It has been a rainy, gloomy beginning to the year, weather wise, and waking up early on cold mornings to get my son ready for school has not been easy. Getting back to a routine after the wondrous holiday season is always a struggle. As I jump into 2017, I wonder what the new year has in store.
Last year was a roller-coaster ride. A new phase of life welcomed us as my son started kindergarten and my daughter started preschool. I found myself flailing in despair because of the isolation resulting from motherhood’s single-mindedness and decided to take charge of life events. My journey as a stay-at-home mom writing in her journal morphed into one of a full time-blogger chronicling the many challenges of motherhood.
Outside, the world plummeted into despair with tragic news–event after event. Time and again I found myself questioning my faith in humanity.
Having lived through the Gulf War, I am acutely aware of the consequences of negative influences. Nothing is permanent. One moment you can be living a charmed life, and the next morning you can become acutely aware of the harsh realities of life. Overnight, we went from having a house full of luxuries to having only a bag of diapers for my little brother. As time passed, the memories washed away, and my entry into adulthood saw me feeling invincible. Since becoming a mother, I have found those memories a constant reminder that the happiness brought by security is fickle.
All attacks made on humankind or negative decisions made by world leaders/icons scare me to the core. Inane internet challenges and frightening trends leave me astounded. I often fear for my family, wondering if my children will be able to grow up in a healthy environment.
On the other hand, the magic of motherhood is such that all my insecurities wash away when I witness my little ones around me. Each morning I wake up, not too thrilled, and then I see my kids smile at the sunshine. They take on the day with an intensely infectious energy. We may not be able to change the world overnight, but our growing children teach us time and again that kindness is only a moment away. All we need is to relearn from our little ones the art of being happy in every circumstance, while remaining strong for our family and aspiring to be better examples for them.
2016 ended with me being sick in bed. On the worst day of the flu, my husband decided to take the kids to the movies. My 6-year-old son got teary eyed, refusing to go. When I asked why, he replied with tears in his eyes, “I don’t want to leave you. I want to stay home and take care of you.” That one moment buoyed my spirits in a way that no amount of medication could. I told my little angel I just needed another long nap and would be excitedly waiting to tell him a story before bedtime.
Hows and Whys of Keeping a Gratitude Journal
I have books full of such anecdotes. They are time machines that take me to my happy place whenever I feel negativity touching my soul. These memories are wonderful reminders that not all days are equal and that every single day has the possibility of being miraculous.
I strongly recommend keeping a gratitude journal. As long as we have a healthy appreciation for what we have had, we will always have hope for what we can have.
There are various ways to keep a journal. All it takes is a few moments to document the happiness that you just experienced:
- Before sleeping, jot down the high points of that day.
- Keep a notebook of hopes you have for your children.
- Send yourself a quick text/email when you think of something funny or inspiring.
- Make a voice note on your phone when your child does something memorable.
- Maintain a personal blog about your daily experiences.
- Keep a notebook book in a common area and have everyone contribute to it.
Contrary to popular belief, maintaining a gratitude journal is not just about being thankful. It is about noting the beauty of your past day and focusing on that. It is about coming back to those beautiful moments and helping faith replace doubt. When you focus on the beauty of the day before, each new day begins with built-in optimism.
There is just something therapeutic about putting words onto paper or typing them out. The joy you receive when you go back and refer to these moments is enchanting. So don’t just post something awesome that happens to you on social media. Treasure it as a keepsake for your family before it gets washed away by the millions of chores and worries that crowd your many days.
As the rain drops fall on the window sill, I imagine the world being washed of all the negativity that has crept into its recesses and beginning anew. A brand new beginning for a bright new day, every single day. Remember, our best days are yet to come.