On Gratitude…

I’m tired.  I’m hungry.  There’s nothing to eat in this house.  It’s freezing in here.  Is it 5:00 yet?  The people in NYC are too mean, too slow, constantly in my way!  My commute sucked this morning.  This is the quiet car!  The baby was a handful today.  The baby got me sick again.  I’m exhausted!…….

These are all common refrains in my life.  I am a complainer by nature.  I always have been.  But when all is said and done, looking at my life, I am acutely aware of that fact that I am extraordinarily lucky.  I have so much to be thankful for, although I sometimes let life’s frustrations get in the way of appreciating it all.  These days, when too many people go without, I think it’s vitally important to stop and look around once in a while, and appreciate the things we have.

I am extremely lucky.  Not only do I have a job, but a job that I actually love!  How many people are without work these days, without a paycheck to support their families?  I get to do work everyday that actually supports a cause near and dear to my heart.  How lucky am I?

I have food to eat every day.  Never has there been a time in my life when I was hungry because I could not afford to buy food.  I have food to feed my child.  As I struggled to produce enough milk to sustain him after going back to work, I was lucky enough to be able to afford a  high-quality, organic formula to help him grow healthy and strong.  I tried to remind myself of that every time I felt inadequate for not being able to produce enough for him.

My family and I have clothes to keep us warm.  We have friends and family who have given us tons of hand-me-downs for our son, and we try to pay it forward whenever we can.

When it comes down to it, we do not go without.  We have a roof over our heads, heat to keep us warm, and a car to get us to work (or a monthly train pass in my case).

More importantly, I have a family, both immediate and extended, that is there for me whenever I need them.  I have a network of friends that cannot be rivaled.  They have been there for me through thick and thin, as I have been for them.

I have the love and support of an incredible, thoughtful, and healthy husband.  I saw a video online the other day made by a husband for his wife’s birthday.  Her birthday came two weeks after her husband died of cancer.  The video was touching, but all I kept thinking was that I wished he had spoken, rather than holding up signs with words on them, so that she could hear his voice whenever she wanted to.  I hugged my husband a little tighter that night.

Like many of us, I have friends or acquaintances who have had to deal with the unthinkable…a terminal (or potentially terminal) illness of a child.  I am so overcome with emotion at the mere thought of this that I have to shut down the thoughts immediately when they enter my mind.  I am so very blessed to have a healthy, vibrant child, and I do not take it for granted for a single second.  I am afraid to even write those words for fear that it may change without warning.

I have always loved the expression “My cup runneth over.”  It could not be more true.  As an effort to give voice to my gratitude for all that I have in life, I will be making a $25 donation to a different charity each month this year.  It’s not much, but to those receiving assistance from the charities, it could mean the world.

Take a look around.  What do you have to be thankful for, and what are you doing to express your gratitude?

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