A Thankful Heart

What my kids have taught me about gratitude.


It's that time of year again where I reflect on all the things that I am grateful for. Being a parent has helped me to not take things for granted and to appreciate many simple moments in life. Here is a list of the top 10 things that I've learned to be thankful for since I became a mother.

1. The value of a good night's sleep. Seriously, I had never known true exhaustion until I became a parent. Now that my children sleep soundly through the night, I thank my lucky stars for 8 hours of uninterrupted bliss. Without it, I turn into a crazy person.

2. A closed bathroom door. It's rare that I spend time powdering my nose without a child following me in there. Oh, but those moments that I do escape are so beautiful, even if both of my children throw themselves against the door repeatedly until I emerge.

3. Other mothers. They laugh with you. They cry with you. They give you sympathetic looks when your child throws a temper tantrum in public. I thank God every day for the friendships I've made with other moms. We all need a support system.

4. Wild rumpuses. I love that my house is loud and that my children feel free to be themselves within those walls. I am grateful that at the end of the day, toys are scattered everywhere from pretend play. My home has never felt so full.

5.  Watching my husband become a father. I feel so blessed when I see my man being a good dad. There is something terribly sexy about a man who reads bedtime stories with silly voices.

6. The importance of self care. Since becoming a mom, I've learned the value of a hot shower, lipstick and clean clothes. A woman can only live so long with greasy hair until she starts to feel like the troll from Three Billy Goats Gruff. And we all know what happened to him at the end the story.

7. Going to the grocery store alone. I never imagined that taking a solo trip to the market would one day feel like a day at the spa. My favorite thing to do is glide down the empty aisle with my shopping cart and stop at the magazine section to read the latest gossip magazines in silence. Pure heaven.

8. School presentations. Nothing can make my heart melt like watching my child sing a little song or perform in a class play. One year my older son played the role of Squanto in the Thanksgiving play at school and it just about did me in. I always get verklempt and end up wiping my tears with my sleeve while I clap.

9. The importance of family traditions. I'm addicted to decorating our fireplace mantel for the holidays because I know that the children look forward to it. I want them to remember that our home was always covered in glitter or that we listened to Elvis' Christmas Album each year when we put ornaments on the Christmas tree. It's a privilege to craft a childhood for my kids.

10. Hearing my children say "I love you, Mom." At the end of a crazy day, when I just want to collapse on the couch from exhaustion, there is nothing more rewarding than hearing those four words escape from my kids' lips.

What are some things that parenthood has taught you to be thankful for? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

Sue Anderson November 21, 2012 at 05:49 PM
This is a great list, Leigh. I'm not sure I can add anything to it...except adding how wonderful it is to watch your grown son become as wonderful a dad as his own father is. =)
Jesse November 21, 2012 at 06:08 PM
This list is so awesome! I am thankful for bedtime. Well, actually the moment right after you put your kids to bed and you let out a sigh and grab some time for yourself.
Linda Labbo November 21, 2012 at 07:38 PM
I'm thankful that we learn how to "let go" of our kids a little at a time and not all at once. You know, how after they learn to take their first faltering steps they are suddenly running all over the house and before you know it, out the door to school, etc., etc. Children (and grandchildren) teach life lessons just by being who they are! Great article, BTW.
Rebecca McCarthy November 21, 2012 at 07:59 PM
Love this list, Leigh. Happy Thanksgiving. Every day.
Erinbjenkins November 25, 2012 at 01:44 AM
its hard for me to think of what im thankful for right now, because i spent the day trying to get a twoyear old to take a nap while he takes his diaper off 4 times, pees the bed, poops the bed,and then laughs at me while i try and clean it up and get him to nap. well. im thankful for a sense a humor and the power of a bowl of icecream on the fold out couch watching return of the jedi on cable. sigh...


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