Grateful List

The other day I was out walking my dog, heading to our usual park, when I noticed a mother and her young daughter walking in the opposite direction of me. The girl looked like a first grader, about 6 or 7 years old. I overheard her asking her mom where they could go explore. They were looking to find rocks to paint. She was so excited, smiling from ear to ear and loudly bouncing ideas off her mom about what she could paint. “A puppy! A sunflower! A pet rock for my teacher!” were some of her ideas. The mom’s smile and enthusiasm were just as big as her daughters. It was the shortest, most simple conversation but one that I continued to think about for the duration of my walk.

I couldn’t help but smile thinking about this family and this first grader. It was early afternoon on a Tuesday. The girl should have been in school (like me) and perhaps mom at work. Yet because we are in this pandemic, they were able to spend quality time together – exploring, painting rocks, having fun, making memories.

This made me think about how life can be perceived in many different ways, and what matters most is the way in which we choose to view it (the girl should be in school right now but can’t go, she’s falling behind because of the pandemic vs. the girl gets to have a special day spending time with her mom which she wouldn’t have had on a typical Tuesday). I thought about the many things to be grateful for right now during this uncertain time and decided to make my own list. Because when all of this is over, these are the things I want to remember.

I’m grateful for:

1. My husband. Being quarantined with my favorite person.

2. Our health. The ability to exercise. To wake up each day, pain free.

3. Our loving families. Their health.

4. Having the sweetest pup to go on long walks with. To keep me company.

5. The freedom to choose how I want to spend my day (while maintaining social distancing guidelines and getting my work done).

6. Zoom meetings with my best friends. Having people in my life who check in on me.

7. The ability to stay connected with my students. To see their smiling faces each week. For their parents and all the work they are doing at home.

8. Still having my job that I love. My paycheck. Financial freedom.

9. Our home. That feeling of comfort and safety. Where we live – the lake and parks surrounding us.

10. All the incredible essential workers working tirelessly, taking care of our community and keeping us safe. Including my mama.

Even the most simple things are things to be grateful for:

  • Bike rides.
  • Sunshine (and sometimes even sunburns).
  • Delicious meals made right from our kitchen.
  • Unconventional dates.
  • Long drives. Trips to Bellingham.
  • Netflix (especially The Office right now).
  • Sushi take out.
  • Barre workouts on Zoom.
  • My cozy weighted blanket.
  • Fuzzy house slippers.
  • John Legend live concerts on Instagram
  • Days of rest. Days of work. Days exploring
  • Secluded picnics. Beautiful views. Sunsets.
  • Conversations that make me smile.
  • Time – to slow down and to reflect.

Even with the world in the state that it is in, there is much to be grateful for. I think right now more than ever, it’s important to pause and think about these things. The things that bring us joy, that we appreciate, that we are thankful for, big or small – even if it’s something as simple as painting rocks.

Perception truly matters. What’s on your grateful list?