Reasons to be grateful

So often we take things for granted. Many times the things we take for granted are exactly the things we need most. The big things, as it were. Too often we forget to take the time to appreciate the things we have. We forget to acknowledge the people that have helped us become who we are today.

With Volleyball Season over and a new Bowling Season about to get started (for me at least. The season has been started for 2 months already!), I’ve been bombarded by constant reminders of just how much I really take for granted.

I am grateful for my daughters

The last 2 days in particular, I’ve been seeing a lot of posts about people dealing with the loss of a child. That is something I couldn’t even begin to imagine. Somehow, my wife and I have been blessed with two largely uneventful pregnancies and deliveries and are now the proud parents of two healthy, beautiful young girls. We get to watch our girls grow day by day. Reach the milestones we all hold so dear. We get to create memories with and for our daughters.

As I read the stories and watch the videos my heart breaks for these families. No parent should have to bury their child, no matter what age. But to bury a child that barely had a chance to live, or never even took a breath has to be the single most painful thing to have to endure.

I am grateful for my upbringing

The older I get and the more I see the ways society has changed and continues to change, the more I am grateful for the way I was raised.

As a child, I was very much aware that we didn’t have a lot of money to go around. However, for many years my mother made the effort to allow us to be kids and shield us from all the pains and struggles of life. We were largely oblivious to what went on behind the scenes. Mum always made sure we had what we needed.

My mother was also a firm, but fair disciplinarian. I always knew what she expected of me and I always knew what I was being punished for. There were no surprises. Of course, I pushed the boundaries as often as possible, but I knew what the results would likely be. I knew what I was doing.

Later on, my stepfather joined the picture and even then, Mum made sure to see where we were at with him first before she even considered anything long term. To his credit, he didn’t try to assume the father role. He let us come to him in our own time. I got to experience a good stepparent, where so many weren’t so lucky.

Our situation may have been far from ideal in many ways, but we were allowed to be kids. To their credit, my parents did the best they could to shield us from the pressures of real life for as long as they could and to that end they were very successful.

I am grateful to be employed

In a time of economic downturn, I am extremely happy to have a steady, stable job. I wasn’t always so grateful to be working, but at this time in my life, I am more than grateful to be working when so many around me have lost their jobs and many more are struggling to find work of any kind.

For years, I have struggled with the notion of have to work for someone else. I have always said that I love what I do, but I hate that I have to do it for someone else. However, since moving to the US and struggling for two years to find consistent work, then finding a long term contract that still offered little stability for us, since the contract could be terminated at will, to finally have a full-time gig, with benefits, is a huge weight off my mind.

There will always be days where I wish I could just lay in bed all day and do nothing. In fact, today is one of those days! For the most part, I’m happy to be working period. I’m happy to be making enough money to support my family and I’m happy to have found a company that was willing to take a chance with me and offer me a full time position.

I am grateful for my wife

At the risk of sounding like a bit of butt kiss, I really do appreciate my wife. I fail to express that adequately to her, but she really makes everything I have done and continue to do possible.

She is largely responsible for keeping the house in running order, with little to no help. She takes care of the kids while I’m off doing whatever it is I’m doing at the time and while I’m working. She is incredibly patient with me when I’m a grouch because I’m tired or something hasn’t quite gone the way I planned it to. Even at my worst, she continues to stand beside me and love me anyway. No easy task at times, I’m sure.

I need to learn how to show her just how much she means to me. Most of our fights and disagreements are over something I’ve either done, or haven’t done. A scenario I’m sure many husbands and partners can relate to. I’ve never been to know how to express gratitude to those who deserve it. I can think of no one more deserving than my wife!

There are many more things I need to be grateful for, I’m sure. This is just a short list of the things that have been weighing heavy on my heart the last couple of days. Facebook shows us a stream of often negative thoughts and complaints about this and that. We never really stop to appreciate the multitude of things we should be happy for.

Somewhere a family just lost a child. Meanwhile, I get to be at home with both of children. I get to feel their arms wrapped around my neck and I get to kiss them good night after I tuck them in.

Somewhere, there is a child whose parent’s have all but abandoned him. Whose life will be intrinsically different thanks to the decisions of those charged with his care. Meanwhile, I get to have the memories of a household that was always full of laughter and love. And music.

Somewhere there is a family where  one, or both of the income earners has lost their jobs. Meanwhile, I still have my job. To earn enough to feed, clothe and house my children. Safe in the knowledge that tomorrow when I wake up, I will still have the means to support my family.

Somewhere, another married couple will join the statistics of divorce. Meanwhile, I get to stay in my marriage. Another opportunity to work at it. Make it stronger and more resilient to the pressures of the outside world.

Today, I am grateful.

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