“Mommy, when are we gonna move?” she asked, as I wrapped the last section of her hair around the curling iron.
“Why do you want to move, honey?” I responded, not thinking this would launch us into a 6:55am conversation on gratitude.
She shrugged, so I asked another question: “Aren’t you so thankful for our home?” She shook her head “no”. I calmed my inner freak-out and stopped the spilling of “Well that’s not kind. You need to be thankful for all of the amazing things we have… blah blah blah…”
I took a breath and said (with as much calmness as I could muster), “Oh really? Well where would you like to move?” She was as surprised as I was by my even response, looked at me with her huge, blue eyes and said, “By Roro and Tito (My sister and her husband, who live in Central California).” I thought for a second and decided to push further, “Why do you want to live by Roro and Tito?” “Because Abby (her cousin who is 6 weeks younger) lives there too.”
There we go.
We had arrived at the heart of the issue without a judgey gratitude lecture from me. She’s a people girl – a relationship girl. She loves her cousins and her aunts and uncles and grandparents, almost all of whom live in Central California. I paused again for a moment, wanting to be thoughtful about my response.
“Oh, I could see why you would want to move! You LOVE Abby and Roro and Tito and all of the other people who live far away. Mommy feels sad sometimes too that we don’t live near all of our family members. Sometimes when I feel that way, I like to think of all the things I love about where we get to live, and that makes me feel thankful.” She nodded, seemingly content that I had acknowledged her feelings, but also kind of “done” with the conversation. Plus, it was time to leave for school.
The conversation stuck with me the rest of the morning. My thoughts can be much like Lilah’s, focusing on what I want rather than what I have.
I wish we lived near our parents. I wish we owned a house. I wish our house looked like all of my friends’ on Instagram.
I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong to desire something different or even something more, which is why I swallowed my lecture and acknowledged her feelings. It IS sad that we don’t get to see Roro and Tito and Abby all of the time. But, it’s all about the heart. Can I acknowledge when something is not exactly as I want it to be, while still being thankful for what is?
This little moment with Lilah reminded me that it’s okay to acknowledge when things aren’t perfect, but then to turn those thoughts to gratitude.
Our home isn’t perfect, but those stairs are the ones Jacob carried each of our babies up, at 24 hours old, to introduce them to their new home. That corner over there is where I spent hours upon hours rocking and kissing those babies. These hardwood floors are where those babies turned to toddlers and took their first steps. The front door of our studio has welcomed hundreds of high schoolers and their families, allowing our business to blossom and grow. We can walk to the beach, take the train to breakfast, and ride bikes on the trails nearby.
The more I think about the beautiful, amazing things about our home, the less I think about the not-so-perfect parts of it. I am so thankful that we get to do life here, work here, and love here.
What do you love about your home?