sharing my life experiences, reflections and insights as a mother, a writer, an Occupational Therapist and and a spiritual being having a human experience

Posts tagged ‘thankful’

Holiday Gratitude

I started November with a goal to blog daily.  I published 14 posts.  Not bad for someone who came down with Bronchitis/Pneumonia during that time!

Here it is December 21, and this is my second post for the month.

I can be grateful that I have felt much better this month and so have been busy working, doing laundry and cooking, taking care of my children, Christmas shopping and living.

Here is my December Gratitude list:

My friends who created a grateful photo group– a small private group where we share photos of things we are grateful for and have fun conversations about our posts.  This is now my favorite part of Facebook and I enjoy it so much better than all the random posts on my wall, too many of which are negative.

This lap top which my wonderful husband got from his wonderful friend who has assisted us with computers over the years and shared business with my husband.

My wonderful family who managed without me for almost a month while I was in my room, coughing and watching Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix because I had no energy to do anything else.

My extended family, especially my siblings,my mom and my oldest son who have been pulling pictures together to prepare a surprise video for my father who turns 70 next month.  Don’t worry, he isn’t on Facebook or email or the computer hardly at all, except when he has to for his work which is part-time for him now.

Looking forward to a week at my parent’s house on the lake with my sister, her husband, their dogs, and my brother and his kids.  Our kids have so much fun together and there is nothing better than watching my kids enjoy time with their cousins.  And they are all old enough (just about) where I can sit back and relax for the most part.  -we’ll see how my almost 3-year-old does as he will want to be included in all the older kids do.

My husband.  There aren’t words for my gratitude to him.  I am very grateful that he is here with us this holiday because he came very close to leaving this world back in May and I really can’t imagine life without him.  He went to all 36 session of cardiac rehab and is doing so well continuing his exercise at the YMCA- so proud of him- and so inspired by him and how he is improving his life!  He is an amazing man and father and my best friend.  I need to tell him that more.

Simplicity.

Our experiences back in May, really showed me the beauty of simplicity in life.  Then I got sick and learned to appreciate my breathing and again it was a reminder to slow down and keep it simple!  There is really no reason to rush around like the Tasmanian devil and I am working to keep it simple in my life and to remember there really is no reason to hurry 99.9% of the time!

It is all perfect.

Even when it looks like it is not.  Somehow, it is all perfect, all in divine order.

Life experiences that help me realize the above even if it takes time to see the divine order.  And even when I still don’t see the divine order in the experience.

Quiet time to myself-  I am blessed to have a supportive husband who knows that I need time alone away from the house for my sanity, for my health and he has helped me make this happen nearly every week of the year.

Blogging and WordPress I have been journaling since I was 10 with notebooks and paper and finally began this blog, just over a year ago.   I love being able to take my lap top and write and publish my blog and then share it on Facebook.  Sharing what I write has been a new adventure for me and a BIG step out of my comfort zone.  It has been a wonderful experience despite my fears!

Reflecting- I have come to see how essential it is for me to write.  It helps me tune into myself, to reflect and make sense out of my life.  It calms the chatter in my head, the fears and most of all it allows me to be more of who I truly am.  It is so healing for me that I knew I needed to get out today to write despite also needing to prepare food and start packing for our upcoming trip.  Writing is as important to my physical health as what I eat and exercise.

All my virtual friends–  Finding other blogs and other people through WordPress and Facebook.  It is an introvert’s dream to have access to so many people in such a non threatening way!

Facebook and Friends-  Being able to reconnect with old friends as well as new with my computer and more often, my Black Berry.  As a busy mom of 3, sometimes it is my only connection to friends and other adults, something I need!

My Black Berry-  I got it just after my youngest child was born.  Thank God I did! I was able to keep up with the homeschool world and my children’s friends because our world is by email and now Facebook!  It survived being dropped in water with baby bottom balm lotion as well as many drops on the floor.  It acts up and currently won’t allow me to type i, k or m most of the time. Yet, it serves me and allows me to spend less time on my lap top and so more time with my children.

My three wonderful children- Despite my frustrations with them, I am grateful for their strong personalities and sense of who they are.  They have taught me far more than I could possibly teach them.  I love seeing the world through their eyes and witnessing their life and growth and being a part of their lives.  They all have strong passions,  feel deeply and have an amazing zest for life.  I can’t imagine life any other way than alongside the three of them.  They often seem so different from I was as a child, yet, I do see myself in them often and also know they are their own person- each one of them.  I have learned to enjoy where they are more and more over the years. This is a good reminder to me to enjoy 14-year-old Harrison, 9-year-old Abby, and almost 3-year-old Jason.  For, too soon, they will be older,  grown up and no longer living with me.

 

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Stream of Consciousness Gratitude

I am grateful for the month of November.

