Chicago mom: Learning to count my blessings

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. At a time of year that is supposed to be based in gratitude and appreciation for all that we have, I am finding it extremely hard to focus on what this time of year is all about.

As a parent, I feel this time of year brings with it a lot of added stress. We are coming off the Halloween madness. For a lot of schools it is report card time, parent teacher conferences are coming up and some athletic seasons are ending, while new ones begin. In addition to the regular grind of parenting, we are faced with the impending holiday season which brings with it portrait sessions, greeting cards, decorations, baking, shopping, wrapping and don’t even get me started on the Elf on the Shelf pressure.

I feel like I am simultaneously being pulled back into the past and toward the future.

Every time I pass the candy bowl I am reminded of the past. Not only does this Halloween reminder trigger the inevitable mental debate of whether the calories are worth it today, it also reminds me of all the fall décor that needs to be taken down. It also doesn’t help that my children are wondering why they cannot wear their costumes to school every day.

Also, the mere fact that I cannot open my email or set foot into a store without seeing Christmas everywhere, is reminding me of my every growing holiday to-do list. (which reminds me I have to get the big bottle of vanilla at Costco this year).

This past/future dynamic is splitting me right down the middle and making me want so desperately to take a breath and enjoy what this time of year is all about: counting my blessings.

Since I kind of have a crafting problem, I decided to make me and my family accountable through a little something I put together. It took no time at all. I created a thank you jar filled with pieces of driftwood. Each day we write what we are thankful for on the driftwood and place it in the jar. Unlike the candy bowl or the computer, when I walk past this jar, I feel a complete sense of peace.

There are a million and one ways to put something like this together. If you have a jar or a dish, some rocks, scrap wood, paper leaves, or even corks (which c’mon, you’re a parent, we all know have corks in your house from all of the wine consumption) you can put this craft together yourself.

While I will not be able to escape the candy bowl and I cannot ignore the Christmas portrait appointment that still needs to be made, I have decided that I am going take a minute or two each day and remember how blessed we are, because we truly truly are.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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