Giving Thanks ~ practicing gratitude vs. the grand gesture

Yesterday was Canadian Thanksgiving and we officially experienced our first “Holiday” away from our hometowns and our home country. It was a bit surreal. Everything in my head told me that it would be hard and it wouldn’t be the same. In my heart though, I was feeling content.

As we are fortunate enough to have the beauty of technology,  I was able to FaceTime into my family having dinner and watch my uncle open his birthday presents. I was able to chat with my mom and my girls were able to share their day with their Nanny. When I first ended the phone call, I will admit, I shed a few tears. I was having a bit of FOMO combined with real, honest to goodness homesickness. Then, I took a deep breath and remembered that last Thanksgiving I would have given anything to have my little family of four all under one roof. And there they were, playing and doing homework while I made a beautiful turkey dinner. My husband ran around town chauffeuring the girls to and from school while I set the table, prepped dessert and chilled the wine. In that deep breath I found a bit of peace while practicing gratitude.

Giving Thanks isn’t about being appreciative of the big moments solely, its about being able to practice gratitude in the moments of challenge and to be thankful for the little moments. Those moments of normal, every day living. Gratitude to have two beautiful girls, who challenge me daily, challenge my patience and make me question if I am doing things right. Thankful to have my amazing husband here to help with the day to day and to enjoy life great experiences with. Thankful to have family and friends at home who cherish us no matter the distance. Thankful to have food on the table and a roof over our heads.

I’m not trying to be a martyr, not at all. This is just honestly the direction I am trying to move towards in my life. Would I have loved to been at home with my family, sure! Would I like more money? To be thinner? Taller? Smarter? More patient? Of course, I am human. Increasingly though, I am trying to remember to practice gratitude. To teach my children gratitude. To be an example of living in the moment and being thankful for each experience.  Some days it is NOT easy. When my kids are having meltdowns, it is not easy to be able to practice gratitude. When someone is going through a difficult time and I am not close enough to really help they way I want to, it is not easy. When I am missing out on events and the growing up of some of my favourite people and their tiny humans, I am heartbroken. When I just want a hug form my mom, and she’s thousands of miles away, it is NOT easy.

So, Im teaching myself to put a spin on those moments. I am thankful my mom is just a phone call away and she knows how to use FaceTime. I prayed for healthy babies for a long time and wasn’t sure if we would be able to have a healthy baby, and that I am thankful for my girls, more than anything. I am proud of my husband and his military service, and when he is away from home, that makes me beyond grateful for when he is here.

All of this being said, gratitude is a practice. It takes real, intense, hard practice. And like anything else, there are times we will not find success in being grateful, but we try and try again.

I challenge you all today, to pick something small. Something that you normally might take for granted, and be grateful. Write it down. Why are you grateful for that thing? How does it make you feel? Enjoy that moment of gratitude and how it makes you feel. I also challenge you to practice gratitude daily, and see how it changes your outlook. I know I am going to try as well. Then, we will meet here, lets say in time for American Thanksgiving, and see how we are doing with our gratitude.

Breathe Deep friends, I am thankful for you.


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