I am grateful


I’m in the car at the moment, being driven home (by our unbelievably lovely driver – who goes above and beyond, particularly in relation to the three little ones) from an extravagant M&S shopping excursion. I have much to be grateful for.

Thanksgiving is, without any doubt, my favorite adopted holiday. Food, friends, no need to buy presents. I have loved it from my first one in New York, and even if only with a nod, we acknowledge it each year as a family.

This year we took the little people out for a treat family dinner – and I’ll be honest and say that the meal was close to an abject failure. The littlest ate sweet potato fries and wailed. The middlest wouldn’t sit still and just ran around singing – badly and loudly. And the eldest decided she didn’t really like Thanksgiving dinner after all.

Family dinners out are rarely smooth, quiet, enjoyable minutes – but this one hit a low point.

However, the one thing that kept the 2 oldest ones happiest for longest – drawing pictures of what they were grateful for.

The eldest surpassed herself and actually chose to draw the family at dinner – her image being a little more ‘last supper’ in style than she might have meant (although, that was kind of how we were feeling…) and the middlest chose ‘chicken strips’ (quite possibly to annoy his elder sis, as she had decided to be a grown up and not order off the kids menu) – but they enjoyed the task.

It’s something I’ve taken to asking them each evening at dinner time. What are you grateful for today? The answers often revolve around food or the latest ‘thing’ that has been bought, but sometimes they surprise me. ‘I am thankful for a day just at home with all of us…’ ‘I am thankful for kisses and cuddles.’

I forgot yesterday. I was tired and grumpy after an afternoon of solo parenting and yet another IKEA mishap… And they reminded me. Mummy – what are you grateful for?

And so, to remind me how lucky I am, I will post my current gratitude list here.

I am grateful for:

  • The blue sky and sunshine that Shanghai has today. Yes it is cold. Yes the air quality is not great. But it is sunny and I am cheerful.
  • My family – they might well all drive my crazy on a regular basis, but each one of them amazes me – on a daily basis.
  • M&S – while it’s still here. I’ve got mince pies and choccie biccies for the office tree decorating party on Thursday and that will make hard working, tired people just a little bit happier (I hope)
  • Internet access – courtesy of a tireless (but tired) hubby who kept going and got it sorted.
  • Christmas music. I love it. Lots. I am singing lots (& badly)
  • The adventure I am on. There are good days and not so good days – and where to find tasty cheese features far too often on my worry list – but I am well aware how privileged I am to be on this adventure.

For all of the above, and so much more, I am truly grateful

I need to add one in, at the end of the day.

  • I am grateful for my bicycle.  On the days when I’m not ‘working’ (& by that I mean the days that I’m not going in to the office to do paid work, which actually feels surprisingly less like ‘work’ than looking after 3 small people for free does) I cycle the 3 minutes it take to get to school with the kids – and I love it.  Not getting mown down by a scooter, a car turning at the lights, or another child cyclist starts the day off with a huge sense of accomplishment that never fails to impress me. I then get to take littlest one (in her child seat on the back – and she always reminds me to put her helmet on before we go anywhere) to nursery, through a lovely green compound, where she merrily sings and says Ni Hao to everyone she sees. And then I get to head home.  It’s a 20 minute round trip max, and I love it. And I love the end of day return – when the eldest races off ahead, to be the first home, calling the rest of us slow coaches.  It’s a small thing. But it makes me smile. Every time.

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