Everyone has been spending the past month being grateful. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest were all a flutter with good-natured graciousness. Well, I’m always late to the party. One trend behind. And thus, here is my thirty days of gratitude all on one go, with ten bonus entries as penance for my tardiness.
1: Skype : most of my favorite people in the world live far away from me. Spread out between Nor Cal, the Midwest, Europe, and Asia. Skype gives the illusion of of normalcy. It lets me see the people I love in real time. Mostly, it keeps me sane.
2: Parents who don’t suck: My parents were never super strict. They had expectations of us and we had rules, but they spoke to us like people. They didn’t hit us or go out of their way to make us feel stupid or inferior. They cared about our interests and encouraged us to pursue our passions. They fostered an environment full of magic and whimsy. They taught us the importance of family. Now, as a mom, I try and channel Dad’s calm and jovial nature and Mom’s bartering skills when I am having a particularly hard day with Harper.
3: My daughter: Oh Harper. How sweet it is to be loved by you. I could write about the guppy all day but for now I’ll just say she is the best surprise I have ever gotten.
4: Netflix: We don’t have cable. Enough said.
5: Rain: This year was a record low for San Diego. Before last week we had only gotten 3.6 inches this year which equated to the least amount of annual rainful 150 years. I’m happy on those days when it’s a little damp and cloudy. There is puddle jumping and I love not having to turn the sprinklers on.
6: The Internet: I know how pretentious this sounds. It’s one of many things I am grateful for that many might scoff at. I am a student at heart. I love to read, learn, and research. The internet is one of the tools that allows me to do that on a regular basis. It also gave me the opportunity to finish my master’s degree on time.
7: Literacy: It wasn’t until I was in graduate school that I started to look at literacy as a human right. Being able to read and write allow me to be an active member of my community, ask the questions I need answers to, read books, teach my daughter, and keep myself safe.
8: Fandom: It’s no secret that I am a really big geek. My fandoms are extensive. Star Wars, Harry Potter, Glee, Disney, Nerdfigteria, Lord of the Rings, DCAU, Marvel to some extent, Hunger Games, Indiana Jones, Kingdom Hearts, and other video games. No really, this is a long list. That being said, that unabashed and unironic love for these things has done two things in my life. First, it has given me something in common with my little brother. We have always been close and some of that, I know, is because of shared interests. The other is that is has put me in contact with some of my best friends in the world.
9: Concerts: I love going to shows. I don’t go as much as I did pre-baby but when I get to go it reminds me just how important music is as an emotional outlet, a dance party starter, a symbiotic experience, and an form of art that has the ability to unite unlikely friends.
10: Paper Towels: They are so useful. Also, I get a kick out of the way Harper says paper towels right now. All her vowels are kind of elongated and it just sounds sweet and uniquely hers. When she’s 15 and yelling at me about paper towels, I hope I can remember her sitting in her tiny chair asking for one oh so sweetly.
11: Friendship: I am one of those unfortunate people who gets lonely easily. I am my happiest when I am surrounded by people who I trust, who I know accept me and love me, despite and maybe because of my natural proclivity to be a little bit extreme.
12: A Curious Nature : I’m lucky enough to be a really curious person which inspires me to seek on different people, places, things, art, music, food, and experiences. I know my curiosity has enriched my life.
13: My Brother: Just be jealous you aren’t me. He’s pretty neat and he wears a good hat.
14: Food, Clean Water, and Shelter: I have access to all of life’s basic necessities. Sometimes I forget not everyone is as fortunate.
15: Our New Heater: Now the nights are cold and there is a chill in the air. The heater kicking on in the middle of the night makes me realize just how lucky I am to live in a cozy house with a brand new heater ticking away on the way.
16: Finding Love Young: It used to embarrass me, that Guy and I were so young when we got together, even younger when we meet. High school sweet hearts isn’t much of a story but now, nearly 9 years in, I realize that we have know each other for more than half our lifetimes. Growing up together is such a fun adventure. And I didn’t have to sort through a bunch of jerks in college. SDSU is not known for it’s wealth of gentlemen.
17: Beer: I’m a fan.
18: Whimsy: “The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.”― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan . I have never learned to doubt the reality of magic.
19: Forgiveness: I make a lot of mistakes and say I’m sorry frequently. I am thankful for the times those around me have extended their forgiveness
20:Photography: The challenge and the opportunities presented to me by photography has saved me from myself countless times.
21: A Vivid Imagination: The ability to go somewhere or be someone else just for a short time has served me as an artist and an individual for my entire life.
22:Sprinkles: Because they make everything better.
|In Rome with a Trashcan|
23:Trash Can Pictures: I love having someone our family does that nearly no one does. And yes, trashcan pictures are pictures we take next to trashcans whenever we get together.
24: Mistakes: I’m going to go a little hipster spiritual right now. I have in the past burned a lot of bridges and clmbed aboard my pretentious high horse. While I regret all of those things and often think about the people I could have in my life that I’ve scared away, I learned from those mistakes. I’m a more open, slower to judge, and more accepting of people’s flaws. I find love comes easier now that I am aware of my own major character flaws.
25: Harper’s teacher, Ms. Carrie: Harper loves school. She loves to learn and she loves her teacher. I appreciate that her teacher is patient, kind, and enjoys Harper in all her whirlwind glory. She is also helping her overcome her speech issues.
26 Sushi: It’s my favorite.
27: The sunlight that comes through my kitchen window in the late afternoon: The sun is pretty scarce this time of year. Even in San Diego, the days are short but in the late afternoon when I’m usually in the kitchen getting dinner prepped. It’s gently sifted through the leaves in the backyard trees and falls through the window in soft graceful patterns on the hardwood floor.
28: My dogs : They are ill-behaved. They bark and bark and bark. They try to eat the mailman. But at night the snuggle close and their sweet snuffles make up for the noise. They bring us so much joy and laughter. Our house would be far to quiet without them.
29: Diet Coke: It is my life force.
30: Knee Braces : Without them I wouldn’t really be able to exercise and I really wouldn’t be able to run.
32: My Five Senses
33: Bubble bath
36: Spell Check
39: My mattress
Written by Rachel Brandt