I always tell my daughter I am grateful to be her mother.
Over and over and over again.
And, I always tell her it was to my extreme joy she was born the week of Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, ever. I would gladly give up every single other holiday and just celebrate Thanksgiving. De verdad.
So, this year, my daughter’s birthday falls on Thanksgiving Day, and that lovely fact makes it feel like its my birthday and Christmas and Valentine’s — all in one shot. A blast of love and celebration all at once.
Imagine: The house will be filled with our favorite people, our home will smell of woodsmoke and comfort foods, and we will dine on pumpkin flan and birthday cake — again, all on the same day.
No puedo esperar.
It is stuff like this — a simple colliding of favorite dates — that reminds me how good simple things are, how coincidences are wonderful, and how expressing gratitude is the key to my own personal peace.
I am trying, como madre buena, to pass on the explicit and deliberate habit of expressing daily gratitude to my daughter.
We talk gratitude for the sun, as well as the rain, for strong bodies, for shelter and warmth on chilly Fall days. We talk about volunteering, we talk about giving — and we do both. The list goes on.
Maybe my mucho habla habla on gratitude stems from hearing nearly all my relatives say: “Gracias a Dios” all the time.
I do encourage my daughter to pray, but our family’s lessons and conversations about gratitude are more about realizing that life is good, no matter what; that light always follows dark and that a grateful heart is a happy heart. (I believe gratitude is the combatant of brattiness!)
Big lessons for a little girl. But, I think she gets it.
And then, of course, she doesn’t always.
She isn’t always grateful because she’s, like, not even 8. And those moments make me crazy, crazy enough that I have to stop and remind myself that, well, she isn’t even 8 yet.
There’s the lesson for me. It isn’t always as I think it should be, right?
Regardless, I know that come Thanksgiving Day, she’ll definitely be out of her mind with gratitude for the flan and birthday cake at her place setting.
And maybe one day grateful too for the lessons in gratitude.
And you, do you practice expressing gratitude regularly? If you do, what does the practice offer you?
“A person however learned and qualified in his life’s work in whom gratitude is absent, is devoid of that beauty of character which makes personality fragrant.” — Hazrat Inayat Khan.