small gratitude

Today was one of those uninspiring days. Gray. Rainy. Blah.

We were late to our toddler class. I was tired and lost my temper during breakfast. When S finally went down for a nap, all I wanted was a nap for myself. I didn’t want to do work or housework or mothering work or anything. Simply a dragging day.

But I knew I didn’t have a choice: I had lots to get done. I decided that the only one who could change my attitude, was, well, moi. So I fell back on a tried and true practice to pull myself out of a funk. I decided to list five things I was grateful for.

Then I stopped. I suddenly realized that every time, this practice inevitably ended up in my listing one of the Big Things For Which We Should Always Be Grateful: spouse, children, home, health, work, friends, faith, etc.

Not that such things aren’t wonderful and worthy of thanksgiving. But they seem so obvious that naming them always winds up making me feel guilty that I was having a grumpy day in the first place. What right do I have to be in a funk when I have two good legs and a roof over my head?

Right then and there I decided to abandon the aforementioned Big Thankfulness practice. I decide to name just one small thing that I was thankful for, something I had never thought to be thankful for before.

And then I glanced down at the glass in my hand.

Chai tea.

I was thankful for chai tea, and I never thought to be thankful for it before. It brought just the sweet, caffeinated lift I needed to get down to work. And chai tea was small enough that I could wrap my gratefulness around it for the afternoon.

When S got up from his nap, the sun had peeked out from behind thick clouds and we were both in jollier moods. He started playing with his puzzles, then paused to request “ra-di-yo moo-mah” (translated: radio music). I suddenly I realized I had one more small gratitude to add to my short list:

Pandora’s kids folk music station.

I owe a good deal of my sanity during these early years of parenting to the good people at Pandora and their marvelous musical taste. This station’s mix of old and new brings back classic songs I remember from childhood (Peter, Paul & Mary, Burl Ives, Woody Guthrie) and has introduced us to now-favorites (Elizabeth Mitchell, to name one).

What a wonderful little thing to be grateful for – nothing earth-shattering, but a small source of peace and happiness in our home. We rocked out to ra-di-yo moo-mah all afternoon.

I could get used to small gratitude, I decided. It does my mothering spirit good to recognize little glints of grace.

What small things are you grateful for today?

2 thoughts on “small gratitude

  1. YES!!! I love this. I have been writing down Five Things I Love about the Day for almost ten years now. It gives me an opportunity to reflect on the day and find the little things in it that brought me joy. Even on my worst days, I can manage to come up with Five Things. Over the past ten years, I think there are only three days I haven’t done this exercise.

    For today:
    1. Waking up to the sun.
    2. A playful cat in the morning.
    3. Lunch with a good friend.
    4. Tea and gingersnaps.
    5. Making good decisions.

  2. Oh my goodness! Pandora has a kids folk station??!??! Can I please immediately recommend said station to every parent I know? AHmazing!

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