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11 Family Blessings in Somewhat Messy Disguise

Photograph by Twenty20

An essential part of growing up is learning that things aren't always going to be good. Lives are periodically touched by struggle, loss and change.

Sometimes you find yourself thinking, "Wow, I didn't know how good I had it." In those moments, you become aware of the everyday, ordinary blessings that make up our lives.

I can't explain blessings, I just know they're real. They can also be easy to take for granted. Here are 11 everyday blessings for which to be grateful:

1. When no one has a toothache or runny nose

Are you breathing with ease? That's an everyday blessing right there. We take our good health for granted, and it's the kind of thing you realize only when it's gone. That goes double for our children's health. I've been to the emergency room with my child and seen other parents there as well. Everyone there desperately wishes they weren't there. Are your kids driving you crazy because they're operating at maximum potential? There's a blessing hiding there.

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2. Dirty dishes

They're dirty because we had food. They're piled up because we're not eating alone; we're a family. Once clean, they're a fresh beginning. That's why I always try to wash what's in my sink at the end of the day. Clean sink, clear mind.

3. Sleeping in warm beds and feeling safe

So many people don't have this. This is one of the greatest blessings of all.

4. Uneventful ultrasound appointments

When the ultrasound tech says, "Well, everything looks normal" and the visit feels almost boring? Huge, huge blessing.

5. When your spouse gets home safe from the commute

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the daily routine—drop-offs and pick-ups, dinner, and "Can you get here early because I have that thing tonight?" Traffic is hectic. If your spouse, partner or you get home safely at the end of the day, it's an ordinary blessing we often miss. Welcome home.

The world is my oyster on Friday after bedtime.

6. When you forget about the Internet

Remember our lives before the Internet? When you're having so much fun that you forget to Instagram it? Congratulations, for you have been blessed. Contrary to what the gaping maw of social media dictates, your moment did in fact happen, did matter and is now stored on the greatest web that exists: your memories.

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7. "Read one more book, Mama"

Bedtime can be hard, because moms are in a daily marathon that ends at bedtime. Sometimes, our kids try to prolong going to bed as much as they can get away with. When my little girl says, "One more book, Mama," I'm likely to acquiesce. She'll only be this little—and need me this much—for so long.

8. Messy, lived in, real-life homes

Forget what you see in carefully curated homes in magazines or celebrity Instagrams. Messy homes are real. I've stopped feeling bad about the mess if I ever have unexpected company. Why apologize for the act of living your life? Those needlepoint pillow aphorisms are right: bless this mess!

9. Friday evening after bedtime

The world is my oyster on Friday after bedtime. The weekend stretches out before you like an ocean. The blessing is the feeling of possibility.

10. Good hair days

I don't know how these happen, or why they tend to happen on days when I don't really need them. But good hair days are a blessing, no doubt. When I wake up with frizz-free waves that say, "I'm just effortlessly gorgeous," my day has been made brighter.

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11. Impromptu hugs and kisses from a toddler

Kids can be clingy! And that can be annoying. But one day, we'll miss this. I'd like one more hug please, and always one more.

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