Thursday, October 31, 2013

31 days of gratitude

It's October for just a few more hours, I challenged myself this month to speak of my gratitude. In 2012, 2011, I did a 30 days of thanks thing on facebook. In 2010 I spent a lot of time talking about everything I was grateful for. Last year Bram died during my 30 days of thanks. Oh the irony. But I did it this month because I respect that November might be too much for me to find the sunshine. There were days that I had to call TJ home because I couldn't make it another hour, there were days I had to dig through the bible to find something to hang on to, there were days where I was in bed all day long. I still reached and stretched and it, for the most part, felt good to do. So I'm sharing below my 31 days of thanks, I challenge everyone who reads this to take the next 30 days to speak to what they are thankful for and come back and comment with how it's made you feel.

I also want to say above all, I'm thankful for love. I receive so much love from my family, my friends, strangers, acquaintances. It's a power greater than anything on this earth. Keep spreading it, show it in the way you know how and if you don't know, find a way!

Day 1: So I'm taking the leap of faith and doing 31 days of thanks/gratitude/whathaveyou. So today I give thanks for Alden, who is 20 months today. He has been a gift. He has an amazing sense of humor and a stubborn streak. He knows his mind, he knows how to love, he knows his limits, and he knows how to get what he wants and needs. 

Day 2:  I'm thankful for my chiropractor and her lovely assistant for being there. For the help they've given us emotionally and physically. For curing TJ's back pain. For really truly being a place and source of love in the world.

Day 3: 
Thankful for 4 babies who have all been great sleepers, and toddlers who make sure I remember albeit not often. Alden was up at midnight and is still awake. Love you dude, you crazy little turkey.

Day 4: 
Thankful to have a roof over our head. I know it's truly a privilege.

Day 5: 
I really couldn't find anything to express gratitude for. So for that day I'm thankful for second chances and do overs.

Day 6: thankful for TJ who will be 30 in 2 months. So many reasons. It would take years and a book or 2 to describe everything about him I am thankful for. My sweet, patient, generous, dedicated, handsome husband.

Day 7: 
thankful to have food. Such a little thing so often taken for granted. Before you roll your eyes at having no room in your fridge, or complaining there's too much, gently remind yourself there are children and families that would graciously take that food off your hands, there are families standing in line at food banks hoping beyond hope to get enough food to feed their kids just a few more days, there are parents starving themselves to feed their children, and families so poor the food they have still isn't enough to feed those hungry children.

Day 8: 
grateful for those who were with us the first day, their faces twisted up pain, shock, confusion. Grateful for those with us in spirit that first day, sending messages of love. Grateful for all the prayers and loving energy and efforts send out to us globally from mothers, grandmothers, fathers, children, women and men who knew my pain, who didn't but couldn't imagine not sending love in whatever way they could. Grateful.

Day 9: 
thankful for Judi's house. The boys had counseling today and I got involved. We painted a picture of our worries, our sadness, our fears, and our anger. Then we threw wads of soaking wet toilet paper and yelled at it. We threw a few for Bram too. 

Day 10: 
grateful for my AAMI sisters, midwifery sisters, and fellow mamas who have been my legs when I can't walk. Who planned Bram's funeral. Who took me to the funeral home. Who held me as I wailed for Bram. Who flew hundreds of miles at a moments notice. Who changed their pictures to Bram. Who sent money and cards and love from every corner. Who came together a made a book of all the places Bram is.

Day 11: 
I saved this day for Carla Hartley. She was probably the first person I had known to grieve so publicly and unapologeticaly for her husband. Their bond unbreakable even in death. She's a woman who loves unapologeticaly and genuinely until it hurts and then she some how manages to love some more. She's brilliant, generous, thoughtful, and knows how to laugh. I'm so thankful for her. For so many reasons.

Day 12: Today is for Ange La and her perfect boy. I never got to know N while we was living, only 6 month younger than Tate, a boy who loved orange, a boy taken at 2.5. A boy who's love hasn't stopped even though he's been gone 5 years. A story with so many parallels to Bram's. And his sweet mama who has kindly connected to me, taught me, and loved me in the ways of being a mom to a baby you can't hold but instead have to allow your love to transcend physical and reach your baby on the other side. I've grown to love these 2 people so much. I'm so grateful to know and to have the opportunity to know N through you.

Day 13: 
grateful for lazy Sundays with the fam. We don't get them often so they are precious. Cuddles, watching the game, chicken soup, then the big guys (daddy included) playing with Tate's birthday present. Grateful.

Day 14: 
thankful for Tatum who is 8 today. My sweet boy  I had no idea what motherhood would be like, he has been so patient in teaching me how to be his mom, in forgiving my failures as a mother and loving me anyway. He is an amazing big brother. I see how broken and hurt his heart is without his little brother. While his other brothers drive him batty, I can see how he treasures them because of Bram. I love this boy so much!

