I just took this photo and it makes me so happy. I mean, a clean(ish) house, a glass of wine, a laptop, a clearly relaxed set of legs, belonging to a perfectly happy, and content wannabe writer? Heavenly. What you can’t see, and what makes me even happier, is the rest of the story.
It is January, and the world outside is white and tundra-like. An actual blizzard is raging. I can hear the winds buffeting the north side of the house and whipping the branches. It shakes the shutters and makes the Christmas wreath, still hanging outside, scratch against the door. The snow is blowing sideways and the roads are covered. There are hardly any cars going by, only an occasional plow truck rumbles past.
Inside, a fire crackles in the wood stove. I can see the flames dance when I look up from my typing and I can feel the comfortable warmth that only wood heat can provide. Two lazy cats nap, curled up side by side in front of the stove, having worn themselves out wrestling and chasing each other upstairs and down in an effort to combat their severe twin cases of “cabin fever.” The smell of my homemade brownies baking, my mother’s recipe, and chicken in the crockpot perfumes the air and is the essesnce of home. The house is quiet, other than the pleasant swish of the dishwasher, the tick of the hot oven and the snap of the fire. I am alone in the house, something every working mom knows is a rarity and therefore precious.
It occurs to me suddenly, that I am happy; completely content and peaceful. This is not to say that I’m usually not happy. I just don’t often think about it. After all, there are bills to pay, there are family members near and far to worry about, that beautiful snow is going to really suck to clean up tomorrow when the “high” temperature is zero, and one of those cats keeps peeing on my son’s clothes when they pile up in a corner of his room. Also, if I stop and think about it, I have a headache and aside from that, since I am alone, that means that my son, my daughter and my husband all have to brave the blizzard and travel home from work, another thing to worry about.
But you know what? I’m not going to think about those things, or at least not fret about them. In fact, this ties in to my New Years resolution. That is, to be more thankful. There are so many things to be grateful for. I can walk, I can talk, I can see, I can hear. I am healthy, I have a loving family, lots of friends, a warm house and a job I love. Why have I wasted so much time complaining? My smart niece has been doing “gratefuls” every single night for years. Basically, It’s an email type of diary, listing everything she is grateful for at the end of every day. This is pure genius, but also requires more dedication than I’m willing to commit to at this time. I’m going to do this in baby steps, and I have started to see a change. I’m already feeling more thankful.
It seems that there are as many opportunities to appreciate what I have as there are to grouse about what I don’t. Good things are not hard to find, they are everywhere. It’s really all in how you choose to look at it. I can grumble when the alarm goes off at five, and I have to get out of my cozy bed, or I can be grateful that I have a job that I love to go to, and the physical and mental ability to do that job. I can gripe when my husband tracks mud all over the floor, or I can thank him when he sweeps it up. I can bellyache about the cold weather, or I can marvel at the beauty of the snow. I can lament the fact that I’m not alone as much as I’d like, or I can be thankful that I have a family and a home and that I’m never lonely. I can even choose to be thankful that I can see the blessings all around, as many cannot. There really are two ways to live, and I’m going to try my best to appreciate all the miracles around me.
P.S. My two children and my husband all made it home safely from work. Anther thing to be thankful for!