I usually try to make a list of all the things I'm thankful for on the second Monday in October, as that is when we celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada. However, life caught me by surprise (I'm not so fond of surprises, generally), and now I'm making my gratitude list in November, on American Thanksgiving. It's all the same really, when it comes out in the wash.
I'm sitting on my couch in the gloaming. I'm surrounded by wash-racks filled to overflowing with clean laundry languishing in the damp weather. Will the towels, flannels and baby-grows ever dry? Little M is curled up in her bouncy chair, chewing hard on a soother and fighting sleep.
Things are slowly starting to return to a new equilibrium. I cherish these stolen moments when I can spend a few minutes reading, writing, drawing or working on a project.
Here are a few things I'm grateful for right now:
1. A minute; a second; a moment in which I can take a deep breath and feel like myself again. Sharpen a pencil; turn the page of a book; open my mind to thoughts that are wider than these four walls and those 10 fingers.
2. Those 10 fingers. Darling little hands that are now learning to hang on tight to our fingers, or her favourite blanket.
3. Starbucks. I'm not generally a fan of big, chain coffee-shops, but our local Starbucks has become my new best friend. Not because of their coffee (which is still mediocre), but because they have loads of space inside to park our chariot of a stroller so baby and I can sit comfortably and not feel like we're in anyone's way.
4. Three people whose names start with M. You know who you are. You are the anchor around which I'm floating at the moment.
5. Watching the leaves turn colour and gently float to the pavement. Autumn is my favourite season. Everything about it feels so rich and layered. I especially love taking a turn around the Quiet Garden in Queens Park, where the caretakers are busily cleaning up the summer flower beds and planting their winters blooms (cyclamen, being a favourite).
6. A new sketchbook. And lots of blank pages waiting to be filled with new ideas.
7. Online grocery deliveries. I don't know what I'd do without it. We get our shopping delivered every Tuesday afternoon. I'm so relieved that I don't have to trek to the grocery store, push a shopping cart around the crowded aisles, and then haul the heavy bags home on the bus. Yesterday I told our delivery man that he needed to be quiet because my baby daughter was napping. He winked and obligingly whispered and tiptoed as he unloaded all the groceries. Amazing.
8. Coffee table art books and exhibition catalogues. I'm spending stolen moments pouring over the glossy pages of gorgeous illustrations and artwork. So much to inspire and nourish the soul.
9. Naps. All the parenting books say: when she sleeps, you sleep. Amen.
10. The fact that I can be grateful. Sometimes life can seem pretty fuzzy, and it's hard to focus and see all the small blessings abounding. But they're there, if you only look for them!
What are you grateful for today? This moment?