I am Grateful
Life is fleeting. It can toss us down a chaotic path, hurtling us through our days and catapulting us through the weeks. We get caught up in this breakneck speed and forget to take a moment – a simple moment to breathe, to connect, and to just be; and we forget to be grateful for all the little things that bring joy into our everyday life, and to simply celebrate our life. We forget to remember that time goes by, and that everything goes too fast. And so, armed with this insight, here I am taking a moment to be grateful for the many little (and big) things that enrich my life. I thought I would share a select few.
1. I am grateful for my birthday. As I celebrate turning another year older, I am grateful. I am grateful because 21 months ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The diagnosis impacted me on every level of my existence and I was crippled with fear and anxiety. I was scared for my life, and I was determined for my life. I had just turned 40 years old; and I was still in the beginnings of a remarkable new journey of mommyhood. My biggest fear was that my son was going to grow up never really knowing or remembering his mommy, and it was that same fear which drove me to fight with all the determination, energy, and courage I could muster. I was fortunate. My cancer was treatable with surgery and hormone therapy, and so here I am, 21 months later, mommy to my son. Living. Breathing. And grateful for this chance to age; grateful for the crinkles around my eyes, the tiny lines creeping across my forehead, and the random white strand of hair on my head. They are signs of life – of laughter, sadness, and simplicity. For all of this, I am grateful.
2. I am grateful for the sunshine. Just feeling the sun’s radiating warmth grace my face uplifts my spirits and chases most of my dark thoughts away. I feel alive. I feel energized. I feel emboldened. And so I am grateful for the beauty, grace, and healing prowess of the sun.
3. I am grateful for the middle-of-the-night wake-ups, complements of my son. Every parent wishes their child sleeps peacefully through the night. I know that I do. But, on those nights – many, many nights – that my child wakes in fear and confusion and calls out to me, I am grateful. His need for me is an affirmation of the bond we share – a bond built on love, trust, compassion, empathy, and kindness. He knows that he can find comfort and consolation in mommy’s warm embrace; and that my presence brings him peace and calm so that he can return to sleep, is genuinely heartwarming. Of course I am tired, and of course I want nothing more than to sleep uninterrupted each night – but – I am all too aware of how fleeting time is, and I know this moment in time will pass. He will outgrow this fretful stage, and he will sleep through the night and call for me no more. And I will miss it. I will miss his vulnerability. I will miss his innocence. I will miss him.
4. I am grateful for coffee.Yes. I am very, very grateful for coffee, especially lattes. I don’t think I can make it through the day without the ritual of my brewed beverage of choice. The savoury smell of the coffee beans, the melodious sounds of the coffee perking, the rich aroma that perfumes the air… my mug in hand, that deep inhale, that first sip, that first satisfied sigh. It is pure luxury in all its simplicity. Coffee, for me, isn’t about the jolt of caffeine, it’s about the ritual and it’s about the friendships. It gives me warmth and comfort, relaxing me and energizing me; and it grounds me (no pun intended). Coffee also connects me to my friends – the culture of coffee dates and playdates with coffees in hand – sharing stories, sharing moments, sharing laughter, sharing time. So as crazy as it may seem, I truly am grateful for coffee.
5. I am grateful for the written word. Being able to lose myself in a story that is not mine own to tell, is a remarkable vacation from my chaotic life. I am grateful for the written word. I’m grateful for poets, authors, playwrights, and bloggers that carry me away into their visions, their moments, their imaginations, and their personal experiences. And I am grateful that I reside in a country that does not dictate what I may read or what I may write. These stories – these words – influence my own feelings and challenge me both emotionally and intellectually. And because of that, I achieve personal growth. I gain empathy, I gain knowledge, and I rediscover facets of my imagination that perhaps I had forgotten over time. And the written word allows me to express my own personal journey, thoughts, stories, and visions. There is nothing more powerful, and nothing more enriching. For this, I am grateful.
6. I am grateful for music. Music is the soul of life – evoking feelings, memories, wishes, and dreams. It carries me away on its rhythmic wings to places I once travelled, to memories I cherish deep, and to snapshots in time. I am grateful to not only hear, but also feel music. It resonates deeply within, and it moves me. I sing to music. I dance to music. I cry to music. I laugh to music. I could not live life without music. So I am grateful for music.
7. I am grateful for Peppa Pig. Seriously. I am grateful for Peppa Pig. This comical children’s animation provides such joy in my son’s life, and it also gives me a much-needed chuckle. It is cheeky, witty, silly, and rather intelligently written. And let’s be honest, the animation is very sweet and simplistic. Overall, it is a smart piece of art. The world of Peppa Pig captivates my child, and the stories are relatable, entertaining, and funny. Laughter is so important in life, so to witness a cartoon providing such giggles and glee to my son is truly gratifying. For when my son is happy, I too am happy. So yes, as a parent, I am grateful for Peppa Pig.
8. I am grateful for the people who have enriched my life.I may not express often enough how grateful I am for all the people who enrich my life – from those who encourage me, support me, and have taught me to be strong and brave, to those who perhaps have made me feel small, insignificant, and taught me to fear. Each and every person has helped to shape the individual that I am today. They have shared moments in time with me, and because of that they will always remain a part of my life. So for the good, the great, the amazing, to the difficult, the distressing, and the disappointing people, I thank them all.
9. I am grateful for my parents. I am grateful for both my father and my mother, for in my utmost darkest hours they were there, by my side, carrying me, my husband, and my son through the horrific wake of cancer. They were the strong and silent force that held us together. They rallied our families and generated amazing support from within. Their fervour was contagious and the outcome was surreal. Never have I felt so much love, compassion, and support from so many, many people. My parents demonstrated such selflessness and devotion, enduring sleepless nights, endless travelling, and constant worry. Because, no matter how old you are, you will always be your parents’ little girl. Their support throughout my cancer journey, has been steadfast, unrelenting, and unwavering; and the gratitude I hold in my heart can never be eloquently expressed through words.
And so there it is. I have so much more that I am grateful for, but that would require my writing a book – Volumes I, II, and probably III. So, I will leave it with these nine random moments of gratitude. But of all the things I am grateful for? I am grateful for all the love bestowed on me. This life is truly worth celebrating. I am grateful for another year to do just that. xo
I am Grateful. Published by Crystal Joy Hall