Fall is here and we can bundle up with coats and lately even gloves and scarves. Fall is an energy-saving month as we have our lowest electric bills in the fall.     It is wonderful to snuggle up in the covers at night to keep warm.   Children sleeping in my bed also keep me warm and put a smile on my face.     I love watching my children sleep.     They are so quiet when they are sleeping, well most of the time.     I do have kids who are known to talk and even crawl and walk in their sleep.       I love how much energy my children have.      I love my children’s enthusiasm for life.     I am grateful for my toddler who finds joy in the simplest things– like putting on underwear and using the potty.     I am grateful for my daughter and watching her pursue her love of animals and her excitement when she talks about dog stories.     I am grateful to my son Harrison for being my first-born and for allowing me to “figure out” parenting with him.      I am grateful for Harrison’s enjoyment of theater and being able to enjoy his experiences in plays, something I always wished I had done.     I am grateful for all that I have in common with my children and for all the ways we are different.     I am grateful for being a parent x 3. 

Words can’t possibly describe….

I am grateful for our dog, Olive.

Olive came to live in our home one year ago.  She was our neighbor’s dog and I remember when I first met her, she was a small, adorable puppy.   A few years later, Olive became my daughter’s best friend.  Abby would go to visit Olive and we would take her for walks together and sometimes Abby would just bring Olive to our yard to play.

And then Olive became our magic angel who helped my daughter out of her fear and rage that went along with the severe anxiety that began to overtake my daughter’s  life when she was 8 years old.  We would sometimes bring Olive into Abby’s bedroom when she awoke in a rage.  Like magic, seeing Olive could help her calm down and begin to move out of  fear and be able to engage in life, to eat a meal or stop her aggressive behavior.

And so when our neighbors told us they were moving in a few weeks and the house they were renting did not allow all three of their dogs and asked us if we wanted to have Olive, what else could we have said?  Sure, my husband and I thought about it and discussed it privately for a few days.  We were already considering getting our daughter a dog in the future, possibly in a few months.

So Olive came to live in our home, first temporarily but knowing it could be permanent.

Olive more than tolerated our exuberant and energetic youngest child, Jason who was not yet 2 when she came to live with us.  We watched the two of them very closely in the beginning and had some couch “resource guarding behavior” to deal with initially but Olive otherwise had nothing but kisses and love for our toddler.  I am sure it helped that he gave her treats whenever he could get a hold of them and often as many treats as he could give her.

I am even more grateful for my daughter, Abby, thanking me for Olive. 

I am happy to say that one year later, and much time and effort helping my daughter with her anxiety disordrer (OCD), she spontaneously thanked me for her dog, Olive.  It is exciting to see her running up to Olive and saying “I love my puppy!”

Abby, gave me a Thank You card the other day. She thanked me for giving her:  life, love, giving to her, our cat, Peanut and Olive.  It was one of those miraculous moments of motherhood that you cherish forever.  One that erases hours, days and years of challenges.  For my daughter, it was also a monumental point for her given her experiences over the past year or so.  An expression of her new ability to write and express herself on her own and an amazing turning point in her life with severe anxiety- a sign of the “real Abby” the beautiful soul who is without fear and is pure love and joy. A reminder to the rest of us as to who she really is.

Today Abby asked me, “Why is Olive always already outside when I wake up?”

I resisted the urge to say, ‘Because you wake up so late and often don’t get out of bed until 9:30 or later’.  Instead, I saw her need and interest in spending time with her dog (something to be celebrated!)  in the morning and told her that I could bring Olive inside for her.  And I joyfully, brought Olive back in the house.

I realize that there are not words to describe or  fully express the magnificence of these small but huge leaps for my daughter.  She has always loved Olive and continued to when Olive came to live with us.  Yet, within days of Olive moving into our home, Olive became part of my daughter’s anxiety disorder.  She could not touch Olive for some time, maybe with her arm or the back of her hand and then later only if she had washed her hands for a certain length of time (read: a very long time).  She quickly grew unable to feed Olive- she couldn’t touch the container that held her food, and for some time, she couldn’t hold her leash.

At the beginning of this year, my sister, an animal love, dog behaviorist and kindred spirit with my daughter,   began coming to visit monthly, and spend time with Abby and Olive.  With those visits combined with Abby and Olive  taking a local dog training class, we have seen  improvements with my daughter being able to do more with Olive and improvements with her anxiety.   I used to have to bring Olive to Abby when she was in a “stuck place” and I would say, “Her’s your dog, Abby.  Olive loves you no matter what.”

Take all that I have described and multiply it in your mind by 1000 and now you have a glimmer of understanding of her life over the past year.

Abby may have a long way to go with her anxiety and maybe a lifetime of managing OCD, yet, to see her enjoying her dog brings us hope.  We want our children to be happy. When a child has had an experience of pure hell;  an experience that takes away her childhood  innocence , as her parent, you just want to take it all away and make it all better.    As much as I have wanted to take away her pain,  I have always known that I can’t do that.   It is her life to live and my job is to love her  and provide support and encouragement for her.  I can comfort her, but I can not take away the ‘bad’stuff, nor can I always make it better.

So to hear Abby thank me for her dog and to see her joyfully and spontaneously run  up to Olive and hug her and spend time with her is truly an amazing and beautiful sight to behold.  Our daughter is coming back.  She is showing wonderful moments of her true self, without the fear and anxiety and it fills my heart with joy and gratitude.