"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Counting blessings

I was talking to my hubby the other day about one of our friends. This friend has a lovely family, a good job, a home, and plenty of interests to keep them entertained. And yet, they complain constantly. They make an interesting character study, actually, because I don't think they can help themselves. Some people have this internal scale that is never in balance. Fairness is a goal they keep reaching for and falling short.

While we were talking, it dawned on me how blessed I am. Yes, I am naturally optimistic, and although I remember being a young child and expecting life to be fair, I grew out of that. Life isn't fair. It isn't unfair. It just is. But even with my tendency toward the sunny side of the street, when I think of how many blessings are in my life, I can hardly contain my joy.

First, there's my husband. On one hand, he's supremely honest and will not praise me if he doesn't think I deserve it. On the other hand, he supports everything I do and is quick to point out the positive side of anything I kvetch about. Someone once questioned him about something he was going to do for me (I don't even remember what it was), and implied that he was an idiot for going along with me.

Dale's the one on the left.

"If Gayle's happy, then I'm happy," he said. That settled that.

Second, there's our son. I grew up thinking I would not have children. I saw them as a huge responsibility and felt too insecure to bear that burden for all those years. When I turned 35, I said "maybe." When I started dating Dale, I said, "yes."

Let's be serious. Having a child at 38 makes you The Older Mom. The one with the old eggs. Fertility specialists act like your ova have a shelf life and things get ugly when they're past their expiration date.

But we got lucky. Marcus could have been born with tons of problems, but he wasn't. If anything, it was barely like raising a child. He was reasonable. He was easy to get along with. Yes, he was a picky eater, and took forever to pick up some basic tasks, but I don't know how I could be prouder of him.

Third, I have an a-MAZ-ing support system of friends. They give me advice without an agenda, a shoulder to cry on without judgment, and even a smack on the head (followed by a hug) without conditions. Somehow I've been able to pull people close to me that I can trust, and let the ones go that were pulling me into their own insecurities.

Sylvia and Tameri, just two of my wonderful tribe.

I may never be a bestselling author, or an expert horse rider, or be a stand-out at ANYTHING, but it doesn't matter. At least for this moment, I'm a winner.

What are some of your blessings? I'd love to know what you're thankful for.


Tameri Etherton said...

You are a standout! You're an amazing friend, an awesome mom, one of the best writers I know, you're incredibly smart, humble, super freaking funny, kind, warm, good hearted, raised one of the sweetest kids I've yet to meet, but he called me on my birthday and sang me Happy Birthday, so he's forever going to be welcome in my home even if I'm not there, AND you're husband is brilliant for knowing enough to marry you.

I think the world of you, my friend. I wish I could give you a hug right now because when I count my blessing, you're right up there at the top.

Gayle Carline said...

And you know you're one of mine. I'm still waiting to read one of your fabulous works of fiction - I know you'll be freakin' brilliant!

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