Day 14 – What person are you most grateful for?
This has been a November to remember. The platitudes of gratitude have been filling my newsfeed for two weeks. Cindy is grateful for her kids. Robert is grateful for his job. Emma is grateful for her new husband.
As my anxiety would have it, I can not limit my gratitude to one or two people. My life and my accomplishments are not the sum of just a few people. But I will try to do the best I can without leaving anyone out.
Mom and Dad
These are the first people who loved me. And I know my mother is going to read this and get irritated at me. She has a rather skewed view of her parenting prowess. I see it a little differently than she does.
It’s difficult to go through everything they’ve done for me, growing up and as an adult. And it’s trite to say thanks for everything.
But I will acknowledge one thing they did; they let me be me. They let me hang myself plenty of times. And they cut the rope each time. They have been my biggest supporters even if they didn’t approve of whatever I was doing.
I was not the perfect child, by any stretch of the imagination. I was a train wreck kid. My room was a post apocalyptic wasteland. I dyed my hands blue for weeks after a failed chemistry experiment. I almost burned down my best friend’s house with a microwave bag of popcorn. His dad was a firefighter; the irony is not lost on me. I ran away from home to live in a place where I knew no one. I stayed in a less than amazing relationship with someone they did not care for (hated) because I was too proud (stubborn) to admit defeat.
Through it all, they loved me. All my failures and flaws and they still love me. I learned how a parent should love their kids. For that and for them I am grateful.
They are the complete polar opposites of each other. Chalk it up to the ten year age gap, different fathers, or whatever you choose but these children couldn’t be more different or more loved.
The Bunny was always quiet and shy. Content to be alone in her room, she learned to appreciate her own company. She had imaginary friends, a talent for art, and a love for all things princesses and fairies. She slept through the night from day one. Meal times were never a battle; she ate without begging or pleading.
The T-Rex is loud and rambunctious. He has yet to sleep through the night and I often wind up sleeping on the floor of his bedroom with him next to me. He is a tornado of destruction with a trail of torn paper in his wake. I have never seen a child with the ability to destroy a room so quickly before in twenty years of working with kids. He eats only chicken nuggets French fries. Offer him anything else and you risk offending his delicate palate. Don’t even think about Cheerios. He is the only child I have ever met that runs and hides from Cheerios. My daughters chased him through the house with handfuls of Cheerios. On the outside I told them to stop. On the inside I was laughing my ass off.
They have their similarities, too. They both love dinosaurs. Lately, the T-Rex has been pretending to be a kitty. This has brought back memories of the Bunny at the same age doing the same thing. She would meow at people in stores, purr if you scratched her head, and begged for tuna fish. The T-Rex is well known at Walmart for roaring and growling at people. The cashiers just roar back now.
These kids make me want to be a better person, a better mom. They have taught me patience, forgiveness, humor, understanding, healing, resilience, and compassion. for that and for them I am grateful.
There should be a Nobel Prize for loving broken humans. He would be a winner. He took the broken shards of a human being, put them back together, filled the cracks gold, and made me better and stronger.
He loves me even though I can’t stick to a cleaning routine for more than two weeks, can’t make pancakes, have an odd obsession with sloths, donkeys, and corgis, put on forty pounds, and stopped wearing makeup since I got pregnant four year ago.
He has loved me through my worst but still hasn’t seen me as my best. He has been my champion, my defender, my beacon on the hill.
I can’t say enough for what he has done for me. It sounds cliche to say his love made me a better person. But it did. After years of not feeling good enough, smart enough, sexy enough, he lets me know that I am more than enough.
It takes a strong man to love a broken woman. It takes a saint to share his strength and build her back up. He’s done both. For that and for him I am grateful.
Spiritual Teacher, Mentor, and Guru Guy
I am a firm believer that everyone needs someone that they can talk to about spiritual and faith matters, even if you’re not a spiritual person. I am lucky enough to have someone like that. And it’s nice having someone who speaks your lingo, who gets you.
the gentleman i call my guru guy is unique. He is a veritable rainbow of theological backgrounds. An accomplished author, naturopathic doctor, entrepreneur, social media expert, monk, priest, witch, millionaire maker, social warrior, and all around good guy. But that doesn’t even cover it.
