Some lessons are a lifetime in learning.
Take for instance, gratitude.
Gratitude, you may ask? What's the problem there? It's the best. It keeps you sane, and healthy, and loving your life for what it is full of instead of what it may be lacking.
I agree. I do. It is the best. Thanksgiving is even my favorite holiday.
But oh how easily I can lose sight of being grateful.
To help me and my girls remember to be grateful, we practice. When we sit down to dinner as a family, which, admittedly, is not that many times a week, we go around the table and state what we're most grateful for that day.
The replies are varied, from the minute and mundane, to my youngest's almost always proclamation that she is grateful for, "her great life."
Yes, me too. I'm grateful for my great life.
But, in the day to day, it's not hard to forget, temporarily, how truly grateful we should be. For every single day.
Here's a little story to illustrate my point.
While at the dreaded Memorial day weekend regional dance competition, aka Disneypalooza, my oldest informed me that we needed to get a gift for her dance team "little sister." This is a girl on the youngest dance team, who was paired up with my girl at the beginning of the dance season.
They've exchanged some gifts and offered each other support throughout the year, and supposedly, unbeknownst to me, during this competition it was expected that we bestow a gift upon this little sister.
I hate when my daughter does this, informs me of news like this only at deadline time, instead of sometime beforehand, when we could have intentionally shopped and presented a gift in a deliberate and thoughtful way.
I also hate when the only option for said gift is the gift shop in the Disney Hotel. It's prices are akin to airport gift shops, but double.
But, my daughter pointed out, she'll love the fact that it came from the Disney store, and it will mean a lot to her.
Whatever, we're out of options, so thanks for trying to spin it for me, dear daughter.
When I asked for a box, or cute bag, or some sort of gift enclosure for the items we picked out, which were, again, ludicrously overpriced, all they could offer me was a plastic bag. (Oh, but it did have the Disney logo!)
I sighed loudly and paid, my girl grabbed the non-gifty bag, and we headed up to the dressing room so that my girl could give it to her little sister before she went on stage.
I was feeling very put out, and griping about the total price of the three items, which, truth be told, was not going to break the bank, when I happened to run into a fellow dance mom.
I told her where Anneke was headed and the mom said to me, "Oh, she'll be thrilled. Her mom couldn't make this competition, she's in the hospital, so it's been a bit of a rough weekend for her."
Wait, what? Her mom's in the hospital? Oh Jesus. Why?
"She wasn't feeling well at all, had not been for a week or two, so went to the doctor. Turns out she has congestive heart failure, and has been in the hospital now for close to a week."
Knowing her daughter is only 6 or 7 I asked how old this mom was.
"She's in her thirties."
Holy shit! Seriously? I am a terrible, awful, cheap, ungrateful bitch! I was bemoaning the fact we had to give this poor little girl a gift. She's at the competition without her mom, because her mom is the hospital for a serious medical condition. Her mom is in the hospital missing her little mini dancing her heart out onstage.
It sure did wake me up. This awful news of these almost strangers. Be grateful, girl! For every breath you take, most especially the healthy ones.