The Journey to Thankfulness

My kids cry.  A lot.  They cry when they wake up and it's too cold to wear their favorite sundresses.  They cry when I give them the blue bowls at breakfast instead of the purple ones.  The curly haired child cries that her hair isn't straight.  The straight haired child cries that her hair isn't curly.  I'll spare you a longer list, but I could go on for days.

It's part of being a toddler/preschooler right?  It is...and I'm actually not trying to complain about these tantrums of sorts.  I am incredibly grateful for the two little people who I have the privilege of spending my days with. I love watching them grow and seeing the world through their eyes.  

Yet as a parent--especially with Thanksgiving just around the corner--I feel the importance of somehow imparting them with a greater appreciation of the world.  The desire to show them that yes, most of the things that they cry about on a daily basis are really indeed nothing to cry about it. 

I remember once when my littlest one was just beginning to walk.  There she was trying so hard to toddle along, grinning ear to ear, when my older daughter threw herself on the ground kicking and screaming over the fact that *gasp* I'd ask her to please use the potty before we headed out to play at the park.  

In a moment of parental guilt and self doubt I was flooded with guilt about how my baby child was for sure going to be ruined for life growing up in an environment of such negativity and well, loud screaming of the the 3 year old (and let's face it, sometimes Mommy) variety. And yes, it was in one these moments that I realized that parenting was a whole lot harder than I ever imagined it to be.

So yes, I've tried all sorts of things to try to make my kids appreciate the things they have.  Lots of discussions and activities. Sometimes it just never seemed to get through to them though.

Until the first week of public school, that is.  My older daughter came home remarking, "Hey mom!  Guess what we say in our class?"  She explained to me how whenever something doesn't go as planned, or a kid gets upset about something trivial, the teacher says "Oh well." and the whole class responds "That's life!" 

So we started using the saying in our own day to day life.  Maybe all I needed was for an adored teacher to pass on this special message to my kid, or maybe it really is magic, but all I can say is "Thank you, thank you, thank you dear teacher."  Somehow you've gotten through to my five year old (and my now three year old) in ways that I've failed for years.  A tantrum can begin and sometimes be stopped mid cry by these simple words.  And no, it doesn't always work, but it's better, oh so better.  

So yes, this thanksgiving I'm thankful for so many things:  family, friends, health, food, life.  I'm also  thankful though for my daughter's teacher who somehow got through to her in a way that I'd failed to.

The leaves/acorns are from a nature walk we took this week.  I love the fall color here!  Recognize my pictures of the kids?  It's the same picture that I try to take every year--same place same time of year.  It's so fun to see the kids grow as time passes!

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