I mentioned these not-so-subtle changes to Jason as we were doing morning bustle. Coffee. Keys. Lunches. Shoes. Hats. Mittens. Layers. So. Many. Layers.
I was absentmindedly chit chatting, venting really, so I almost missed his response: Sounds familiar. I stopped short and stared at him blankly, so he went on: You’ve been tired and crabby lately, too. He stayed away from hungry. Smart, smart man.
And while my instincts might have been to get all sorts of fired up and start WWIII with my dear, sweet lovable husband, I didn’t.
I know— I can hardly believe it either.
Because I know that he’s right. I have been all of those things that shall now not be named; overwhelmed by the too many commitments that I’ve taken on. And clearly, the best way to get all of that stress under control is to think about it. All the time.
No. It’s not.
The best way to get out of my rut is to refocus and recenter and quite literally force myself to SEE the good stuff that’s all around me. Because once I SEE it, I will begin to FEEL it, too.
Early morning snuggles. Little dog, big bone. Dance parties. Kids falling asleep together. Giggles. Rosy cheeks. Pink heart marshmallows in their hot chocolate. Kahlua in mine. Piano music. Our home. Our family.
Seeing the magic in the everyday. Taking stock of all that I have. Breathing it in. And seeing, knowing, feeling, that I am so very lucky.
That’s what gratitude is all about.
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and this red and pink-candy and chocolate-hugs and kisses-cards and kindness favorite holiday of mine is an absolutely FABULOUS time to teach my children, and to remind myself, about GRATITUDE.
The Hebrew term for gratitude is hakarat hatov, which means, “recognizing the good.” Practicing gratitude means recognizing the good that is already yours.
How amazingly wonderful-warm your heart up RIGHT NOW is that? I’ve learned this lesson before. In fact, I’ve learned it overandoverandoveragain. But sometimes we all need a sweet nothing reminder. Or a swift kick in the butt. Either one.
And seeing my girl mirror image my own sullen-ness? Was my very own custom made reminder. It’s time to refocus.
Last year for Valentine’s Day Jason and I gave the girls Gratitude Journals. Yes, they were more for Kayli, who was just beginning to stretch her writing muscles. No, I couldn’t bring myself to leave Chloe out, who in my Mama eyes was just turning from a toddler to a kid. And yes, I did thoughtlessly skip buying one for Brody who was still then, and probably always will be, The Baby. Don’t judge.
We aptly called these journals “Love Books.” Again, don’t judge.
It was simple. And fun. And so, so very sweet. It brought us together, focusing on the positive.
Admittedly, we don’t write together everyday anymore. Like many wonderful traditions that we start and have high hopes for, the Love Books get pushed to the side when life gets in the way. Dance class. Homework. Play dates. Outings. Messy house. Laundry. So. Much. Laundry.
But the books are a wonderful resource to come full circle to. As a fun activity. And as a reminder of how very good we have it. Because refocusing is a skill that I want for my children. And a finer tuned version of it for myself.
I obviously need to do due diligence and talk to my girl. Dig a little bit deeper to make sure that the crabbiness is only stemmed in being oh-so-very-almost seven.
And I also want to make sure that I’m practicing what I’m preaching and documenting my own gratitude. I suppose, in many ways, blogging serves as my gratitude sieve. I don’t have a small book that I can crack open and feel the smooth pages between my fingers. But I do have pages to scroll through. Words to read. Pictures to gaze at. And enough nostalgia to keep me teary eyed (in a good way) for a long, long time. And I need to share that goodness, that sieve, that gratitude with my kids.
For our family, I’m hoping that refocusing on gratitude, hakarat hatov, will ground us again. Make us less crabby with each other. More connected. And help us feel all of the little things that make our days so breathtakingly wonderful. Perhaps, it’ll help us all…wait for it…feel the love.
And just in time for Valentine’s Day– perfect!
Happy Valentine’s Day to you, friends! I hope that your day is bright and positive and filled with all things that are lovely and good and kind and chocolate. Never forget the chocolate.
“Practicing gratitude means recognizing the good that is already yours.” Yes. Yes. Yes. A line that *my* Mamaleh often says to me when I’m down in the dumps. This may need to become a Post-it on my bathroom mirror.
And in case I don’t tell you often enough, you Galit are one of the good things in my life. Thank you for being a friend, a source of inspiration and that woman who gets me thinking good things every Friday morning. I’m truly grateful that you’re in my life.
You have so many wonderful ideas; it is amazing.
Maybe you should start a book about parenting.
Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your collection of sweet, sweet family members!
I love this post, and love the insight and illuminations you share with us.
