Sunday, November 29, 2015


The food coma is over. At least for the weekend. There are still leftovers in the fridge, and as we await the next full-on culinary attack, I figure this is a good time to count my blessings (which thankfully are mainly calorie free).

I'm eternally thankful for Earbaby. She is a royal pain in the (well, you know) many days, but she's also healthy. And anyone who has been even a little ill knows that without your health, you have nothing. EB has always been a healthy kid, which I'm assuming comes more from God's grace than the nutrition(less) diet she has been on. Apparently there's enough in her DNA to counteract a lifetime of sandwiches, not enough sleep and probably too much exercise.

And I'm grateful for the good moods. She's funny, insightful, loving, giving, forgiving and generous to a fault (especially with our money). She doesn't seem to lack for friends and when I hear of other people with teens who struggle in that department, I am a little more grateful. Someone with 11 children recently told me "only children are lonely children." She seemed to pity me. I told her she was mistaken. Outings with friends and sleepovers are always encouraged and granted. Friends are welcome here always. She cherishes her alone time, such as it is. Teenagers are always connected. They text and facetime constantly and can be in a room alone and still be with a group of people.

Even as I try to figure out what I'm going to pursue for work the rest of my life, I remain grateful for the time. The first few weeks of being unemployed were a blur of busyness and panic, along with recurring doses of depression. Lunch with a friend and former colleague gave me the perspective I need, and helped me to see that I'm not alone. But I won't lie, slowly disconnecting is still disorienting.

I'm grateful for my in-laws. I've been truly blessed by being a part of my husband's family. When others are frustrated by snarkiness, digs, passive-aggressive and downright insults from the relatives they acquired through marriage, I can only listen and sympathize. But I can't relate. I've always liked them and they seem to like me. When my father-in-law died at the beginning of the year, my husband's family pulled together, not apart. No one took opportunities for nastiness or visitations to former fallouts or perceived slights. As someone who has seen firsthand how death and/or divorce changes people for the worst, I was pleased, but not at all surprised, that none of those traits came to pass. I married into a truly classy clan.

I have nothing but gratitude for the sacrifice my younger sister makes every day in caring for our elderly mother. It's not easy to be the primary caregiver of a parent, even when the parent is relatively healthy. It's a constant battle when one person wants to be treated as the adult she is and the other struggles to keep the former parent-child paradigm. My sister is truly a saint, even though I'm sure there are plenty of days when her saintliness is truly put to the test. I appreciate her, even when she thinks no one knows how hard it really is for her. I know. We all know.

And then there is also gratitude that my mother is still alive. She is blind, which limits her quality of life. But at 92, she is otherwise still healthy, fully cognizant and still engaged in the goings-on of her family, to the extent that she can be. If she weren't blind, she would probably be more adventurous, but she does get some enjoyment from time spent with her family. My hope is that she will be able to spend more time with EB in the coming year. But I'm grateful that EB has at least one grandparent left. It's an important bond for both of them.

I'm grateful for my husband, who still seems happy that I'm home every day. This change in our life plans has been jarring for me, but he has embraced having me home full-time for the first time in more than 15 years. The days of juggling have gotten a lot easier for both of us. I had figured after a couple of weeks, he would be begging me to find a job, any job, just to get out of the house. Instead, he's been encouraging me to just relax, take time for myself. Everyone is telling me to give myself permission to take it easy for awhile.

I'll be really grateful on the day I figure out just how to do that.

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