Wednesday, August 6, 2014

#Gratitude Moments

At 11:11 I wish there were not so many dead babies in the news. Sometimes it seems that thoughts are all we have, it makes sense to put them to good use. 

I'm maybe calling quits on my #100gratitudemoments posts. 

Seriously, you're thinking, does she think we really care

But I am trying, in imperfect ways, to teach my almost 5 year old what it means to finish what you start. Or explain yourself. 

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about anatomy & physiology. I've been drinking a lot of coffee. I know it's not the best thing for me, and I have this addictive little personality. But it's so wonderful. 

Gratitude. Mindfulness. Mental health. Hashtags. 

I breathe in pushing my belly over the keyboard as I type. My cat is clawing my skirt. We were away for 6 days and she's glad we're back. 

My chest is tight. #noticethebody

We went to Martha's Vineyard. My husband's family, 18 of us, a reunion of sorts, with lemonade and nieces and nephews and sisters that are mine but not really mine, from New Jersey and California. I could tell you I'm grateful for all of this, family, vacation, children. And that would be true. 

For 6 days I exhaled, mostly.*

There were other adults and other children and this big huge lawn.  There was an activities calendar. Aside from yoga, we didn’t use much of the activities calendar but I’m pretty positive we would never be staying somewhere with an activities calendar, let alone on Martha's Vineyard, if it were not for my husband's mom and step-dad. My in laws. 

I have two father-in-laws. Like I have two fathers.

When my parents divorced, I was close to the age of my smallest son. When my husband's parents got divorced, he was a little older than my bigger son. 

The sum of these things is heavy. 
Recently Ben asked some questions about death and whether my stepfather was someone that my mother married after my father died. In reality, my father is Grampie and we've talked about some kids having two daddies or two mommies. 


Anyhow, I recently had reason to tell my almost 5 year old that some moms and dads don't live together. He didn't say too much more after that. Neither did I. 

As an aside, the president will be on Martha's Vineyard next week. My husband’s step-dad and I feel somewhat differently about some things, so we didn't talk about this. But there was one moment where we were talking about anxiety (mine) and worry (mine) and my wishing my husband seemed more anxious, I guess, on edge. Well we weren't exactly talking about that but sort of, and he told me to relax and at first my skin crawled. I think he saw my tears. Words sometimes feel in ways they are not meant to feel.

But I realized I'm quite grateful for the people in my life that tell me to relax, though it is sometimes hard to hear. And I know that's sometimes hard to be around. #sorrymom

My quest to post #100moments of gratitude indeed helped me take some time each day to focus on something I am thankful for. Here's my deal: I love this exercise. I love reading the posts of others and I love participating, but truth is, you have to do what works for you. For me, I (yes, seriously) sometimes feel stressed to think: "YES. Thank you so much for that. YES, type words about this now. Go on Facebook! Go on Twitter! Go!" 

I've never done this before, bringing my thoughts back to my breathing while also typing. 

I don't write about my marriage ever, but in the toughest of moments, I remember the snow angel he made on my front lawn after our first date. 

Bringing thoughts back to my breath.   

I could tell you I am grateful he and I met, three or four times over a period of a few years, one of them when he picked me up hitchhiking.

If you think about it, you'll realize you hold your breath a lot.

Looking back, I was lucky in lots of ways. 

In very tough moments, I'm grateful my mother pushed me, that not being educated was never an option. (Is that a double negative?) 

Recognizing what you have, what you've earned and what you continue to work for also means acknowledging what others don’t have and what you have been given along the way. My parents were divorced, but my childhood was fine. I grew up in a middle class family in a suburban town. I didn't always know what I was working for and there were times where I wish I worked harder. 

Blessings is a tough word for me. I do believe in the power of manifestation but really, I believe in working hard and being nice.   

Sill, in the tough moments I am grateful to know we have a safety net that so many don't have. In the toughest of moments, I have to think about what we have that others don't. 
See: cycle.

I often wonder about alternatives and I wish so many. Words feel so small but beyond thoughts, words are what I have.

My chest seems to open with each breath. 

I struggle with how to teach my almost 5 year old about gratitude. When I tell him I love him as I leave his room at night, he sometimes doesn't say it back. #thingsIdon'tpostonfacebook #thisisnormalright? #howcouldI

He yelled at me the other day to not sing Let it Go in the way that I was singing Let it Go. These are things I don't post on Facebook because I feel scared and vulnerable. 

When he says mama I love you while I'm just driving the car, I sink into my smile. #thingsIdon'tpostonfacebook #deadbabiesinthenews #iwishthatmotherhoodwereanoptionforeveryone

I do not feel completely sure about how to raise my kids and that makes me feel scared and vulnerable. 

I think that perhaps one or two of the people saying relax has a point

It is easier to fill up the belly than it is to fill the chest.

I have to help my children recognize a cycle of privilege, and this is stuff I don't post on Facebook because a) scared and vulnerable b) it makes me sad to think that lots of people might laugh at this statement. #weallwanttofitin 

My husband doesn't have it easy around here but I'm grateful that we work to fit in with each other. 

The other night, our last night with this family that was once much smaller, I had a bit of a crying session. Ridiculous, right? Leaving the pool attendant and path to the beach -- the one we wished we used more but, rain. Who complains about a rainy day on Martha's Vineyard? Me, sortof, while trying to communicate gratitude on Facebook. 

Do you ever feel hopelessly misunderstood and yet at the same time, desperate to explain?

Anyway, while I was crying in my room, my niece popped into the space left by the sliding glass door, barely closed during our stay. She asked what was wrong.

"Oh I’m fine," I told her.

She told me where all of the adults were and where all of the kids were and asked why I was crying. I told her, finally, in this way that seemed to flow as if rehearsed for a child, that I sometimes just get sad. That no matter how happy I am, I just sometimes am a little sad, and I can't explain it. Also, that when I spend a lot of time with a lot of people this just sometimes happens. And that even wonderful things can just be so overwhelming. 

She seemed to get it. I was grateful for her hug, and for the chance to tell her that it's amazing what you can learn about your own body over time, even if you don’t become a physical therapist, and that even though I'm your aunt we can talk about stuff any time you need to. <3 

*Did I mention the small man-made pond in the middle of the lawn and the early morning dream I had about my 2 year old?

Exhale and release what you cannot take into tomorrow.  

I'm grateful that I sometimes know when I start to ramble. 

Anyway, I love hanging out with you on the internet and I'm not sure if you'll realize I didn't reach an official #100gratitudemoments. I just may get there. But if by chance you are counting, I guess I just wanted to say, I might not be as explicit, but I’m thankful. And I realize I have a lot to be thankful for.

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