Yesterday, I posted Days 1-10 of the 21 Day Gratitude Challenge. Here are Days 11-20. I'll save the final day for Thanksgiving-- I think that's especially appropriate, don't you?
Day 11- What made you smile today?
I love when I come home and the kids are already home. I can hear them running around and giggling (and sometimes screaming, fighting). I get a little giddy with excitement as I think about seeing their faces and getting hugs. Today was one of those days. I smiled.
Day 12- What is the best mistake you have ever made?
My first marriage was definitely a mistake, and it definitely isn't one that I would repeat if I had to do all over again. That being said, it was the best mistake because it taught me some very valuable lessons, the least of which being: When someone shows you who they are, believe them. They sure as hell don't change. But, more importantly, the biggest lesson I learned was that I am way stronger and more resilient than I had given myself credit for before. That's a life lesson worthy of the mistake.
Day 13- Who inspires you to be your best self?
My children, obviously. As I watched Emily trying to imitate as I sang along with the radio this morning, I was reminded once again that they are always watching and trying to be just like us. That's an awesome, yet terrifying responsibility.
Day 14- When has nature taken your breath away?
This one is hard since I have been lucky enough to see some beautiful places, but for this ocean- loving girl, few sights are more breath-taking to me than the sun coming up or going down on the water. Here's a sunrise I snapped while we were on our wedding cruise.
Day 15- Who shaped your inner compass?
My family. At first I was going to say my parents, and no doubt, they were big factors. But, growing up, I spent time with both of my grandmothers. I shared and fought with siblings and cousins. I was spoiled by my aunts. Who I am, what I value, how I respond, it's in large part to the galvanizing force of family.
Day 16- What is your most cherished gift?
As a little girl, I was fascinated by this doll's head with pearl earrings that sat on the shelf at my Grandma Retha's house. Every time I visited, I had to check on the doll's head and make sure it was still there. I often told Grandma how I loved it, and she always told me she would make sure it was mine one day. Several Christmases ago, before Grandma's Alzheimer's got really bad, she surprised me with my most cherished gift ever-- the doll's head! (After doing a little research, the head is actually a vase, and these head vases were popular in the 40and 50s).
Of course, I loved the gift of the doll, but the note I found inside was just as priceless. Apparently, this piece had had my name on it for quite a few years.
Day 17- Who in your life are you under appreciating?
Marty. He takes the brunt of my frustrations, which have recently manifested themselves in the form of full- on adult tantrums. Can't find my keys? Marty's fault. Car ran out of gas? Marty's fault. Raining and cold? Marty's fault. Yet, through it all being his fault, he makes it possible for me to keep things relatively in balance. He pulls his weight, and I know I don't tell him enough.
Day 18- What skill do you value most in yourself?
I like to think that one of my skills is the ability to read a situation, to see and hear what's not being shown or said, and to respond in a way that takes in the big picture.
Day 19- What can you say "thank you" for in this moment?
It's cold outside. Really cold. And I have a nice, warm house, filled with food, clothing, and lots of creature comforts that I love but don't need. I am beyond blessed.
Day 20- What have you lost and learned from?
Since today is my birthday, I can say with all the seriousness in the world that I have lost my youth. Sure, I miss the body and the energy of my earlier years, but I wouldn't trade the wisdom of the years for the reckless innocence of my youth. Okay, maybe for a day (or ten)...But, then I'd take my 38 year old body back.