Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

'Till We Meet Again

Thank you, Grandpa, for sharing your life with us. I'll cherish the memories, your resounding laugh and the bone-crushing hugs.

October 8, 1917 - December 8, 2010

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Thoughts on Gratitude

Someone once said that a woman's sigh is a pressure release...she must sigh lest she explode.

It's that time of year again. And I sigh for several reasons. The head-spinning travel schedule our family experiences each season, observing three holidays in the space of one month, a theme of remembrance and contemplation I adopt each season, simply parenting our precocious children...oh...and Sascha and I are both kind of tired.

But the primary reason I sigh today is over the "Get v. Give" nature of this season combined with an increasingly aware 4 year old. Of course, his focus is on the "get" portion of the festivities and his Christmas list has reached inordinate lengths since its commencement last spring. However, teaching him the difference between a "wish list" and a "shopping list" is another matter entirely.

If I weren't such an all-or-nothin' gal (i.e. if I didn't care so much) I probably wouldn't be as spiritually challenged here. However, some soul-searching over the past 4 months has brought to light a major theme for me and, ergo, my family.


In this world of "must have it all and if I don't I must get it and nothing is ever enough" (of which 4 year olds must take the prize), I am increasingly aware of the vast importance of gratitude in our daily round and the importance of passing that awareness of "having enough" on to the children. Now, I know it's a process, not a destination so I'm trying to focus on the moments. They are few and far between.

However, sometimes the sun bursts from the clouds so quickly you are almost blinded. This morning I was filling out my Niyama chart* and came across the box for "I thought about how I want my day to be". Since I'm feeling ill today, I thought "restful" would be a good intention to set but I chose to pose the question to Ari and see what he thought.

"What kind of day would be good today, Ar? Should it be a restful day?" I asked.

"No. How about grateful?!" he suggested.

Eureka. This one was a sigh of satisfaction...and gratitude.

"I think that is fantastic, Sweetie, thank you so much!" I said trying to hold back tears.

Of course, a half hour later he was attempting to talk his way into keeping our Toys for Tots donation. The debate did not end in his another item made its way onto his Christmas list.

*The "My Niyamas" (My Habits) chart is something Ari's preschool sends home each week as part of their emotional literacy curriculum. It lists several healthy habits (sleep, intentions, healthy eating, hygiene, gratitude, exercise) throughout the day and the kids check them off as they go through their week. Ari's not really into it so I thought I'd do it for myself and hang our charts up together...I'm finding that I'm not able to check off that many boxes. Hm.