Be Thankful, Get Happy

I didn’t participate in the Facebook “month of thanks” this year because it didn’t cross my mind until ten days in.  Such is the way my brain fails me.

I’m just going to do a 31 item list here and call it good.  I really do feel grateful every day, and I don’t always say so out loud.  So, picture me saying these things out loud, like maybe standing on a stage or something, with my arms flailing or my hands cupped around my mouth, yelling out.  I’m smiling and I’m making lots of eye contact and maybe I even tear up a bit.  The gratefulness is real, ya’ll.

I’m thankful for:

  1. recipes in my grandmother’s handwriting
  2. clean underwear
  3. pictures of my children when they were very little
  4. toast
  5. untroubled sleep, when I can get it
  6. a cup of strong hot coffee
  7. skinny dipping
  8. unconditional sloppy dog love
  9. rosemary
  10. sharing a mini with my favorite people
  11. soft wool socks
  12. encouragement
  13. this one student in my homeroom this year who can’t start his day until he comes to say good morning to me, and, as he explains it, see if my face is okay (a sweet way of checking my mood, I think)
  14. that time I swam with dolphins in New Zealand
  15. silly straws
  16. five people who call me Auntie
  17. the ability to run pain free
  18. white Christmas lights
  19. daisies
  20. maps
  21. fireworks over Swan Lake
  22. leaves on trees blowing in the wind
  23. libraries
  24. when the right words come at the right time
  25. a heartfelt ‘thank you’
  26. living long enough to understand why some really difficult things happened at all
  27. watching my kids doing things they love
  28. holding hands
  29. future plans
  30. solving a great word problem
  31. love in all its forms

A Touch of the Ireland I’ve Missed

Every Thursday, local musicians gather at Belfast’s Darby’s Restaurant to riff on baseline Celtic tunes.  Last week, my husband Guy decided to join in on guitar, and I then decided to go along and check it out.  The truth is, I tend to get awfully home-bodied this time of year, read:  from now until the mid-April. This doesn’t do much for me, so I’m keeping my wool hat and mittens (the ones I bought in Ireland) by the door, and I vow to say YES! when asked to do something not inside this house.

Bottom line, I decided to go.  And I’m really glad I did.  I met some really nice people: Hello, Jody and Daisy! Thanks for the CDs!  I heard some delightful music – a combination of guitar, fiddle, penny whistle, mandolin, a bodhran, and an accordion.  The musicians memorize everything they play.  One starts a tune, and eventually they all join in blending their own talents with those of the others.  This was much like what we heard in Dingle and in Doolin on our Ireland trip in July – which made me happy.

Afterwards, I had a lovely walk in this sweet little town we call home.


If you’re ever feeling the desire to go sit with a friend and have a beer, somewhere cozy and warm, I suggest Ireland.  But if you can’t go there, try a Thursday night at Darby’s in Belfast, Maine instead.  You won’t regret it.


One for Each

With basketball and swim seasons quickly approaching, and the surety of cozy dinners home together looking like a distant memory, I’ve been wanting to connect with my kids.  I know I’m not alone in feeling like there are days we barely pass each other in the kitchen for a high five, let alone a sit-down conversation about things that matter.

So. Early in the week, I invited each of my children to choose something (s)he and I could do alone together.  I chose cards for each of them, each one unique, with an individualized message about how much I treasure them in my life.  I left the cards on their pillows for when they would climb into bed, tired from the day, and have something to ponder and then look forward to.

Since Garrett, now 16, does his homework in his bedroom, he found his card early in the evening instead.  He came down the stairs, where I was reading in my comfy, plush brown chair. Not even half way down, he declared “I haven’t decided what I want to do!  Maybe the mall!  Maybe a movie! What about going out to dinner?!”  I told him he didn’t have to tell me right away, that he could think it over.  “Sweet!” he said, and bounded back up,

Natalie, 10, found hers at bedtime and shyly came in to my room where I was snuggled up, again reading.  She said nothing, but held the card up for me to see.  “Have you decided what you’d like to do?” I asked her.  “I’d like to go to a craft store,” she responded, “and get something crafty to do together.”  When I said we could do that she hugged me tight.

Luke ,14, said nothing to me until I asked him if he’d found his envelope — the following evening.  I asked him if he’d had a chance to think about my card.  “Yes,” he answered, “but I can’t decide.  What would you like to do?”  Cue melting heart.

And this little scene here, described minimally and by candlelight, if you will, captures so perfectly my three offspring.  It’s no wonder I miss them so when they’re moving so fast I can hardly keep up.  But I take comfort in knowing that they are who they are, and I know who they are, and no amount of busy-ness will change either of those things.




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