My Day In Gratitude

I woke up this morning feeling a bit blue and a bit sorry for myself. I think I was emotionally hung over from yesterday’s no-big-deal appointment with the surgeon that nonetheless left me teary. Surgery has always been the scariest part of my treatment plan—me lying unconscious in a room full of strangers, none of “my people” there to fight for me, to keep on eye on me, to keep an eye on them. And here it is, right around the corner. Real.

So this morning, after I pulled myself out of bed and pulled back the curtains to a gray, rainy day, I decided I would practice gratitude. (For a quick and beautiful and moving dose of gratitude, I highly recommend this video, brought to me by my children via their to-be-grateful-for elementary school music teacher.) Gratitude has proven itself to ease my woes, buoy my spirit, shift my perspective. As I walked through my day, I compiled a mental list:

I was grateful for Harrison, who always, including today, kisses me and hugs me and waves, “Bye!” before running off to his classroom and his independent life.

I was grateful that I got to hold Sophie’s hand as I walked her to her classroom.

Grateful that I got to leave her with Ms. Brown, teacher extraordinaire.

Grateful that I ran into a woman I adore but rarely see, and that we got to chat in the parking lot about gratitude.

I was grateful for the warm rain.

Grateful for the mysterious mist that reminds me of my hometown, San Francisco.

Grateful for a morning spent with my friend Nunia, meditating, sharing our intentions for the week, writing side-by-side.

Grateful that I as I yawned and yawned and yawned with fatigue, I was sitting on my couch, a blanket spread across my lap and nowhere I had to be and no one I had to take care of for hours.

Grateful for the Cancer Connection and for Mary Ann and her tender, healing touch during my reflexology session.

Grateful that I had a car to drive me home.

Grateful that I had a home to return to.

Grateful that when my children came home from school, the three of us laughed together in the living room while they bounced their boundless energy on the couch and I listened, really listened, to them share about their days, and for 12 whole minutes, I refrained from nagging them about putting their lunch boxes away and washing their hands.

Grateful that after they washed their hands and put their lunch boxes away, we all gathered in the same room again, where Harrison played with his Legos and Sophie played piano and I read the paper on the couch, the three of us together.

Grateful for my view of the branches through the window whenever I looked up from the paper.

Grateful for the article about giant salamander bones I got to share with Harrison and for the kids’ maze and crossword page I got to share with Sophie.

Grateful for the sound of the rain.

Grateful for my writing and my writing groups and my writing friends.

Grateful for my colleague, Julia, who always comes through for me.

Grateful for my cousin Cathy (Josh’s really, but I’m officially claiming her as my own) for giving my heart new reason to grow.

Grateful for my arms and my legs and for managing to eek out a few sit-ups and push-ups.

Grateful for the delicious quiche that Shawn delivered on my doorstep and for the time spent with my family of four—Josh, Harrison, Sophie and me eating together at the dining room table.

Grateful for my doorstep and my dining room table.

Grateful for the sound of Sophie’s snoring and the feel of Harrison’s skin as I rubbed his back.

Grateful to have this life and this day.IMG_0389

What are YOU grateful for? I would love to know. (Maybe you’ll share your own list in a comment?)

10 thoughts on “My Day In Gratitude

  1. Dear Jen- You express your gratitudes so beautifully- the day to day contacts that too often we take for granted and don’t even reflect upon… Harrison and Sophie are wonderful kids, blessed to have such loving and nurturing parents. In Vietnam I often experienced the intensity of being grateful for being alive. You write beautifully and we are here with you- all the way to your return to complete healthiness.
    love (Uncle) Stirlin


  2. I am grateful for all the gifts you are sharing with us. It is a great comfort to be able to participate in your journey even though we are separated by so many miles.
    Since you were a very small girl, you have always loved to write. As you know, there is a suitcase here in SF filled with your journals from through high school. I will remember that should we have an earthquake, I am to be sure those journals leave the house with me!
    So, I am grateful that you are getting to do something that you love so much, and that you are so very good at.
    I am grateful for the many flavors of love that this experience is bringing in to our lives.
    Under and above it all, I am grateful for YOU.


  3. I am grateful to you for inviting us into the richness of your unfolding. I am grateful to witness the beauty and eloquence of your testimony. I am grateful for the ever more abundant dimensions of love and light that this treacherous journey is generating. I am grateful to you for the beauty of your dance, your resilience, your balance. I am grateful for the quality of your teaching and your example. I am grateful for the openness in your eyes and your smile. I am grateful for you in my life.


  4. Jenny, sisterlove,
    I applaud you 100-fold for doing this blog! Now I can feel your spirit and peek in the window of your life. And I love your writing. I want to tip you to a tape that helped me immensely as I faced surgery some years ago. Here’s the link to it:
    I was skeptical of these kind of things, but Annie told me about a tape and book by a woman who was Harvard-trained doctor. She’d done studies on how guided mediation prior to surgery resulted in shorter days in the hospital, less need for drugs and less pain. I didn’t care for her voice on her tape, but found I loved these tapes by Bellaruth Naparstek. I listened to the meditation a couple times a day prior to surgery, and the biggest thing for me is that it took away my fear. It was unbelievable. Anyway . . . .if you don’t already know of this, I encourage you to try it. There WILL be “your people” surrounding you all the way. much love, lj


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