Ever feel like everything around you is falling apart? We have had one of those weeks at our house. Only one of the three toilets in our house is working the way it’s supposed to, the fridge is making a mysterious clicking noise, our garage door broke, the antilock brakes keep randomly going on in my car and we had a pipe problem, so the upstairs bath flooded through the ceiling into our family room. Right now I am sitting at the kitchen table…the dog (who was sick this morning and made quite the mess) is at my feet, the carpet cleaner is sitting on the counter waiting for me to scrub the flooded carpet, above me is the huge hole that Trav will patch tonight, I can hear the quiet hum of the fridge in the background…and I’m just trying to figure out what else could possibly go wrong before we host Thanksgiving here tomorrow.
To say I have been a little stressed out would be an understatement! Luckily my kids are out of school today and my sweet daughter reminded me in the midst of me cleaning up the dogs mess (just use your imagination here and I will tell you it was worse than that!), Lexi told me that all I needed to do was be thankful that I have a loving family! It was not really what I wanted to hear at the moment, but she is so right. Earlier this week we taught our kids about always being grateful for what they have no matter what their circumstances are. I am so glad that this lesson really sunk in with Lexi and that she was there to remind me to be grateful today.
Thanksgiving is Trav’s favorite holiday and he always gets upset when people try to overlook Thanksgiving and go straight to Christmas. There are so many things in this world and it is hard not to get caught up in all the things that don’t matter and take for granted the things that are really important. Yes, this week a lot of stuff is breaking and it is frustrating…but how lucky are we to have all those things.
When I think back on Tate’s life I often wonder how in the world those eighteen months were such a happy time for us. We were a complete mess! So many big things happened to our little family and we kind of got in the mindset that if something could go wrong it would…and it did! But, it didn’t matter that things went wrong. We were completely happy through all the chaos and looking back it really feels like it was the best time of our life. Tate gave our family a whole different perspective on life and made us more grateful for all the little things we had, so when big things went wrong it didn’t matter. We made memories at home while Tate was tethered to his feeding pump. We drew on the bottom of the kitchen table with markers. We built giant forts in the family room to play in. Bath time was full of splashing and happy squeals. Some nights we would do a dancing conga line down the hall before we tucked the kids in bed. We jumped on beds and had picnics on the floor. We had each other and that was all that mattered and it was easy to be happy!
Then we lost Tate.
Life has been so different after losing our sweet son, Tate. My strong husband and I have struggled and hit emotional lows that we would have never imagined existed. We have cried, screamed and completely fallen apart. But, we are still here. We have lived through every parent’s worst nightmare and somehow survived. Every day takes work and effort to choose happiness instead of sorrow.
I never knew it could take so much energy to choose happiness. It is a struggle that we face every day and it is something that takes lots of practice and focus. So many times I find myself adding up all those things that are going wrong and magnifying them so big that they take over all the little things that are going right
Today I am choosing to not let the giant hole in the ceiling determine my happiness. I am going to take my daughters advice and be thankful that I have a loving family and let that make me happy. I am going to focus on spending meaningful time with the ones that are important to me. We are going to do things together and make memories that will be treasured…and that is going to be enough to make me happy!
We each determine our own happiness. Even on the days when everything is going wrong if we look closely, we can find something that will bring us joy. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! May we all be happy in our circumstances, whatever they may be.
(Travis, my amazing husband… make sure to remind me of all this tomorrow when the oven breaks in the middle of cooking the turkey or when the last toilet in the house breaks and we have to go ask the neighbors if we can use their bathroom!)