The other week I was cooking dinner because I always cook dinner, and I started getting a little huff on. Arran nor Marley had asked me if I needed a hand. In fact, no one had asked or enquired about anything to do with eating that night because the assumption is I’ve got it under control. I started dwelling on this. I pushed some things around. I might have slammed a drawer. I banged a pot lid. No one came out from where they all were. So I sighed really loudly, for no one’s benefit but my own, and started getting pissed off. Like really shitty. And so I walked, (loud feet), through the house to tell Arran I needed his help (for heaven’s sake) and to vent a bit about being the glue that held this family together, blah blah blah, I’m sure you either have said this or have heard it many times!!
I found the two of them in Marley’s room. Peering through the door, I saw them quietly sitting together going through her maths. Arran does the homework because I hate homework and he is wonderful at it. I am impatient, agitated and Marley and I are guaranteed to fight over maths, science or anything non-creative as I just don’t get it. Arran, on the other hand, is like a homework angel, because he’s kind, patient and unselfish, has no agenda and doesn’t rush it or get upset he doesn’t know everything. I quickly and somewhat ashamedly padded back to the kitchen to continue preparing some vegetables with the kind of energy I wish to contribute to a meal; love.
Because sure we can choose to crack a tantrum as we are so ‘unappreciated’ OR we can choose gratitude. And sadly gratitude has become like a wet tea towel these days; limp and overused. It can be though a tiny little rudder that steers us through moments when we are gripped by ego. It’s not ‘god I am so sad, but I guess I should be happy as I am alive”. That’s what we can bypass. It’s so much more than a hashtag, and it’s valuable when used in powerful ways.
So in my warm little kitchen, I started going through all the things I was grateful for JUST in this situation. I have a family to cook for. My husband loves my cooking (my daughter less so). I have access to incredible ingredients and I can afford to cook whatever we please. My dad was a chef and I have been raised in kitchens so I have learnt how to cook well, and what a gift. I was preparing the food with a beautiful Japanese knife that I ogled for ages until Arran bought it for me. I never thought I would see the day when we would be able to purchase such extravagant gifts for each other for no reason. I now cook on gas, a dream since our last house was nightmarishly electric with a stove oven combo from 1970. I was standing on timber floors. I love homes with timber flooring. Our kitchen overlooks our garden, and from there I could see a kookaburra and a cockatoo and the dogs mooching in the background. Oh, and I actually LOVE cooking, there’s that bit.
By this stage, I was overwhelmed with warmth and such good feel that by the time I was serving dinner I was like a half-crazed person, hugging Marley and kissing Arran and telling them how much I loved them and how lucky we were.
Just the other day a student shared with me that their husband had passed away, with no prior illness and it was devastating and shocking. She said in amongst all the gaping devastation were the things she missed the most were the little things. Cooking him a meal. His clothes not being in the washing basket. Not having someone to help make the bed. Reading the newspapers alone. And most of it was stuff she used to whinge about. And what she would do, to have one more meal with him, to have one more coffee, once more sleep in the sheets of a freshly made bed together.
Yesterday I held a special corporate workshop on values, intention setting and I shared this story as we touched on gratitude. And I then promptly cried in front of everyone, which I clearly didn’t mean to do. But whilst sharing this story, I became so overwhelmed with the fact that I think if we are all honest with our selves, there is not a thing we complain about, that if taken away with so much of what we love, that we wouldn’t wish for a single moment we had again.
So I’m sharing all this rambling to inspire you to take stock and start to embrace what I call authentic gratitude. The kind that can shift your direction, your mood, your mindset, and enable you to be a more whole open human being.
Sent with love,