Saturday, January 03, 2009

Gratitude... the socially acceptable 'tude

It ain't Thanksgiving, but I'm going to go ahead and be thankful today for some of the wonderful people and things in my life. I know it's already been established that I'm awesome, but that has to come from somewhere, right? I am blessed. Even in great heartache, there is beauty and there are things to appreciate. I've been moved to tears over the break more times than I should or could count. Here are some of the good ones from this Christmas, enumerated in no particular order. So don't go getting all panties-in-a-bunch-y if the order is not to your liking. I love you all. The end.

1. Caleb. That's right, Caleb. I am thankful for Caleb this Christmas. Little forehead-bashing, LCD TV-smashing nephew, CJ with that giant grin. Last week we went to the Train Museum with Lis and my mom and the boys and Caleb could not have been more excited. It reminded me that when Henry was 2, the whole train thing began. Something is just so pure and touching about seeing a kid in a situation where you know that this is IT for them--I mean the be-all-and-end-all--and that at that moment nothing could be better. It felt the same when Addie met the princesses at Disneyland the first time. Caleb made me wish that more adults were able to immerse themselves completely in that kind of happiness, if only for an afternoon. What is that bliss, for me?

2. Henry's sense of humor. Henry is on the verge--he's a boy about to become a man... okay, not really. But he's in a transformational phase where he gets the jokes around him and he's trying to jump in where he can. Probably the things that send me into hysterics are only funny to a mom, but it's not just the joke, it's the effort. Last night E was here and Ad was showing him her new Wii Princess game. It opened in this forest scene that looked like her old Winnie the Pooh game, so I said "Ad, where's Pooh Bear?" and E said "Yeah, where's Robin Hood?" and Henry looked at us and said "Yeah, Ay-ad, where's Thomas?" See, that's not really funny but he gets that humor is the currency of family conversation, and he's taking little steps. I love it. Plus the other night he put his arm around me and said "Mom, you're my girl."

3. My dear, sensitive, brilliant little Addie Roo. Ad is not how I thought she'd be, based on her first several years of wanting to be the center of attention and talking to everyone in the room. Hard to say if it comes from recent difficult events or a predisposition to be shy in school (yeah, that one's mine) but she has become so quiet and occasionally the world is too much for her. I am thankful though, because along with her shyness comes an acute sense of other peoples' feelings, fairness, sharing, and love. She's obsessed with animals right now, and she somehow went from learning letters last year in kindergarten to reading anything and everything she gets her hands on. I am in awe, and I claim no responsibility. The help I could offer ran out a long time ago. Teachers work miracles at the Elementary school level. Ad is proof.

4. Family at Christmas. No muss, no fuss. You're here, I'm here, let's just enjoy the day. Mom and Dad also saw that Santa visited at their house and left me a little something because they knew he might skip me this year.

5. Old friends. Not chronologically, though one could admit my friendships tend to span quite a range. Old friendships that I let go and have regained. There's a blessing that comes from someone who knows your history. Many of these friends have been reminding me who I was before I stopped trying to be about anything. Old friendships hold a mirror up that helps you to see the value you had in the first place. And as I write this, I'm glad for my "old(er)" friends too. New friendships with people at all stages of life have also been good to me and helped me to think about the choices I have left and what lies ahead of me. It's all good stuff.

6. People who have no obligation to do so, but care about me anyway. This list is long. Christmas cards from Aunties who will miss me at Christmas, E's cousins posting on my Facebook account, April and Linda treating exactly as before--and in fact caring about me quite generously, Carlos almost killing himself to get my lights up in the rain, Kitty taking me to the movies so I don't sit in my house and fade away into nothing, The whole Martinez family making me feel welcome (always) when I have nowhere to go and for not letting me be home alone on Christmas, and my bestie for making me a blanket full of love so I'd have a hug even when I was home by myself.

Life is hard, but there is so much goodness in it.

Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;
let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof.
Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein:
then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice. ~Psalm 96: 11-12
That's what we need, more gratitude from trees!

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