“Noooo!” tears and screams erupt from my very opinionated two-year-old daughter.
“I want the PINK butterfly one!!!!!”
I chuckle to myself, “What you meant to say was THANK YOU!” Confused she looks up at me.
In full on Maui-style, “YOU’RE WELCOME!” I proudly exclaim.
You see, it appears lately I have become the sarcastic Mom. So what do I do next to the ungrateful toddler? I swagger over to my phone and promptly put on the song, You’re Welcome, as I proceed to change the lyrics while dancing to explain to my tot why she should just be super grateful for my “incorrect” choice of milk-filled sippy cup. I mean, I get it. She’s two. In her eyes I have delivered some form of severe injustice, and this is her way of communicating said injustice. But child puhlease… “You’re welcome!”
The thing is… lately I am embarrassed to say, I have been acting a bit like a two-year-old. I don’t really know how I got here, let’s all just blame severe sleep deprivation for now, but I have forgotten to be deeply grateful. Instead, I find myself complaining, often feeling sorry for myself, and just all around starting to become a bit more of a pessimist than I am comfortable with.
Well it’s that time of year again when we remember gratitude. Do we need a time of year for this? Apparently I do because I feel like the lessons of Thanksgiving priors just never quite hold for the entire year, and here I am right back where I started in the need of some serious self reflection and improvement. But of course we shouldn’t need a time of year. We know this. Gratitude is something we can—and should, practice Every. Single. Day.
Sometimes, like my toddler, I feel the world has dealt me an injustice… such as a baby that WON’T sleep. And like my toddler, sometimes I am screaming to myself (and others) about something REALLY trivial. In fact, not only is what I am often upset about minute, but woven in the complaint there is actually a gift I am forgetting to acknowledge and pay credence to.
So here it goes. My personal list of complaints I should ACTUALLY be REALLY grateful for.
- Thank you, baby boy for feeling safe enough to express to me that you are teething all night long. I am filled with gratitude that this tops your definition of pain.
- Thank you, husband for not taking out the trash the other night, and for playing with our children instead.
- Thank you, daughter tot for learning all these emotions and making our home (and me) your brave place for trying on all these colors of assertion styles. I am soooo (insert touch of sarcasm here—I had to) thankful to always know your exact feelings on any given occurrence.
- Thank you that I always have SOMETHING to eat, even when I claim there is “no food in the house.” There has NEVER not been food in our home.
- Thank you for the home I can’t seem to organize—I have a home and things to organize! And let’s be real… probably about time I stop hoarding THINGS and give them to people who actually are in NEED.
- Thank you for my crazy barking dog that wakes the family every single night.
- Thank you for my physical body’s capabilities and the strength provided by my thunder thighs—a body I have complained of so much over the years and treated with significant disregard.
- Thank you for parents that are sooooo involved in my life. The opinions and persistent help has driven me crazy since the beginning of my time, but who am I complain about loved ones who just love too much.
- Thank you for my overactive anxious mind. It keeps me on my toes, and I enjoy the constant mental stimulation it drives me to.
- Lastly, thank you for my family, who I love with every cell and fiber of my being. I have never been more tired in my life, or have had so much at stake, and I am beyond filled with gratitude for this beautiful emotional investment.
Now with all that said, there are people out there, maybe you, who ARE really struggling right now, and maybe this isn’t your season to easily feel gratitude. Maybe you are enduring a tragedy and fighting demons much more significant and serious than my piled up laundry and dark circles. For you friends, neighbors, and strangers, I am going to be as grateful as possible so that I am better able to care and serve you.
For others… So you had a bad day. Things didn’t go your way, and maybe it wasn’t the cup you wanted. The milk is delicious and nourishing. Drink it up. And please remember to say thank you because the universe is over here just staring at you going “YOU’RE WELCOME!”