Friday, November 11, 2011

On Gratitude

Two years ago, I wrote about being grateful for the knowledge that comes with a celiac diagnosis, and more than that, for the simple gift of being present at Thanksgiving, instead of being in the hospital.

Last year, I wrote about being grateful for the amazing blessing of my newborn baby girl, and for all the dedicated health care professionals, advanced technology, and support that allowed both of us to make it. I also wrote about how complicated an emotion gratitude can be when to comes to serious illness.

Here we are, twelve months later.

Motherhood. In the best way possible, it throws all the pieces of you up in the air and when they settle back down to the ground, they are forever rearranged. Family illness, work, writing a Book, (and yes, that’s a capital “B” in my head)—in ways less luminous and more wearying, they also throw up the pieces of me, the pieces that make up us, and reconfigure them all.

And here I am, a year since my last gratitude post, a year removed from the immediacy of birth and the physicality of newborn-hood. A year removed from the decision to re-structure the whole book, and now some 85,000 words in a new direction. A year and six classes and multiple committees removed from the end of maternity leave. A year of negotiations and boundaries and compromises that accompany being a mother and a daughter, a patient and a caregiver.

Amid so many changes, I am at extremes (as usual).

I find myself grateful for the smaller details, noticing them in more vivid technicolor than the pale backdrop of daily life: a chuckle over the monitor; an unsolicited hug. An unexpectedly light commute that means I am home earlier to play; unseasonably warm weather that means one more day at the playground. Putting on my headphones and squeezing in some revision hours; finishing the very last paper of a deluge. Making time to try a new recipe; eating dinner in the dining room together because that makes a Wednesday night something better than. The magic of a Thursday night, when the meat of the week is behind me. Coffee with a friend. A clean house.

And the much bigger stuff: To witness my husband take a risk and follow his dream, so that when he tells our daughter to do that some day, it will not ring hollow. To able to work on a book that explores questions I didn’t know the answers to, because really what more can a nonfiction writer ask for?

And the biggest thing of all, the thing that is immeasurable, the thing that still makes me catch my breath in the grocery store aisle and smile to myself when I think of a certain smile: grateful to be somebody’s mother, grateful to be her mother.


Never That Easy said...

That's an adorable little girl, lucky mama. Gratitude and all of its complexities (especially when living with chronic illness) are so worth exploring, and your post is a great exploration of that.

Julie Horrigan said...

As always, your words make me think and really feel. Why am I misty-eyed right now?!? : )

Aviva said...

What a gorgeous, happy-looking kid! Love that smile, which looks an awful lot like yours does in photos. :)

Life is complicated, more so when you're a parent, and triply so when you through chronic illness into the picture.

Wishing you and yours the best, always.

Audrey said...

Great post and picture Laurie!! You are a busy one!!!! Mwah!

Nancy Ulrich said...

What a sweetie. And so fortunate to have a caring mom and dad. I especially liked your husband's gutsy move to follow his dream. Wonderful dog food site. Hope it's going well for you all.

Nancy said...

Happy baby. And lucky to have parents that have the guts to follow their dreams. I also like your husband's dog food site!

Laurie said...

Thanks so much for the comments! It's a busy time of year, but all the more reason to stop and think about what matters.

Wendy Love said...

I have just come upon your blog and have enjoyed it so much. Your writing style is appealing and I plan to come back. I have subscribed. Thanks especially for your gratitude list. Have to do that too!

Anonymous said...

Wishing you well.

Anonymous said...

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