It's time for me to remind myself of all the great things I have, and to focus on that for a while.
I have an amazing husband. He isn't perfect, no one is, but he is perfect for me. He gets my quirks, he makes me laugh, he handles my explosive emotional outbursts with little anger or frustration. He tries very hard to understand my limitations and not to throw them in my face, or make me feel bad for them. He's a great father to our children. He changes diapers, a lot! He plays with the kids constantly, whether its giving them piggy back rides, or stacking blocks with Charlie. He tries very hard to provide for us, which allows me to be a stay at home mom, and he tries to give us the things we WANT in addition to the things we NEED. I could go on for days, but the point is... I am very lucky. After 8 years together I am still very much in love.
I have amazing kids. They play well together, they are smart, thoughtful and polite. Oh so well behaved for the most part. We get complimented nearly every time we go out on how well they walk with us, sit still, have table manners, ect. You can see the waitress and manager at a restaurant cringe when we walk in, and after a while they come over and compliment us and tell us how strange it is to see well behaved kids. This is such a boost to our parenting. We, like all parents, have doubts that we are raising children who will ADD to society, and times like that is validation that we are. I don't think we are strict, but we are strict when it comes to behaviour and manners. Our kids walk single file out of a restaurant with their hands "Cupped" (folded, so they don't touch anything). Sounds extreme, but with a large amount of kids you need to have them organized when walking. Anyway, they are loving, brilliant, smart, and just amazing little things. And they are alive. Reading stories of babies who weren't as lucky was the inspiration for this blog. I have never had to experience the loss of a child. A miscarriage, yes, and that was painful enough. I can't imagine....
I have a home, its not ours, but we still have a place to live (thank you military!). We have plenty of food on the table, great health insurance that allows us to get the care we need at no out of pocket cost. We are able to donate, every year, money, items, and time to those who are less fortunate.
One thing I struggle to be grateful for is my health. It's very easy to throw myself a pity party. Tonight we went to see the traveling Broadway show of "Wicked". I teared up more than a few times and not because the show was sad, but because I miss the theater so much. I didn't realize how much I missed it. Theater was my life before I met Chris. I lived, breathed, and ate theater. I was supposed to go to College and major in acting. I got into an acting program that only accepts 25 students a year. I was planning on making a career out of acting. Then I met Chris and I knew my place in the world was with him. I figured I'd still do local theater but then we got pregnant. I figured that once we were done having kids I'd do it again. And then I was diagnosed with EDS. I limp when I walk, my arms randomly stop working, my elbow is permanently bent and doesn't work anymore. There is no way I could be on stage again. My body has ruined that dream of mine. I've had to alter other dreams in the past because of one thing or another but this has been the hardest for me to swallow. I love the theater! I love the thrill of being on stage, the audience reaction, just for a moment being someone else. I love the family unity you get with the other cast and stage members. There is such a rush and such a sense of belonging that isn't matched elsewhere. And thats over for me.
So I do struggle with remaining grateful that my health is what it is. I try to remind myself that it could be worse. I could be in a wheelchair instead of limping. I could have no arms instead of arms that work some of the time. I could have something fatal that makes it so I won't see my babies grow up. There are plenty of reasons to be grateful for my health, I just need to remind myself of them.
And of course, no gratitude post would be complete without a shout out to my friends.
Sandra is one of those rare people you meet that you automatically feel a connection with. We've been friends nearly 6 years. We have never had a fight, we've never been secretly jealous of each other, or unhappy for the other one. We drifted apart a few years back because of a horrible other person, but once that was cleared up it was as if no time had past. She has one of the rare distinctions of being labeled one of my best friends. I don't let too many people get close to me. She is definitely one of the few.
Laura is a friendship that I am so grateful still exists and is so strong even over many miles of separation. Same horrible person nearly destroyed that friendship, but in the end made it a million times stronger. Laura is pure "Christian". Her life revolves around her relationship with her God. Some may think this hinders our friendship as my religion does not share the same God. It doesn't. We are both strong in our faiths, and respectful of the others. I can have lengthy conversations with her about religion and neither of feels offended or preached at or as if we have to defend ourselves. Her and her husband are the Guardians in lieu of our brood. We made this decision years ago and every interaction with them solidifies our decision.
And Elaine...oh Elaine. Elaine is my sister from another Mister. She is seriously my other half. We only met a few months ago but we are definitely Kindred Spirits. Sandra introduced us (another point for Sandra!) and we hit it off immediately as if we've known each other forever. She is absolutely amazing. There are a few things we differ on, such as religion (she is Christian and I am not), she is more relaxed on her position of circing while I am not, ect. She's my liberal, crunchy friend. Love her! She is one I know I'll be sitting in our old lady rockers still chatting non stop.
I have many more amazing friends I'm grateful for - these three have just been there a lot of me recently, and on my mind. I am very lucky to have friends scattered all over the country so I'm never very far from someone.
This upcoming week while on vacation I am going to try to start each day with gratitude on my mind and keep it as we spend some much needed family time together.
**This is a blog hop!