Ugh! I am so thankful the month of November is almost over. It seems that like Halloween costumes and Christmas decorations, the "What are you thankful for?" question starts popping up earlier and earlier every year. Really, throughout the month of October, you cannot stand in line at the check out and not see almost every magazine with the headlines, "How to be Thankful", "Show your Thanks this Season", "How to Have the Most Thankful Thanksgiving Ever", or some variation of reminding us to be thankful. Why can’t we just be thankful every day of the year?
In life, there are so many things to be thankful about. We don't need to contain it for that one moment before diving into our turkey, when we put forth the most profound thing we can think of that we're thankful for. It's all the little things and then, yes, the big things like health, family, friends, and freedom that help us get through our days.
On a daily basis, there are at least ten things that I am thankful for. I'm thankful that my husband actually saw that the dishwasher was empty and put his cereal bowl in there instead of the sink. I'm thankful for every other Wednesday when it’s pizza day at school and I don't have to pack lunches for my boys. I'm thankful when the kids actually get out the door on time for school so that I can get to the office on time. I’m thankful for tall boots when I can't find two socks that match. I'm thankful my older son has finally figured out to install a new roll of toilet paper. I'm thankful I can fit into my jeans after a long weekend of overindulgence. I'm thankful my kids are old enough that they can bathe on their own. I'm thankful I found a lone coffee filter (they've been on my grocery list for at least a week now) stuffed in the back of the cupboard. I'm thankful that the horrible smell coming out of my fridge was just an old bag of rotting lettuce and not a dead animal. I'm thankful for the time I get to myself at the end of the day. Oh, the list goes on and on.
When my younger son was in preschool, the kids each decorated construction paper turkeys and under each turkey they said what they were thankful for. On the day they were displayed, I heard lots of "Awws," and "Oh, that’s so sweet!" and then I heard the chuckles. The things the kids were thankful for included mom and dad, my family, my baby brother, nanny and poppy, my warm house, and then there was my kid's – I'm thankful for sandwiches. Ah, that's where the chuckles were coming from. And in as much as I must admit, I was a tad bit disappointed that he didn’t name me as what he was thankful for (after all, I am super mom), I was glad that my little boy could see that it's okay to be thankful for the little things.
My great aunt used to call it counting our blessings. And that means that when things get tough, we need to hold on to the little things that are good. We can teach our kids to be thankful for the big things, but if we forget all the little things, it's easy to stumble when the going gets rough. I try to remind my boys everyday that there are things to be thankful for from the dog that loves them dearly to the food on the table to the sunshine and fresh air. We need to constantly be counting our blessings.
So, this Thanksgiving, give thanks for the things you really are thankful for—big or small. And then remember, you don’t have to contain those thanks to just this time of year. Give your kids and spouse a hug, a gentle pet on the head to your animal companion, a smile to a stranger, or a little me time to yourself—an expression of gratitude should be part of every day.