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Ever since Alzeimer's darkened our family's door (my mother, not me—yet), being able to remember the simple things, like days of the week, the kids' names and where I put my keys has a lot more significance for me than before I knew that memory can be slowly drained from your brain like water in a weathered pool.
2. That my mother knew it was me when I called her
It's amazing how much we take for granted—our parents recognizing us and knowing us. She and I no longer talk to each other the way we used to, where I tell her what's going on in my life and she responds in a way that tells me she was tracking the conversation. Where she shares a story of her own or some wisdom or even something I completely disagree with and then we go back and forth about it (the back and forth with my mother no longer happens).
But she does still know who I am and who my children are and for this I am grateful.
3. That my children were able to balance a tray of breakfast goodies they chose and prepared all the way in to the bedroom with nothing toppling over
The muffin and coffee were delicious, but something else I never thought I'd appreciate are their fine- and gross-motor skills. Meaning, the fact that they have control of their bodies, and their minds for that matter. I read so much about children who are challenged in all kind of ways, the small victory of this Mother's Day gesture was not lost on me.
4. Having a job
Going to an office makes Sunday feel like a more earned day of rest. Even though we all know that the work of taking care of little ones can make going to work outside the home seem like vacation, the fact is I have worked on my own since the boys were born so Sunday never mattered that much, the days mostly bled into one another.
But recently I took job a working on the mainstream schedule with other people and a water cooler. Although it's not without it's share of office drama, it's been great to go somewhere on Monday mornings, and to have people around to bounce ideas off of and drink tea with.
Oh yeah, and getting a paycheck is a big help. Hello, camp money!
5. My teeth
Laugh if you must, but having real teeth that aren't throbbing in pain or on the verge of falling out is also not something I take lightly. Having healthy, pain-free teeth allows me to chew freely, one of my favorite activities. Which brings me to No. 6.
6. Good tasting, easily available food
I lived on popcorn, steamed vegetables and coffee from 1993-2001. I never cared much about food or the time and energy it took to prepare it. As a mother, I do not have this luxury, so I genuinely value the variety of vegetables, meat, pasta, sauces and assorted prepared foods that make me, if not an "Iron Chef," at least able to keep my kids fed.
7. My husband
Specifically his willingness to buy me cards on made-up holidays like Mother's Day, just because he knows I like them. Every time he hands me one of those pastel colored envelopes, my mind flashes to him the card section, reading through cliché after cliché until he lands on one or two he can stomach giving me. And it makes me smile.
I also very much appreciate that I still get to put the words "my" and "husband," in a sentence and have it be true. I used to wince a little when long-term couples would say the reason they are still together is "luck," knowing it was a lot more than luck, that it takes hard word and perseverance and a sense of humor. But recently, with the untimely death of spouses and a friend of mine whose husband will be working away from home on a job for 18 months, the randomness of fate on all of our lives, or "luck" if you prefer, I have to agree that luck is absolutely part of why we are still together.
Which is yet another part of my life I mulled over this past Sunday. I had planned to stay in bed until noon, to stay there all day until my ass fell asleep. But then I started asking myself why I was still in bed when I was a perfectly healthy woman.
It was a question that gave me one more thing to be grateful for.