Practicing daily gratitude saves me as a parent, a friend, a partner, a teacher, a sister, and a daughter. I need to share this story with you. Thank you, as always, for being part of this journey!
Finally the tears and the inability to catch my breath hit me. My heart pounded hard. Sweat, shooting from my pores, soaked my shirt . Six hours ago her – our sitter's – name lit up my iPhone screen. When I saw she was calling, I was surprised:
“We had only just texted minutes ago.” I thought
Practicing Daily Gratitude
I picked up the phone: “What's up, lady?” I answered casually.
Barely audible through her hysterics, I caught a few words.
I knew there had been an accident. I got that much. She was scared. I knew that much, too.
“Ok, you need to catch your breath and slow down. I need to be able to understand you.”
I responded seemingly in control. My instincts were good. I was in control. No hysterics on my end. No way. No how.
“It's my fault. Oh, it's bad. It is so very bad. I'm so, so sorry.” Her words spewed out of my iPhone, lost in an ambush of wailing.
“Tell me: are you ok? Is the baby ok?” I demanded from her.
“Yes. Yes. We are okay.” She perked up.
“Are the others ok?”
“Yes, we are all okay.” She focused on my questions.
Our sitter and 1.5 year old were driving home from a playdate and an accident occurred, innocently. Wrecked cars and bruised egos. I can handle those obstacles. Accidents happen.
Still, with this knowledge, my hands shook at the wheel as I reached for my keys to start the car. I needed to get to them.
“FUCK!!” I screamed in the driver's seat.
I wasn't angry. An inconvenience at best.
No. One. Was. Hurt.
“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” Robert Brault
So, I began to count my blessings, literally. I started making a list of all the things in the moments of today that bring me happiness and gratitude. My engine immediately came down and I felt centered again.
Related Read: Hey Parents! Yes, You Can Teach Kindness!
Try it. Next time you are panicked, stressed out, or find your heart rate elevated take a step back and consider the awesomeness in that moment.
When you child won't fall asleep without your arms wrapped around him – he wants to be close to you.
When your child begs you to go on the trampoline again – he wants to play with you.
When your child wants your attention (“Mama, Mama, Mama…”) for what seems like the 100th time that day – he wants to share with you.
When your sitter and your baby have been in a car accident – any minor change of fate (different car, baby seat in a different spot, and so on) could have had resulted in a remarkably different outcome that wouldn't leave me here writing to you today. I would be devastated. My life would be tipped upside down. I know. I have been in that position.
So, I knew, yesterday afternoon, to embrace my sitter and my baby, tell them I love them, tell her I trust her, that she did what she needed to do, that reacted as best as she could. I knew to meet the eyes of the others in the accident to let them know my gratitude for their safety.
Adversity breeds strength and all kinds of goodness, friends. No matter how big or small the adversity lands in your life, or on your heart, use it to be better. Use it to become stronger. Don't ignore the waves of emotion. Don't pretend “it” didn't impact you. Embrace it.