Sunday, November 22, 2015

Month of Gratitude, Week 3: Little Things

I’ve been trying to come up with a focal point for this week’s post about gratitude, but the only I can really think of is being thankful for being alive and appreciating the little things right now.

My heart is very heavy after the attacks in Paris, my body is exhausted from a string of appointments, and I’m still in throes of grief. One of my best friends just lost her mother this week as well, and I’ve known her family for 20 years. I’m just trying to take a step back and feel some gratitude that despite the physical and emotional wounds we have all acquired, we survived them, and in that survival there is solidarity—a collective spirit that life must press on.

I was so weepy this week that I’ve reached new levels of absurdity. I was watching that video of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dancing to “Uptown Funk” that’s been circulating everywhere and I started crying a few seconds in. I dare anyone to watch it and find a reason to cry. I at least had a good laugh about the absurdity of it. 

Even though my body wasn’t able to exercise much this week, I still went for my daily walk almost every day. It’s been a bit warm this week but I’m loving the hazy autumn days. I'm always grateful each day when I am able to get outside just for a few minutes. On bedridden days, I dream of taking my short walk.

One of the trees next to my house has gone full autumn
It’s supposed to get colder next week and dip under freezing temperatures. That doesn’t happen much in these parts because we live in varying stages of living at the center of the sun most of the time, so I’m very much looking forward to that cold. I love the cold. I prefer the cold.

Thanksgiving is next week and it’s going to be a really rough one. I’d say Thanksgiving and Halloween are my favorite holidays and my mom and I always watched the Thanksgiving Day Parade and the dog show that follows together. I’m not sure I’ll watch it this year, but if I do the sight of the inflatable Snoopy or Minions floating down the parade route will leave me in tears. I'll be laughing at the same time.

The rest of the year is going to be packed with gatherings, including my husband’s birthday. He is having a birthday party for the first time in years and I’m very much looking forward to it. His birthday is at the beginning of December and when I was teaching or in grad school that was always the busiest time of year for me so his birthday celebrations have been unfortunately minimal in the past. I hope we can make up for it this year. Our four year old nephew’s birthday is the day before my husband’s so I kept telling him he should have a dinosaur –themed co-birthday party. Maybe next year.

Then we’ll have our annual NYE gathering at my parent’s house and since my step-father is moving out of state, this will be the last one there. I’m terribly sad about all of it but I’m trying to remind myself to enjoy these moments since everything has changed and will continue to change.
That’s the strange thing about life. You think that everything will just somehow continue as it has been. That the march of time will somehow leave the details of life, the simple things we take for granted, untouched. But that’s not how it works.

I’ve been re-learning Christmas music to play at the assisted care facility where my mom was, and it’s been probably a decade since I’ve learned more than just a few songs this time of year. It’s given me a reason to practice with purpose and I’ve been playing every day.  I’m very much looking forward to playing music for them and sharing some joy. They are a great audience and deserve some joy.

I even sang an entire verse of a song this week, which is an improvement over what I have been able to do. I hope that’s a sign I can someday make it through an entire song.

This is what I save my spoons for

I hope you also had some little things that made you feel gratitude this week. We could all use some joy in whatever form we can find. 

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