I have had the privilege of taking classes with this man for almost a year now. The classes focus on mindshifts, daily exercises to make you think a little differently about the way you do business and build relationships and in general live your life.
The biggest takeaways I’ve had from these classes are live your life with passion and purpose and do all things with service in mind. It was because of these lessons that I began writing my first book. I knew writing was my passion and so was helping people. I had a story like other women out there. There was a need to share what I had been through to help others. I wrote that book and reignited my passion for writing. And it helped a few of my friends get out and heal from their own craptastic relationships.
I wish for everyone a guru guy, someone who lights their fire and doesn’t let the fickle winds of change blow it out. He’s also there to put a boot up your ass to help dislodge your head when it gets stuck there. For that and for him I am grateful.
I have known the name Erma Bombeck all my life. My mother is a big fan of Erma. She has the full collection of Mrs. Bombeck’s works in paperback.
It wasn’t until recently that I started reading her books. There was a sale on Amazon Kindle: three books for $2.99. The instant I started reading, I fell in love. Erma is the original train wreck mom. If you’re not familiar with the term, let me explain. A train wreck mom is someone who is trying their best to raise fully functional humans without the need of prescription medication or bail. In an age of helicopter moms, tiger moms, free range moms, bad moms, train wrecks are just doing the best they can with what they have available. Erma was a train wreck.
Her articles and essays show a love for her children. Her writing also shows the frustration that comes with being a mother. She tempers it with humor. I’ve often said I have to laugh at some of the things my kids do or I would cry. And if anyone had reason to cry it was Erma.
Good health was not a companion for Mrs. Bombeck. She was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease before she became famous for writing. She underwent a mastectomy for breast cancer. She was on daily dialysis. She was also incredibly, painfully shy. Despite all that, she still lived her passion of bringing laughter to people through her writing.
This woman is my spirit animal.
One of my favorite quotes from the mother of humor writers is this: “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.'” If that’s not the essence of living your life with passion then I don’t know what is.
Mrs. Erma, thank you for leaving your talent with us. Thank you for being the voice of mothers across time and geography. thank you for making it okay to not be the perfect wife and mother. Thank you for inspiring hundreds, if not thousands, of writers like me. And especially thank you for giving me and my mother one more thing in common, one more thing for us to bond over. Our love of Erma is one more thing we can share. For that and for you I am grateful.
This may seem odd. Who thanks their ex? Well, I’ve always said he gave me the best gift ever, our daughter. After the divorce, I had so many people ask me if I had to do it all over, would I? Yup, because anything different would result in a different outcome. I would do it all over again for her. I just wish I could have shown her sooner what a real father should be like and what a strong mother can be.
Because of my ex and my experieces I had a story to tell. And I did. That story has helped so many people. I would not have been able to write it if I hadn’t gone through it first hand.
I wouldn’t have rediscovered my passion for writing. Now, I have two books published, this one I’m writing, and a thriving blog.
So to my ex, thank you. I am grateful to you for our daughter and for my story. I am grateful for the situations you put me in because I was able to write a book about them. I am grateful for the survival techniques I learned during my time in our relationship. I am grateful for you.
And to you, dear Reader, thank you. Thank you for being on this crazy journey with me so far. The gratitude challenge has been challenging so far. But it has made me think outside the box about being thankful every day. There is something every day to be grateful for. For that and for you I am grateful. Thank you.
“Platitudes of Gratitude” now available on Kindle and paperback.
Platitudes of Gratitude: A Humorous Take on The Gratitude Challenge (30 Day Challenge) https://www.amazon.com/dp/1520878621/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_79XZybFW8G4FJ
Platitudes of Gratitude: A Humorous Take on The Gratitude Challenge (30 Day Challenge Book 1) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XQMF3NT/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_D-XZybPNS3NTN