I’m thankful for it: Not only do I have a job (and a kickass side of bacon), I have a rewarding job that I love coming to every day. Sure there are days when I think staying home with my kids would be awesome- but if there is any job to compliment a working Mom (or any boss who works with one like mine), I have it. I shouldn’t take that for granted.
2. I stressed about this race. The time training, planning and packing for Philadelphia, and the money spent. It all dawned on me on Monday that I had to get my ass ready to actually GO to Philadelphia- not just run the race. I have to pack myself and two kids- and remind my husband to try to pack more than ten minutes before we leave.
Why I’m thankful for it: I am healthy and I am able to run. My family and I get to go on a little end of year getaway and see a new city. Packing a bag and choosing a marathon outfit are small dice.
3. I stressed about Charlotte’s birthday. In the midst of all of this is my December baby. I had to take her pictures, find a pavilion, and send invitations. I’m planning a little Charlotte’s Web party for her- 4 days before Christmas.
Why I’m thankful for it: I am celebrating one year of life of a person I created. Seriously, how can I find something negative in that? I don’t have to plan this party- I want to. She deserves it. And it’s a bonus day to see family and friends.
4. I stressed about The Holidays. Ahh, the holidays are stressful for everyone. We have to buy presents, go to tons of parties, find time for everyone, cook food, etc. A weekend in Philly takes time and money away from these plans.
Why I’m thankful for them: Because I get to celebrate holidays with my huge, beautiful family. I get to spend another Thanksgiving with my Grandma, another Christmas with my kids- my mom, sister, aunts, uncles, cousins. I had to ground myself and remember that is what this is all about.
When Braxton was a baby (because there are also so many others buying him gifts), I had decided to subscribe to a 4 gift rule. Something he wants, something he needs, something educational, and something special from us (usually an event or show). And it has worked. But now that he is older, I see how hard this is going to be to stick to. As a parent, I’ve learned, it isn’t that we want to over-indulge our kids with gifts. At this young age, there is literally nothing better than watching that little face light up with pure joy on Christmas morning. They are still so innocent. You could give me anything in the world and it would not compare to being able to give my kids that feeling. I think I’ll always stick to this four gift rule, but maybe add in a couple of extras from Santa. And as they grow, I will hope I will be able to instill in them being grateful for their own blessings.
Every time you find yourself angry/stressed/unhappy about something, think about it. Is it something you can change? If not, can you change the way you think about it? Negative thoughts give us nothing but headaches. This season especially, stop stressing! Be thankful for everything, take nothing for granted, and remember the best things in life are not things.
Tomorrow morning I’m off to Philadelphia to see the sights and Sunday I will run this marathon. I’ll see you on the other side! If I forget to say it, I wish everyone the best holidays with your own beautiful families!!