22 June, 2009

Remembering to be Thankful

In my family, discussion is an art.  It is something that is fine tuned  over years.  Sometimes I think it is just part of the natural make-up of members of my family.  It is in the genes; it is in the blood.    My daughter received this “trait” from both sides of her family, and she is just now letting this side of her personality show. 

“I told you that on Thursday.”

“Sweetie, I don’t think you did.”

“I know I did.  You just weren’t paying attention.  (because I never pay attention)

“Thursday was a very rough day.  Remember?  I was talking to the ballet teacher and then we didn’t talk much on the way home as you knew I was upset.”

“Yes, but…”

“And maybe you thought about telling me and showing me but given that I was upset, you decided that I might need to have some space.  You would show me later.?”

“I know I told you!”

“Is it possible that you didn’t?”

Usually, at this point, I would have let it drop.  Although she is learning to argue, she has not learned to remove her emotions – thus fine tuning the art of discussion.  This time, I didn’t let it go.  I pointed out how I know she didn’t tell me and that it is okay to not remember something and it is okay that she didn’t tell me.  At that time and in that place, I felt exhausted.  Of late, it seems that I am wrong more than I am not even when I am not.  The fault rests on my shoulders, whether that is just or not. 

That was a Saturday afternoon.  I would like to say that the weekend improved, but it didn’t.  Negativity poured from my 9 year old about 75% of the time. 

By Sunday evening, I felt at my wit’s end.  “You know what we are going to do.  We are going to take a few minutes a night to write at least 5 things that we are thankful for from that day.  We need to find the good and focus upon that over all this negativity.”

My idea was, of course, greeted with less than enthusiasm until I pulled out notebooks and pens. 

Until I dug into a drawer and found the gratitude journal that I kept for a few months before and after her conception.  We opened the book, together, at random and found a wonderful entry from 14 June 1999. 

During mid June of that year, I was nearly the 12th week of my pregnancy.  I felt, without doubt, that the baby I carried was a girl.  By mid June, she had already picked her name, family and friends had been told of her future arrival, and I had come to terms with my pending move to the Midwest and her dad’s choices.  I remember spending time considering each day and the simple beauty of the time.  There was sadness as well, but so much life yet to experience.  (Regardless of everything emotionally felt about the situation, I loved being pregnant and I loved my daughter from the get go)

I remember taking the time each day to write.  Sometimes they were complete sentences and other times, it was just a list.  The entry we read started with  a few sentences…

14 June 1999

Today I am thankful for the life and the love growing within me.

I am thankful for {her dad} – for the wonderfulness that is him.


Delight filled my daughter’s eyes after reading these lines.  She took her pen and paper and went to work.  

I would like to say that negative thinking is no longer a part of our lives, but that is not the case.  We each have our moments, some lasting longer than others.  We also realize that there is much for which we are thankful – sometimes those things change daily while other times they remain the same.  

Most of the time it goes without saying, we are thankful for having one another… and sometimes we each make a point of saying it.  

Today, like 14 June of 1999, I am thankful for my daughter.  The person she is inspires me to be a better person myself.  She reminds me daily to have patience and to love.  Similarly, I am thankful for her dad.  Despite the distance that grows between us, with him I share an amazing child and through him I am reminded of the varying ways of giving unconditionally.  


dadshouse said...

That's a great turn. Gratitude is a wonderful thing. I'd worry if 75% of my kid's weekend was spent spewing negativity though. Seems something may be troubling her deeply.

The Exception said...

DH - She is going through a lot and that weekend it was more evident than others. She is a lot better now - still not perfect, but we are getting there. Time, forgiveness, and compassion.