I am especially finding that it makes a difference in the hard times. In the greater scheme of things, my life is so good these days but I have had some real struggles this year with some very negative people at work. I am NOT good at conflict and it tends to eat away at me (while the people involved who are creating the conflict always seem to sleep so well at night!) I've been coming home feeling agitated by it all and having trouble sleeping and yet, the start to every prayer, and this is habit, not intention, is "Thank you for.." Life is so good this way!
I wanted to share a few of the things for which I am grateful at the moment because life IS good!
I feel like we are really in a sweet spot with our children right now. Pk is 10.5 and IJ is 7 and they are both so much fun and so connected to our family. We have so much fun reading together, having monthly parent-child dates, watching t.v. together (we have some shows we all love) and lately, hiking together. I walk the dogs almost every day after school and in the past, I went on my own. The kids didn't want to come and if they did, it was dragging them around, unhappy. Now, they LOVE that time and we are having such amazing adventures while making our dogs really happy and getting to enjoy the beauty of the area in which we live. We've enjoyed sunsets, climbs and rock collecting and, most of all, having really important conversations. I am so grateful that we aren't missing this time together!
I also feel very gifted because my kids are at a stage of life when they are exploring the world and discovering their passions and they are excited to have me be a part of that. Pk has always loved riding horses (and that continues) and she has also become a passionate figure skater. That was NOT something we saw coming as neither of us have done a great deal of skating (and dh, being English, did not grow up skating and has zero interest). Pk, surprisingly, seems to have quite an aptitude and loves it and we are at the arena Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday and somehow, I have become the secretary of the skating club. I always vowed I wouldn't have my child overbooked but as I see her joy and the maturity that has come with her pursuing her passion, I cannot say no. We are also really lucky that she is in a really, really nice cohort of girls and families and her coaches are really unique in placing as much emphasis on character as on skating skill. I couldn't have asked for anything better and, as a bonus, I am getting so much knitting done at the rink!
This photo was taken at a competition and it meant so much to me and illustrates so well what they are learning. They were at a synchro competition (which meant that there was a team of 10 competing) and it happened that it collided with an individual performance for one of the girls on the team (who happens to be one of the youngest and least confident skaters). The girls all went to watch her and when she was finished skating, they exploded in cheers for her and seeing the smile of the skater's face made me truly appreciate the lessons that they are learning about friendship.
Little Man has also expanded my horizons as I am now "Red", the Scouter and the registrar for our town's Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Venturers and Rovers. I NEVER saw myself in that role but surprisingly, it's been really fun and it has allowed me to connect with some wonderful people that I would not otherwise have met. IJ and I have gone on several camping trips together and we have started collecting something from each trip to add to our collection of momentos of camping together and every time I look at the pile, I feel happy. One day, he won't want me there but at this point, he does, and it brings me more joy than I would have ever imagined!