Those journals/books will be treasured years from now, by you, and your family.
“We aptly called these journals “Love Books.” Again, don’t judge.”
No judging from this corner, lady! It’s a beautiful idea. If I could have kids, I would want to be like you in the Mama department! Ilana Davita is right!
You are such a mindful mom! Thanks for the idea!!
Love books, gratitude books, getting your children to write…Galit you are an inspirational mother!
I’m crazy about the idea of those Books…And, indeed—A GREAT thing to go back to in these days of Crabiness…
A Very Happy Valentines Day to you, my dear, and to each of your loved ones, too! (Chocolate—The BEST Gift on V-Day….!)
I wonder if I can get my nearly-eleven-year-old boys to do this? Hmmm, wonderful idea. You do a wonderful job of keeping it real and teaching your kiddies these meaningful lessons. I admire you, lady! 🙂
February is a month that could make anyone crabby or blue. Endorphin releasing chocolate is the perfect antidote.
As I have said many times, your thoughtfulness amazes me.
This is a wonderful post Galit because we all need to be reminded of this lesson at times. For some reason, most people in our society try to do everything and I’m at the point where I don’t think it’s good or, even possible – not without losing some very important parts of our lives – the parts that in the end, we will regret not having paid more attention to.
Someone once said that gratitude is the greatest of all virtues. I only know that the more grateful I am, the more I feel I have. And, I’m grateful to have found your blog Galit – I love everything you write. Happy Valentines Day to you and your family. Big HUG!
Loved every bit of this post. You are an inspiring person and a great mom.
Great post and so true. Sometimes I lose sight of all the wonderful things I do have. I’ve noticed myself being extra stressed and tired and maybe even a little bitter lately and I really hate it. The fact that it’s the middle of the winter doesn’t help much either. But it’s definitely something I have to deal with.
What a great post. I love the idea of gratitude journals. I try so hard to appreciate my children everyday but the stress and pace of days definitely get to me more often than I would like.
Beautiful post, and a very important lesson! Thanks for sharing your wonderful hakarat hatov book idea!
Anyone else humming “The Love Boat” right now?
Not until I read this. So, yeah, thanks for that too. Or maybe not… 😉
Love this. Love this. Love everything about this. Mindful heartful mama you.
Kahlua in your hot chocolate is something to be grateful for, indeed! As are the other things on your list. But the Kahlua takes the cake.
I love the idea of the gratitude journals. I actually have an iPhone app for this that I downloaded; it is amazing how your outlook changes when you start documenting those little things. I’ve never thought about doing this for the kids, though. What a fantastic idea!!
What a wonderful, wonderful tradition. It’s scary, isn’t it how our children pick up on and mimic our moods/actions? Whenever my oldest drives me the most crazy I usually step back and recognize (with a little nudging from the hubs) that she’s acting exactly like. ME. 🙂
What a beautiful idea – gratitude journals! I wish I’d read this a few days ago but since Maya’s birthday is coming up I might add this into the mix. I love it.
A very happy belated Valentine’s Day to a wonderful mother, wife, and friend. I hope you had a great time yesterday!
Love Books or Gratitude Journals – either way, that’s such a great idea!
I hope you guys had a great Valentine’s Day!
I think there maybe something in the air.
I was just saying how these last two weeks have been strained and as much as I haven’t noticed it myself, it’s shown on Samuel. My partner pointed out to me that when I’m not on tip top form, my son mirrors that. I remember the saying the eyes are the windows to your soul – I believe there is a twist to that and your children are the window to your soul and a reflection of your emotions.
The books are a wonderful idea, I really love these and the pictures combined with the words are truly magically – you may not have the time right now to do these with them but whatever happens they will be amazing and a representation of the special bond you have.
A belated Happy Valentines to you and yours oxoxo
Oh I LOVE this idea. I’m so stealing it.
I really like the idea about love/gratitude books. We also usually add a bit during prayer time about what we are thankful for. The youngest one has said the same thing every night for the past 2 weeks… Thomas the Tank Engine. The book would be a way to refocus. Thanks for the idea!
Refocusing that is something that I have had to to do. I was so sullen, so blah. Not a fun person to be around. It is interesting how far gone we can get but I am glad there is something or someone to bring us back!! I love idea of a gratitude book. Sometimes, I like to do 5 things I am grateful in my head when I wake up. It definitely puts things in perspective.
Beautiful post. I agree, and have been saying for a long time, that hakarat hatov, doesn’t mean forcing yourself to say thank you. It means to truly see the good, once you see it, you feel it, then you express gratitude organically.