Do you have a gratitude journal?
I don't, although I've always thought it was a great idea. Even though I don't write down five things every day, I do frequently take an inventory of things in my life for which I am grateful.
I am extremely grateful that even though our triplets were born almost 2.5-months prematurely, at three-years-old, they are the picture of good health. They are happy, energetic and incredibly bright. When they are talking back to me, or climbing a bookshelf to reach fragile ceramics that I have perched high, I often stop myself before I get angry and give my thanks to God that they are not only alive, but that they can climb and aren't confined to wheelchairs and that they can talk back and aren't impaired with severe mental handicaps.
It is so easy to take for granted our health and the health of our children. The lengths that we took to get our babies in to our lives and home from the hospital is so often forgotten with the bustle of life and their sometimes less than desirable three-year-old behavior.
Yet once again, I was painfully reminded just how fortunate we are when this past weekend, I read the blog of a woman I met several years ago on an infertility parenting website. Patrice gave birth in October to boy/girl twins that were born 14 weeks prematurely, at 26 weeks gestation.
Her baby boy died three weeks later.
Her baby girl died this past Friday.
I am extremely grateful for my husband. He listens to me and genuinely wants to be a part of our children's lives. He has stalled his career to stay home and help raise our family, together, and he would happily pack up and move anywhere or anytime with me ... in the pursuit of adventure.
I am extremely grateful for my little baby, Henry. Whenever I can feel my buttons start to get crushed, I can almost always look down at his absolutely angelic face and see him smile, and everything ... I mean everything ... is immediately put in to perspective.
I am extremely grateful that the neighbor that lives behind us works for Subway and once a week she will bring me a trash bag full of left over sandwich rolls. Whenever we receive a bag full of bread, we take it down and spend an entire morning, or afternoon, feeding the ducks that live on a nearby lake.
I am extremely grateful that our gymnastics instructor recently asked if I thought it would be helpful to me, if she opened her gymnastics center up every Friday morning for two hours, so that the kids would have a place to come and have "free" play.
I am extremely grateful for my fellow triplet moms that I get together with once a week for play dates and for the strong friendships I am forging with each of these awesome women.
I am extremely grateful for all the people - except the one who thinks I'm a raving lunatic - that left me messages of support in response to my last post. And because of the occasional odd-ball remark I receive, I am extremely grateful for comment moderation.
I am extremely grateful for the 50+ e-mails that I received in addition to the over 100 comments (several of which were not posted because the commenter specifically asked that I not) and the telephone calls that poured in from friends and family around the globe.
I am extremely grateful that even though Christmas is over, Trader Joe's is still stocking peppermint Joe-Joe's. My mood has improved dramatically ever since I came to that realization this past week.
What else has helped me tremendously is constantly reminding myself, during the crunch times, that it's alright for the baby to cry for a few minutes while I'm trying to get a meal ready, or for the dog to bark before I have a free moment to give her a scoop of kibble. After careful evaluation, I have determined that those are two primary factors that set my blood pressure soaring.
Once I realized that, I have made strides to live intentionally and focus on one thing at a time.
It's really no wonder that the most stressful times of my day are breakfast, lunch and dinner. When I need to change diapers, feed children, prepare meals and clean up from meals and either get the children up for the day, down for a nap or down for the night.
All the hours in between, I do just fine.
I am working hard to take each moment as it comes and trying just as hard to not worry about what is coming next. Or next. Or next. Because this has to happen and then this, and then I can do this, and this. Don't forget about this. Or this.
So I am grateful for my renewed ability to take one moment at a time.
And I am grateful for Peppermint Joe-Joe's.
In case I didn't mention that already.