(The following is a contributed post written for the Pregnancy Help Center:)
I sit at my desk, working from home as I hear my daughters in the distant living room. They’re bickering over tv channels and baby dolls, yelling (demanding) more snacks from our full pantry. How ungrateful it sounds to me as I find myself in frustration. They barely even said “thank you” when I cooked them their fresh breakfast of eggs from our abundant fridge.
As I receive a report of praise at work, from the job that I am able to do to provide for this family… I head out to warm my car. The one with a full gas tank and four wheels and two car seats that will take my children to their school buildings where they are greeted with love and knowledge and the promise of a future.
We gather our belongings and scurry out the door; I’m shushing the children to stop fussing as they gather their hats and coats and boots and gloves – all that will keep them warm from their nose down to their toes. I remind them to grab their lunches from the cold fridge that will fill their bellies mid-day.
We do our normal routine of drop-off’s, hugs and kisses and warm-arms around the necks as we try not to be late another day this week. I fuss about leaving the house a mess- the same house that is warm and hosts comfortable beds and couches with a shower to clean our bodies and a sink to brush our teeth and wash our hands as often as we could possibly need.
Arriving home that evening, the children bicker over the same toys or the same books, the ones that feed their imaginations and teach their little hands and minds the importance of play. I cook a warm meal over a flickering stove and remember the people living near us that are not as fortunate as we are.
We fill our hearts around the table with the best memories from our day. What did we do? Where did we go? Who did we serve? How did we laugh? What did we accomplish this day? We laugh and giggle and remind each other to chew slowly the food that has been entrusted to us for the nourishing of our bodies -but also- in-turn nourishes our souls with this gift of togetherness.
I remind the children to gather their plates as I tidy the kitchen filled with the dishes and leftovers that will serve us again tomorrow.
Exhausted, I wrangle the children into a hot shower, rinse their long hair with soap and wash their little bodies as they exit into warm, clean pajamas- the product of our hand-me down washer and dryer.
I chase them into their little pink twin beds and snuggle their necks. I nestle their noses and add an extra blanket to their beds. The winter air is becoming colder outside- and in. I turn down the lights as we say our prayers and remember (not -nearly -enough) the things we are thankful for this very day.
And as I say goodnight, as I think of all the moments and gifts that have been entrusted to me from the moment our bodies lay to sleep. As their little bodies bounce from the bed with wide-eyes every morning, I pause. I reflect on the things I tell myself daily that I want, I need, and really? I have it all. Right here in front of me.
So with a thankful heart this day, I will pause my thought process. I will sit and reflect on the gifts that don’t come wrapped in pretty packages but instead come in the form of provision. From the job that provides for my family, to the quaint little home that keep us warm, and clean, and full. To the clothes that cover us and the car that takes us to and fro. To the schools just down the road that teach my children…and when I consider each of these blessings? My heart could not be more full of gratitude and happiness.
And now? As we enter into the very busy season of “want” let us remember to take the moments ahead to pause, to self-reflect, and practice thankfulness for the gifts that surround us every, single, day.
After all, with Christmas pressuring us all around, and on the other side of Thanksgiving, it’s ok to recognize and remember these words of truth:
“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. Maybe Christmas, he thought…doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps…means a little bit more!”
What are you thankful for today and every day?
“It’s not happiness that brings us gratitude. It’s gratitude that brings us happiness.” — Anonymous