Health

The Gratitude Adjustment: My son's birthday

Did you start your Gratitude Adjustment in 2012? I did and I have to say, at first I was a bit stumped. I sat down and thought about everything I was grateful for—my family, my home, my health, my job and so forth. Check, check, check and check. Now what?

Boy birthday party

Did you start your Gratitude Adjustment in 2012?

I did, and I have to say that at first I was a bit stumped. I sat down and thought about everything I was grateful for—my family, my home, my health, my job and so forth. Check, check, check and check. Now what? Of course, my children. Over dinner, I asked them what they were happy to have in their lives. And they also responded with things like their family, their toys, their friends and more. Great! Once again I wonder, now what?

I mean, I’m comforted and smile at the thought of having these things in my life. But aren’t we all? It almost felt forced, like these are the things I should be happy to have. So my adjustment was done, or was it?

It wasn’t until this week when an element of my gratitude really hit me. On Tuesday, my little boy turned four years old, although the celebrations of this event started on the weekend. Sunday afternoon, my sister, her family and my parents came to celebrate his birthday, showering him with gifts, love and questions about what the week’s events would be and how it felt to finally be four years old. (And not 3 5/6ths anymore, as he’s been telling people for months.)

Then come Tuesday, our whole family scrambled out of bed sacrificing precious sleep to help him ring in his fourth year. We doled out hugs, kisses and presents and then I prepped pancakes in the kitchen. Over breakfast, one set of grandparents Skyped and on Facebook my wall was covered with best wishes for him—from far-flung family members to some who knew only me.

His daycare celebrated with a special fruit snack and gave him a birthday crown. Children invited to his birthday party kept telling him what presents they had in store for him and kept asking what day the party was. Back at home that afternoon, the Skyping and phone calls continued into the early evening when we were finishing up the celebrations with a birthday cake.

Now, it’s not as if this is an unusual set of events for a child’s birthday—this is what people do, right? Family and friends celebrate your birthday. But I realized over the week how grateful I was that all of these people cared enough to recognize how important my son’s birthday is for him, as evidenced by the big smile on his face all week. And it warmed my mommy heart to see all of the fuss over his fourth birthday.

So that was my gratitude adjustment—a more subtle one than I’d anticipated. Sure, I am happy to have family and friends in my life, but this week showed one of the many reasons why I was happy they’re in my life.

Have you started your Gratitude Adjustment? If so, let me know how it’s going! Share your story by dropping me a line below, on Twitter (@AstridVanDenB) or on Chatelaine’s Facebook page.

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