I’m grateful for attending a critical response seminar and learning more about how stress and trauma affects our lives. Listening to others share their stories is both healing for them and allows me to not become so self-centered as I pull myself away from my own struggles to give compassion, empathy, strength, and hope to others.

 

I’m grateful for a wonderful evening with my girls and roommates enjoying dinner and playing a board game. I’m also grateful that I’ve learned to embrace what my daughters enjoy watching on TV and love to watch them get excited talking about their favorite characters. It was also fun to support their plan to go to bed at 6pm so they could wake up at midnight to watch the season finale of Riverdale making milk shakes and then heading back to bed afterwards. Love that they weren’t sure how to use the blender and instead of giving up, Googled videos to help them figure it out. Resourcefulness at work!

 

I’m grateful for a fun-filled day celebrating my former spouse’s birthday starting with going out to breakfast, antique and thrift store window shopping, a nap, grabbing the girls early from school for lunch, a delicious fish dinner, followed by the play, The Color Purple, and a late night slice of pizza. She cracked me up by setting up a tent in her guest room for me to crash in since I had to leave for work early the next morning, allowing me the chance to experience the camping I missed with the family the weekend before.

 

I’m grateful for a well-rounded week!

Today I’m grateful to four influential women in my life.

 

I’m grateful for my mother, who did the best she could with what she knew at the time. It’s hard to believe that this will be the 11th Mother’s Day since her passing. What an interesting ride it would have been had she been around through my recovery. I know she’d been exploring her issues right by my side and I would have loved to watch an inner strength build within her as we both battled our demons from the past. In addition, she would have loved being connected in today’s world of FaceBook, Twitter, texting, mobile phones, and how Country Music has developed into a Country Pop genre. Mom, I will be looking for the beautiful sunset you and your leprechauns have planned to paint this evening. I love you!

 

I’m grateful for my step-mother, who pushed a father to reconnect with his stubborn, angry, teen son. Her love and persistence allowed me to get to know Daddy before he left this world much too soon. The age old argument about nature vs. nurture is no argument at all. It’s definitely both. With limited exposure growing up, my biological father and I were mirror images of each other, in many ways fighting the same insecure battles and, yet, having the same, off the wall sense of humor. In addition, I was blessed with a little, big sis, who has always thought of me as her brother. I’m so thankful that my step-mother brought our family together.

 

I’m grateful for my mother-in-law, who took the role as surrogate mom after my mother’s death. Even though my past actions put our family through some very hard times, her unconditional love and support of my recovery means the world to me. Watching her be a grandmother to my two daughters, I learned how to be more present with my girls and how to play. I’m grateful that every Christmas she sends my girls Christmas cards from my mom so they won’t forget their “other” grandma. Mama, you taught me what Love truly means.

 

And most of all, saving the best till last, I’m grateful for the mother of my two beautiful daughters. It’s easy to take for granted one who does so much, especially when it comes naturally. With my career and through separation and divorce, my former spouse has always put our girls first. In some ways, she lost herself in the process. I’m grateful that she’s learning to find who she is once more, through her new job and her own personal journey of recovery. And I’m thankful that at the same time, she still has the best interest of our girls at heart. Intuitive, aware, loving, and protective, my former spouse is one of the best mother’s my girls could ask for. Some day, they will come to the realization about how lucky they were. May you enjoy the peace and serenity of your camping trip with our girls and your sister’s family this weekend. Have a mimosa, have morning coffee at one of your favorite spots, take our dog on a walk, roast some marshmallows, and have some quiet time to read a book. Let your sister and brother-in-law pamper you. You deserve it. You are deeply loved.

 

I’m grateful for two beautiful daughters and one on one time spent with them; dinners, movies, and great conversations. I’m grateful for my coworkers, friends, my home away from home. I’m grateful for clear, smooth skies. I’m grateful for taking the time to process my thoughts. And I’m grateful for learning how to love myself. I truly am blessed.