You wouldn’t really blame me, would you, if I said I feared the holiday season? It’s not the idea of cooking (though that terrifies me) or the idea of company for more than three days (that terrifies me too). No, for the same reasons Pavolv’s dogs salivated at the sound of the bell, I have a conditioned response to the holidays and unfortunately it’s not a good one.
To be fair, I should say that I USED to fear this time of year. I’m getting over it. This time five years ago, I heard though the grapevine that I would be losing my high profile job. This happened as I was finalizing plans to have my mastectomy. Two years later, during the same time of year, I was hospitalized with a respiratory infection that resulted in my hair falling out. A year later, a job that I just KNEW was going to change my luck and give my family a firm financial footing, didn’t materialize. And on it went.
As I said, that’s all changing because I decided that instead of looking at what I didn’t have, what I had gone through and wondering why me, I was going to start looking at the stuff that was going right in my life. So here they are five things I am thankful for:
- My Family: I know everyone says that, but I really mean it! I think of my family as a buffer against the storms of life. I’ve got a great husband who’s been with me through this time of transition, both physical and occupational. I have these two great kids, who remind me daily that I am doing something right. It’s such a joy to watch them mature into young adults. Even better when they seem to now understand the basics of good hygiene!
- My Health: I couldn’t say that a few years ago. Weak from my five-hour operation, it took the better part of a year for me to regain my strength after my mastectomy. I wasn’t sure I would ever be the same. It took time, but with diet and steady exercise I’m as strong as I used to be. Well, almost.
- My Hair: This was the biggest surprised of all. I have always had a love-hate relationship with my hair, mainly because I was trying to get it to do something it didn’t want to or wasn’t designed to do (sound familiar?). When my hair fell out I decided no more chemicals and I was going to accept it for what it was. That was pivotal in my reinvention because it was around that time I really started accepting ME for who I was. Plain ol’, imperfect, Good Enough Mother!
- My Home: I complain about the housework. I complain that I can’t close the refrigerator door because there’s too much stuff inside. I complain that I can hear the kids shouting from their rooms. But the reality is that the housework is done in the house that I own; the full refrigerator means no one will go hungry and the kid’s have their own rooms. Time to stop complaining.
- My Passion: I get tired and like everyone else, sometimes I want to give up. But I don’t. Why? Because I feel like, at this late age, I found my life’s work. I’m happy to share my health and hair stories as well as my parenting foibles if it makes women feel better about the job they are doing as wives and mothers. I want them to be okay with taking themselves off the bottom of the “to-do” list and to understand that by taking care of themselves, they truly ARE taking care of their families.
- So I’ll be counting my blessings as I peer over the dinner we could afford to buy and that my husband made (which is of course, one more thing to be thankful for). I’ll rejoice in the one hour ceasefire among the warring factions and marvel, like I do every year, at how grown my children are and how blessed I am to be a part of their lives. No one said this life would be easy but even in the struggle it is a beautiful thing.
What will you be thankful for this holiday season?
By Evenflo Savvy Parenting Expert Rene Syler, founder of Good Enough Mother