An Attitude of Gratitude

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Woo hoo! Thanksgiving’s next weekend!

It’s my favourite long weekend because of the magic three: amazing food, mild autumn weather and time to appreciate all that turkey goodness with my wonderful family. This year will be extra special because we’ll all be together. (Last Thanksgiving my Sailor was in Afghanistan and I was a nervous wreck, but he came home safely so we’ll focus on the positive.)

I love the idea of giving thanks for all the blessings in life, but I’m usually too stressed about things beyond my control to be thankful.

Fortunately, the most amazing source of all information (the internet) has tons of stuff about gratitude and thankfulness. Mind Body Green caught my attention with its “scientific proof that being thankful improves your health.” (Does this mean I’m actually harming my health because I’m too worried to be thankful??? I’m going to need some extra wine to get through this gratitude stuff.)

Thankfully (see how I worked that in!) it’s not really so hard to be thankful.

It turns out Oprah was right when she directed us to keep a gratitude journal. Every week, jotting down three to five things you’re grateful for (like season five of The Walking Dead) can lead to increased energy, happiness and hope.

Don’t limit your gratitude practice to journalling. Create art to demonstrate your gratitude. Speak about it. Blog about it. (For example–I’m grateful my Sailor demonstrates his gratitude for our family by cooking me a delicious turkey dinner every year!)

Train yourself to think grateful positive thoughts. This is a hard one for me, but I want some of that joy the grateful people flaunt so I’m going to give it a try.

It’s not like I have much choice. Gratitude combats depression, anxiety and loneliness. With stakes this high, I just hope I can be grateful enough…

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Ever since I was a university student, Thanksgiving has been one of my favourite holidays. It’s the first long weekend of the school year, the weather is usually glorious and who doesn’t love a day that centres around eating a delicious meal?

This year, with our resident turkey chef overseas (although I can roast a chicken, I can’t bring myself to cook an animal that’s bigger than the dog), we went out for our turkey.

We enjoyed the Thanksgiving buffet at the Empress.

As usual my boy demonstrated considerably more restraint than me when it came to dessert. He ate half his slice of dense, flourless chocolate cake then pushed the plate away, sighing with contentment.

I not only finished my own chocolate cake, but also my bread pudding and my cheesecake.

He noticed me eying his cake remnant and without a word handed it over to me–an indication of two things I really shouldn’t share: I have been known to clean my son’s plate and I have zero willpower when it comes to anything chocolate.

I was about to finish off the cake when two women went by on their way to the buffet, a snippet of their conversation over heard as they passed.

“…diagnosed with type two diabetes…”

My boy looked at me and then looked down at the cake.

I put my fork down. Perhaps three desserts at one sitting really is enough.

What am I Supposed to Say?

006We go out for a family dinner the night before the sailor leaves for Afghanistan. At this point we aren’t sure when he’ll return. He might be home for Christmas or perhaps not until Easter.

I measure the holidays in turkeys. He will miss one turkey dinner for sure (Thanksgiving)–perhaps three (Christmas and Easter).

I try to be optimistic and cheerful, but I don’t quite make it. I’m worried sick about him and I haven’t been sleeping well.

Worst of all, I don’t know what to say. I love you is fairly obvious as is be careful, but there should be far more profound things to share. He is positive and upbeat and I don’t want to spoil his mood with my apprehension.

We have one last coffee together at the airport before he goes through security to the boarding gate.

When I get back to the car after saying good-bye, I receive his text: I love you and I miss you already.

I reply: Me, too. Take care of yourself and come home safely.

Maybe that’s all I needed to say all along.