I think, overall, I'd like to be more grateful. Gratitude for everything. For the health I do enjoy. Ignore the little twinges and swollen joints. Be grateful that there is good help out there to take advantage of. Be grateful that I can always continue to learn more about healthy living and healthy eating, and incorporate more of both into my life. No whining that I can't do this, or can't do that. Be happy that I have my bike, and a biking companion, and mostly blue skies to ride in.
You know what else I'm grateful for? Good skin. I know, it's a little thing, and not so very important in the big picture, but it's one less thing I have to stress about. My mother is 82 and her skin glows. I'm happy that I tend to take after her in that respect. I'm learning to take better care of myself, and hopefully, at 82, my skin will glow like hers does. I got one of those Clarisonic things for Christmas that clean your face with a soft brush, and this girl has NO clogged pores anywhere now! And it does make you glow a little bit. My mom gave me a tip to get some Vitamin E. I did just that yesterday, and it really keeps the skin around your eyes soft and moisturized! Who knew? Goodbye, expensive eye creams! Or, at least sayonara to most of them.
Those two things - health and good skin - are somewhat related. It's hard to have one without the other. So I'm thankful that I have an interest in keeping the status quo. In continuing on with good habits, and learning better ones.
It almost goes without saying that I'm grateful for the awesome husband I have. He supports me, loves me even when I'm ridiculous, and tries so hard to help me with everything. He's taught me so much about love and being selfless - and he is far better at it than I am. But I'm learning, and I try to do something each day that will make his life a little easier or more comfortable, or even just more delicious.
Ditto for the kids. Each one brings something unique to the table. Each one has their own special blend of awesome. Andrew is sweet and easy to be around. He never rocks the boat, he is never demanding. He has health issues that are a worry, but he is a young man who doesn't like to be a bother. You can do anything with him and he is fine with it. Soothing is the word for Andrew. The others are opinionated. They are, each one, strong willed and outspoken. They have strong spouses who are both delightful and determined in their personalities. L and I are quiet by nature, and every so often the sheer force of their natures are a little overwhelming, but we wouldn't have it any other way. They are people who know what they want, and they know how to get it. I wish I'd had half of their confidence when I was their age. I would have saved myself a lot of grief, I can tell you that. So we're proud parents, and we wouldn't change a thing. I'm grateful for the joy they bring into our lives, and for the pride I feel in the people they've become, and for the lessons they've taught me. (Sooo many lessons and humbling experiences!)
And then there are the little ones. Lexi and Mia are 6 and kind, and giggly - lovers of all princesses. Matthew is 5 and actively determined to figure out everything. Hayden is also determined and announces that she is "a grumpy old troll girl" when things don't go her way (but she has her mother's husky laugh when life is good). Skylee is 1 and busy learning about the world as only a 1 year old can. I am so very grateful for each one. Each one brings a smile and a joie de vive into my boring adult world, as only a small child can. I always want to snuggle up to such innocence in the hopes that it will rub off like stardust on me, and I can take it home to brighten things up.
And then there are the hundreds and thousands of little miracles that occur each day and every day, all year long. Those little happenings that we tend to brush off as "coincidences." I'm not so sure, and in the coming year I want to try to be more aware and more grateful for them, as I'm pretty sure we are watched over more than we think - by angels of a sort, for lack of a better universal term. I had a near disaster on Christmas Eve. I'd made two pans of scalloped potatoes for dinner at my brother's house. We had sliced the potatoes and put everything together in the pans, and all that was left was to pour warm cream over all of it, and pop them into the oven for an hour. We were going to L's mom's house for an hour and just before leaving I yelled down to L to put them in the oven. And off we went. Just as we reached his mom's house (5 minutes away from ours) I had a sudden thought unrelated to anything I had been thinking about: I had forgotten to pour the cream over the potatoes. I had to go back immediately and do that or they would have been ruined. Now, you can say it was a coincidence, but I kind of like to think it was my Grandma gently reminding me. She, who was a champion of family dinners, and serving others wouldn't have wanted my potatoes to be ruined. I want to notice these things more, and also listen better to promptings I may receive to do for others. We all get them, but they're easy to brush off, again, as silly ideas - things we may not be comfortable doing. I want to rise to the occasion, put myself out of my comfort zone, and serve. Make someone's day with a kind act, a kind word. Maybe it's anonymous. Even better.
So that's the kind of year I'd like to have. Full of gratitude, health, family, friends and service to others. I've not always been good at all of these things, and certainly not all at the same time, and some of them are a stretch, for sure. We don't always have all aspects under our control. But as much as possible, I have to ask myself: why not me, and why not now? Because if not now, never seems a likely possibility, and that would be a life wasted for sure. Now is the time to try, to give it my best effort. It starts today.
Happy New Year, everyone! Wishing you all the best, and hoping that you, too, will discover the things that you need to do and accomplish, starting today.