Sunday, December 20, 2009

gratitude list

I've been reading Katrina Kenison's follow up to Mitten Strings for God which I read when Leslie was in preschool. While Mitten Strings was written as a guide to living a simple life with children, her latest memoir, the gift of an ordinary day, is about how to move into middle age with grace and thought. How to navigate the turbulent waters of life with teenagers as they prepare to go out into the world on their own. How to discover who you might be when you are no longer defined by your role as mother. While Leslie still has a few more years here with us before she goes off into the world, I found this book to be so right for this particular time in my life.

In gift, Kenison writes a gratitude list, as she embraces "the muddy magnificence of now" and realizes her old habit of longing for the future has no place in the world she inhabits as a 40-something year old woman. In the past few years I've been making an effort to take the time to be still and be thankful and really live in each and every moment NOW. So much of my past was spent wondering about what might happen in the future. What career path might I go down? Would I be able to get pregnant? Would I be able to have more than one child? Would my marriage be strong enough to survive the tests it was put to? What next? Now, I don't spend too much time wondering about what will be. It's enough to be happy in this moment. Thankful for the the many blessings in my life. Ignore the imperfections and embrace them along with the moments of true bliss.

And so, with a nod to Katrina Kenison, here is my gratitude list for today:

My daughter choosing to sit in the room with me (instead of in her room) while we both type on our computers, the lovely coolness of the day, the companionable silence of our house.

A day with friends, Bret feeling enough like his old self to cook for them, laughter, quiet conversation, company.

Leslie's room filled with art and music and fashion and laughter, a teenager who still wants to be with us and talk to us and let us into her world.

A job that lets me be creative and allows me to sing and dance and paint and do all sorts of things that I might not do if I didn't have ten little people to teach about the world they live in, a job that lets me be home with Leslie in the afternoon, the realization that my days of nurturing her are drawing to a close in the not to distant future and how that makes them sweeter still.

A cup of tea, Leslie asking me to please bring her the last piece of peach bread.

My parents stopping by with an impromptu pizza, throwing together salad, making 3 ingredient cookies, playing dominoes after dinner just like when I was a little kid eating Sunday dinner at my granny's house.

Our life today, right now, just as it is, with all of it's imperfections and joys and ups and downs. Because it is ours.

Thank you Katrina Kenison for a lovely read.

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