I am making a conscious effort each day to step back at certain moments in time, be it with the kids or work colleagues or Jon or by myself, and appreciate the moment for what it offers to me. These small retreats build up, and by the time evening rolls in and I am putting on my pjs alongside Maria and Mario, I generally feel grateful for what life has offered me through the day (there are those rare evenings where even a day full of wonderful moments can be demolished by a child going through a temper tantrum).
There are tons of books and magazines and blog sites touting the benefits of gratitude but it’s not until you actually make that conscious effort of practicing it that it hits home. I feel more serene when I go to sleep, more hopeful during my day, more positive in my outlook. Overall, I guess I would say I am more “happy” – whatever that looks like. I simply feel more alive and more connected.
Today, I got to take a run in the morning for the first time in two weeks. Jon stayed with Mario while I ran through the neighborhood and lifted weights at the gym. Listening to NPR for 45 minutes was the best gift I could receive from Jon. On my run home, as I listened to Michael Jackson’s Beat It and looked at the gardens lining our street, I had one of those step-back moments. I felt an intense swelling of gratitude for Jon, and his selflessness in letting me get up in the mornings to do the thing I love to do. I also felt grateful for my legs – yeah, my legs! For allowing me to be able to run the distance I am able to run and let my mind drift as I listen to stories and news on NPR. It is such a treasure for me.
Later in the day, when I came home from work to find Mario and Jon already back from school, I felt that surge of gratitude rise again. Mario popped out of the family room with a whopping smile on his face telling me to close my eyes. When I opened, he had his home-made graduation cap on his head and the same smile across his face.
“I graduated today, mom!”
Some in his class graduated to Kindergarten today but they let all of the kids make caps (always politically correct). He was so proud of his creation. We took a bike ride later to get his haircut, and while on the bike, he asked me to sing to him. I sang him a rhyming song about how much I loved my boy cuz he was just like a toy, and his toes tasted like soy… (yeah, I know, pretty lame except to a four-year old), and he turned around laughing at me. It was the sweetest moment. I replay it in my head as I sit here tonight, and it still makes me smile as I think about it. When we got to the salon, he made me move away from him while the gal cut his hair because he wanted to be alone with her. He wanted to tell her how he wanted his hair. I sat in the seat up front the entire time without him ever calling out for me. When she finished, he got out of his chair, and walked over to me.
“What do you think, mom?”
“You look awesome, dude.”
He walked over to the mirror and put his hand through his hair, and nodded his head up and down. He knew he looked good. Man, I am grateful for that nut.
When we got home, Jon told me that he called Maria at Grandma Ionno’s house. Patty told him how Maria kept her and Joe laughing throughout the day with her quips. She was telling a story to Patty and Joe and Joe closed his eyes. She looked at Patty and said “I guess the story was a little long – no wonder Grandpa fell asleep!” That girl has got a personality to last a lifetime, and I am grateful beyond words to have her in my life (and I miss her like mad – get home, pumpkin girl!).
I am thankful for this consciousness of treasures I continue to sharpen in my daily life. Now, off to a good-night’s sleep.