You know how they say bad things happen in threes? Well, somehow my family seems to be the exception to that rule. Multiples of three maybe, but it never seems to stop at three.
In the past week or so my mom has come down with shingles (I know, technically not an injury, just go with it), I’ve re-injured my mysterious bruised ribs/torn muscle, my dad—whose mobility is already limited due to the effects of brain cancer—fell and broke his leg, and my brother got in a bike accident that left him with road rash, a concussion and a bruised arm bone. On top of all of that, my sweet aunt who loved and lived life with such zest passed away.
Cue the violins…I know.
Truly, I’m not sharing all this to gain sympathy—we all go through hard times. But this time of insanity has given me a bit of perspective. Don’t get me wrong, there are days I just want to scream. There were times in my life when one of these incidents would have pushed me over the edge—and the collection is certainly overwhelming at times—but today I find myself filled with gratitude.
I’m grateful that I have friends I can call at a moment’s notice when I need to leave town—who will treat my kids as their own. And I’m grateful that my former clinger has a newfound, 4-year old sense of independence, so he loves the opportunity to be with his friends without me if need be.
I’m grateful that my parents, too, have solid friendships—and a marriage—that they’ve nurtured through the years that have made all the difference during these hard times. The doorbell and phone ring often, their cookie jar is never empty and they know they are loved.
I’m grateful that my parents are here to adore my children and that my children are here to shower my parents with unconditional love (though all those treats and toys sure don’t hurt). And it means the world to me that my dad—who has no short-term memory—constantly, and sincerely, asks if he’s told me how proud he is of me and how much he appreciates my help. My mom, well she’s the most inspiring role model imaginable when it comes to facing life’s challenges with your chin up…she’s approaching sainthood.
I’m grateful that I was able to fly to Denver for a matter of hours to be reminded of what a special family I have. Hundreds of people (ok, I didn’t count, but it sure felt like that) came to honor my aunt, and share fond, lively memories. Many people also shared wonderful stories about my dad—all reminding me of his kind heart and amazing strength of character. (No, his college buddies weren’t there, but those are some good stories too.)
I’m grateful that my 18-month old decided he doesn’t like wearing pants this past week, so he’s entertaining us by running through the house with his pants around his ankles or rolling around on the floor trying to get them off. And you know what they say about laughter.
Sure, there are days when I feel overwhelmed. But today I just happen to be overwhelmed with gratitude.
Photo from Flickr by Hellsflowers.