Life gets in the way of gratitude sometimes. Sad but true. But for this one solid weekend in October I feel like it courses through my veins and oozes out of every pore. What I am thankful for right now is...
I am immensely grateful that my father was the kind of guy that would drop everything and do whatever was needed to help a friend or family member. I was explaining this to Meg this morning and it went like this.
Me - "Grandpa was the kind of man that loved to help and give. Because of this.."
Meg - "He made a lot of friends."
Me - "Yes, Meg. He was loved. And more than that, Meg, now..."
Meg - "People want to help Nanny."
Me - "Yes, baby. That's karma. And it works best because when he helped people it was never with the intention of getting anything in return. It was just done with love in his heart."
And now with love in their hearts many people are creating a matrix of support that is making it possible for my mom to continue to live in the place they called home together for almost 40 years.
As parents we are given the incredible gift of seeing life through the eyes of our children. When I really connect with my girls it's as if I am able to plug directly in to the joy, excitement, anticipation, grief, frustration, wonder and intensity of their experience in that moment. I find it most profound when they learn something new or finally achieve something they have been working towards. The sense of accomplishment actually feels like a physical swelling of the chest. And an even more surprising experience I had not anticipated before I was a parent is that I get to relive my childhood. Sharing my own experiences with Meg and remembering things long forgotten as I watch Meg go through them herself. Yesterday we approached the railway crossing less than a mile from my childhood home and the signal began to flash. We pulled up to a stop just as the train was approaching. Meg suggest we wave. I opened the windows and we enthusiatically waved as the engine slowly rolled past. To our incredible delight his window was also wide open and his nonchalant wave back had us grinning like fools and cheering at our success. Having lived my entire childhood
just down the road I had been stopped at that crossing thousands of times and waved at every engine and kaboose that went past. Always excited when the wave was returned. I wonder when I stopped waving. Ah, another great thing about youth is the chance to be uncool and foolish again.
At the same time that I delight in the spirit of youth, I also savour the comfort of my age. With that age comes wisdom, confidence and acceptance. Peace. Less inner turmoil, more clarity. You know, maybe youth and maturity are more akin than I thought. In one stage I was layering on my psyche-protecting veils, until perhaps one day it all just got too heavy, too clouded. And then as I matured I labouriously shed one layer at a time in a search for my authentic self. With each layer peeled away becoming more raw and feeling more alive. I'm grateful that this means it will only get better.
What does that mean? Friends that have become my soul sisters. Neighbours that shovel my walk and mow my lawn. Dozens of mothers to my children. The walking school bus we are a part of everday. The children my daughter calls friends. The facebook friends that laugh at and respond to my status updates. The people that read and comment on my blog. Even the guy at the hardware store that gives you that extra piece of advice. The woven fabric of my life is intertwined with the lives of all these people by the threads of our encounters. It's a colourful tapestry.
Where does one even end? Like I said, gratitude oozing from every pore. I'm thankful for my husband's love. My big girl's imagination. My baby's sweet, milky breath. My extended family (all of them, even the slightly crazy ones). Chocolate buttons and wine. Warm autumn light. Good health. The roof over my head and food in my fridge. Air travel, email, and long distance telephone plans. My iPhone. Kids that occasionally go to bed early and sleep in late. Knowing I am surrounded by people that really love me.
Clearly I need to do this more often. Perhaps then my list would be more manageable... Nah, not likely. My life is pretty sweet. Here's proof...