Day 15: 
grateful for the space holders, grateful to know them, grateful for the babies.

Day 16: 
thankful for this day 11 months ago. When my life was great, when we were so innocent, when my family was whole, when a certain little boy danced around the house in nothing but his new shoes, gloves, and winter hat. Grateful I didn't taken it for granted when I had it.

Day 17: 
I'm grateful for Kaleb, who will be 6 in 2 months. He is hilarious. He says the funniest things like "misking" when trying to pronounce mixing, or his take on meditation  He is the boy I have no worries about where he will go, he is strong, powerful, persistent, unyielding, and when he can take a step away from his emotions to see the bigger picture empathy, compassion and understanding shine from him. He is the most challenging parts of TJ and me, which means he knows exactly how to push our buttons. But it makes him a great person and Im grateful he's here.

Day 18:
 grateful to pay our bills. I actually love paying bills. I love knowing that for another month we're ok. I love taking care of my family this way.

Day 19: 
The last 2 days have been agony, emotionally and physically. Thankful for people who have my back, who empathize with all bereaved mothers, who are so kind and gentle to me even if my hurt seems crazy.

Day 20: 
grateful for young readers. Grateful to listen to my boys reading a comic book and giggling.
Day 21: 
I'm struggling with how to articulate my gratitude for today. It's so much at once. Perspective, humility, forgiveness. The ability to see my flaws, to see my failures, and to forgive myself. I'm grateful to be on the path of learning to let go of the burdens and regrets that keep me from loving myself and keep me from being the woman I know I am capable of being.

Day 22: this is a larger gratitude, something were all grateful for and hope we never need, and it's really in response to today's early morning fires. I'm grateful for our first responders, Im grateful for their courage, their ability to face horrors and keep going. I'm especially grateful to the first responders who came to our aide, who knew Bram was dead but fought for him anyway, the ones who held me while I wailed, and bravely and broken-heartedly confessed that he had no heartbeat. To see any child the way Bram was is devastating, but they didn't want to give up on my perfect boy. They tried for him.

Day 23: 
grateful for family, the ones I came from, the ones I married into, and the ones who have stepped into my life as sisters, second mothers, or even grandmothers. I love my family, I love that they are there always, I love that they are the best people I know. For my mom, for TJ's parents, for our cousin's, for the friends that became my family. I'm grateful to you!

Day 24: 
trying to find something to be grateful for but falling short. Grateful for public transportation. It gets us where we need to be, and where it doesn't our legs will.

Day 25: I'm grateful for my mom. She loves her family so much, she gives when she doesn't have anything to give, she hangs on no matter how hard it is. When she's able to relax and just be herself she is so fun, has a great sense of humor, is so brilliant and insightful. I love her, I love listening to her stories, I love spending time with her, I love watching he love on her grandkids and teach them, I love that even though I'm all grown up she won't hesitate to take care of me. I hate living so far from her and hopefully within the next year that will end. Happy birthday mama. I'm grateful for you!

Day 26: 
Grateful for a new beginning, for second chances, for hope

Day 27: 
ashamed of my gassy night, my husband farts loudly and declares "there! Now I can't tell where the stink came from." Grateful for the humor, the potty jokes, and being able to laugh at ourselves.

Day 28: 
grateful for TJ's new job that he starts on Friday. It's taken a big leap of faith to go for it because it's going to mean some serious sacrifice for a couple weeks/month due to the smaller base pay. It's inside sales which are so much easier to close, it's only about an hour commute, and the commission is much better. We've been grateful to his current employer and how they've been there through the past year. So proud of my love! Trusting the right things will happen.

Day 29: 
grateful for my rights as a woman, specifically the right to birth where and with whom I choose. The right to choose as much or as little medical intervention as I choose including the choice of NO intervention. 

Day 30: 
Thinking of this time last year, this time when I had 2 cuddly boys in bed with us instead of just one. Bed hogs, both boys hated sleeping with a diaper on and both have always been great about not peeing through the night. Neither boy could keep blankets on but loved pulling the blanket up under their armpits before falling asleep. The smaller one in my armpit, and the bigger one held by daddy. Mommy and daddy acting as bed rails to keep them safe. Being able to wake up with baby to my front, and a baby wedged against my back. I can't say every night was comfortable, but every night was filled with love and contentment. Grateful for every moment used purposefully for bonding and connection.

Day 31: 
grateful for Bram. Grateful for 2 years, 8 months, 4 days, and 59 minutes I got to have him in my arms. Grateful for the 40ish weeks he grew in my belly. Grateful for every hug, every kiss, every giggle, every silly face, every serious complaint, every moment of sass, every moment of wonder, every moment of quite spent listening to his sleeping breath. GRATEFUL FOR BRAM!!!!!! 

Everyday day. I don't know what I've done so right to be blessed enough to be Bram's &T's &K's &A's mom. But so grateful I am.

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Thanks for reading and loving Bram!