We’ve all seen them—the people using Facebook as their own personal daybook of gratitude. Each day brings a new status update, clueing the rest of us in to some thing, great or small, for which they want to publicly profess their thankfulness.
I did this one year, and, I must confess that I found it to be a little bit challenging. Each day, for a whole month, finding something to be thankful for, that of course meets the standards of impressing one’s peers via social media, seemed like a tall order indeed.
In truth, sometimes the comments gush with such overabundance, that they make what should be a sweet sentiment seem a bit trite and insincere.
Then, this year, I stumbled upon one that said simply, “I am thankful for naptime.” While my first instinct was to chuckle, upon deeper reflection I thought, “This girl actually gets it!”
True, her statement lacked the bells and whistles that your typical “I am thankful for my hard-working, long-suffering husband who cooks dinner every night, folds all the laundry, and constantly treats me like a queen” status update might provide, but it made up for that in its simple honesty.
Find me the mother who didn’t on one of “those days” deeply appreciate a good naptime. Which, I think, brings us to the root of what this exercise should mean.
Surely, we all recognize the importance of the big things in life: health, family, shelter, and gainful employment all ranking right up there. What we seem to be missing is an appreciation for the little things–those things that, while not cornerstones of our existence, are what make our already blessed lives rich and full.
Recently, my fourth grader read the short novel “The Big Wave,” by Pearl S. Buck. In the story, a young boy loses his home and family in a tsunami, and is faced with a choice: he can go to live with the family of his best friend, and lead a humble life full of hard work, or he can become the adopted son of the wealthy old gentleman who lives in the castle on the hill.
Choosing to live with Old Gentleman would ensure him a life of ease and comfort, and yet, the boy, Jiya, chose a life that, while hard, would be full of love and family.
In one of the books central messages, he realized that it isn’t those big-ticket items that provide happiness, but instead, life’s simple pleasures that bring us joy.
This year, I’m trying to take a cue from Jiya, and my friend who loves naptime. I spend so much time rushing from point A to point B that I don’t often stop to appreciate the beauty in the mundane.
As we reflect this week on the things we are thankful for, of course, I would be remiss not to count my top blessings–my husband and the boys who have made us a family, a job, and a roof over our heads.
But, this year, I am trying to include simpler things on my list as well: the walk to the car each day with my youngest as he tells me about his day, the fact that my oldest wasn’t embarrassed to be seen at a concert with his mother, or that my middle boy will still snuggle with me. The girl who bought my Starbucks yesterday, the grateful smile from the young mother who I helped with her bags, and the funny text from a friend who just gets me.
My life wouldn’t exist without the big ones, but it these little ones that fill it up. Here’s to us all finding our own “little ones” this season, and remembering to give them their due.
Edie Crabtree is an avid reader and the mother of three active boys. She can be reached at [email protected].