It’s not just Monday. It’s the Monday after Halloween, a few days off the full moon. The kids had a three-day weekend (Friday PA day). And we just changed the clocks. School was a bit wacko today.
It would figure that – less than 24 hours after I’d mentioned how well the kids were sleeping lately, HA – my daughter woke up at 1:40 needing cuddles and tried to infiltrate our bed, and it took almost an hour to get her back where she should be. And I’d already had trouble getting to sleep (the clock change messes with me too).
I’m grateful for that sleepy 6-week-old golden lab puppy I got to pet, right when I arrived at school. That’ll make your day.
I’m grateful for absolutely beautiful fall weather that didn’t look or feel like November.
I’m grateful for a completely unexpected cooperation and problem-solving between two difficult students, on today of all days, that meant I didn’t have to mediate at all. Amazing.
I’m grateful for my colleagues who understand everything we all go through, who work so hard and really want the best for – and out of – those kids.
And I’m really grateful that our Federation and the provincial government have finally, finally reached a tentative agreement, so we can hope that school life will go back to normal soon.
This past week, we were having a play date at Skye’s house, and she gave me a very gentle and encouraging nudge about this month. She reminded me that I need to write in November. It’s true. I have been letting writing fall off my radar a lot, and Skye knows (as many of you do) that it’s good for me.
So here is my first post of the month, with a theme for y’all: gratitude.
I’m presently reading (along with three different book club books because I keep not finishing them) The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown. It is a very humbly- and intimately-written book, recommended to me by a friend, about things to work on in order to be one of those people who lives life not only with gusto (“Wholeheartedly”), but at peace with imperfections – one’s own and those of others. It has given me several Aha moments already.
One of the big themes in the book is gratitude. Not just gratitude, but deliberate thankfulness for ordinary as well as extraordinary things. I know it’s one of the buzzwords of our time, and that Oprah totally got on that train at least fifteen years ago, and going on about gratitude might at some points end up sounding cheesy or sanctimonious or smug… but it’s a worthy exercise nonetheless. I think of myself as a pretty appreciative person, because I am, in my heart, profoundly aware of how lucky I am to be me, but I find that doesn’t necessarily help me during those times when my patience is almost at zero and I’m not sure I can stop myself from, for example, yelling at my kids (again). I thought, Brené, good idea.
Then a few days ago, another friend decided to turn a bad day into a good one by pouring out gratitude instead of complaint on her Facebook status. I felt good just reading it.
When I think of focusing on the things I’m thankful for this month, it sounds so easy to ask myself to write every day. (Famous last words be damned.) I know I said something similar last year when I was going to do 100 Happy Days (still haven’t finished those) but I was having so many technical blog issues that the process was bringing me down.
So this year, I’m going to try not to take things too seriously. I just want to get back into the swing. Some days it will be brief, and some days it might be partly off-topic. But I want to be grateful, and I want to be writing… so I will.
Today, I’m grateful for Skye, for that nudge. (At first I typed “nudget.” That’s totally what it was. A nice, friendly little nudget.) Also, I’m grateful for our Halloween tradition of getting together to do whatever fun thing we can manage. (Used to be watching non-scary somewhat-Halloween-related movies, but now that we both have kids, it’s accompanying the trick-or-treaters and watching them eat candy.) This year, little G (the lion) wins the citizenship award for wishing almost everybody we encountered a Happy Halloween, in his adorable toddler way.
And I’m grateful for these kids. It was really fun to watch them have so much fun, and to watch people’s faces as they took in the cuteness.
While I’m at it, I was grateful last night for the realization that Halloween is not just about sugar, and not even about dressing up; it’s a lot about seeing and chatting with your neighbours, and feeling the community. We haven’t met large numbers of people in the neighbourhood yet, but we knew a few before we arrived, and the folks on our tiny street are lovely, and we are recognizing more neighbours every day. It’s a really friendly place. With lots of kids (grateful for that too).
Finally, I’m grateful for archival footage of my babies, so I will never forget just how delicious their little cheeks were. Let’s throw in a couple of re-runs, just for fun.
Hoping my technical difficulties might take a coffee break, I’m attempting to backpublish a post from… several days ago. (I wouldn’t want you to think that Jian Ghomeshi had completely quashed the possibility of happy days.)
Here’s some happy from Day 3, even though they’re pics from October 31st. Because they can make me smile any day of the year. (Even though excited kids standing still enough for a clear photo on Halloween simply did not occur.) Plus, costumes are fun EVERY DAY.
And if you think that wee giraffe looks just like another wee giraffe you might have seen a few years ago… you’re right.
By day he’s a dragon. (With a hungry caterpillar sidekick.)
By night, he’s a giraffe.
He’d heard all about trick-or-treating from the other kids, so was all revved up for his first time out, saying, “I need candy!” (This from a kid who’s barely eaten candy, ever.)
Skye and I took him down the street, and he was so happy to be out there, seeing the jack-o-lanterns and decorations and especially that mailbox that lit up and howled. He said “Trick or treat!” like a pro, and everyone smiled at our tiny, chatty little giraffe. When I would remind him, “What do you say?” in hopes of a thank-you, he had decided that “Happy Halloween!” was the appropriate response. It was SO. CUTE. He would have kept going, if we hadn’t magically arrived at our own house.
We got around 30 trick-or-treaters – more than last year, if I remember right! Yay.
Daddy carved our jack-o-lanterns.
I also made these funny things (thanks for the cool idea, Accustomed Chaos!) – vegetarian filling with brown rice, soy beef, corn, salsa, cheese, and seasoning.
As you can imagine, our wee giraffe did not feel much like going to bed. Man, I love that kid. Now I remember why Halloween is fun.