Gratitude. Schmaditude.

It’s a term that’s very popular, especially this time of year, but what do we really know about it?

I can rattle off my “short list” pretty quickly and easily:

Motherhood

Without a doubt, THE blessing of my life! Privileged in every way to not only be A MOM, but to be THEIR MOM.

I travelled to the Russian Far East to bring my babies home. It’s a weird thing. I always knew I wanted to be a mother. I always knew there was something missing in my life. At age 45, I decided to adopt and miraculously these two angels came to be mine. I really knew nothing about them, other than it was “love at first sight.”

I sort of rolled the dice with my fellas – not knowing very much at all about their family history or their early days in the orphanage – but fortunately, they survived unscathed and are happy, healthy and well-adjusted.

Family

I love my friends, but the one thing that remains constant is family.  Ours has certainly lived through its tragedies and losses, but our love for one another cannot be broken. We have leaned on one another and supported one another.

We differ in our political and religious beliefs, but we refuse to allow that to interfere with our relationship. I am happiest when I am with my family, or as I like to call them, “the whole fam damily.”

Health

This is a biggie for me. Partly because of what I do for a living and partly because of my own life experiences, I realize that no one is immune or exempt from health issues or loss.  I am seriously grateful that I have my health and I work really hard to prioritize keeping healthy.

I feel self-conscious bragging on my physical pursuits because of my friends, family and clients who are physically unable to do the things I do. So, I hope you don’t take me the wrong way, but I am so very grateful that I can still do all the things I love to do at age 60!  I hope to be stronger and faster at 70 than I am now.

Financial Security

Here is another one that could be taken the wrong way. I am sort of freakish about financial security because my own parents and many of my relatives lacked financial security and I saw the stress it placed on them. I vowed to hopefully never find myself in that situation. I have friends, family and clients who have been “wiped out” by injuries and illness through no fault of their own and I feel very bad for the stress it places on them.

Okay, Enough About Me

What about those who seemingly have nothing to be grateful for? These are the people who inspire me. Some of the most grateful people I know are those with the poorest health, the most meager of finances, or the most devastating losses. 

Many of my clients come to mind. There is a particular client who suffered a disabling spinal cord injury that leaves him in constant pain. But if you ask him how he is doing he always replies, “I am blessed.”

As the old expression goes, “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle”, but sometimes you have to wonder! If I take long to ponder the tragic losses I have endured, I could feel sorry for myself. I could become a “victim.” I do believe that is the technical name for it. “Victim.”

But, I am able to stay grounded and grateful because of the people I talk to day in a day out who are struggling mightily.

I am no expert on the matter, but I am humbled by the many people whose paths I cross who find ways to be grateful. Like the quote says, ”There are always flowers for those who want to see them.”

May you each find the flowers that are there for you and remember to stop and smell a few of them along the way – especially this holiday season!