The morning of New Year’s Eve my neighbor and I woke up early to get a short run in before the day got crazy. We’ve been meeting up for the past few months and as much as I despise getting out of bed before 6:00 am, it’s such a joy to spend the morning chatting in the brisk air with a friend. As we ran (okay, jogged is the more accurate term), she asked if I had a tradition of setting goals for the New Year. “No,” I laughed. “It’s never been a big part of my life, though my goal in the recent years has been to just keep the boys alive!” (You know they challenge that goal frequently!).
New Year’s Day turned bright and sunny with a very thin layer of snow on the grass. My boys bundled up (but rapidly shed layers) to head to the county park ice skating rink. I trudged along with book in hand, but also with a stack of thank-you cards to send my appreciation for the gifts I had received. As I sat in the warmth of the sun through the window of the lodge, I wrote the first note. Suddenly, I realized what my New Year’s Resolution would be – to more frequently let people know of my gratitude. And so I began to write a couple notes to friends for whom I am grateful.
After seeing the new Star Wars movie with the boys (grateful to have seen it with my Godson on opening day and thus enjoyed the second viewing tremendously because I could catch more minutiae), I sat on the couch between the boys’ bodies curled around an electronic device. The staying up until 1:00 am thing seemed to have caught up to them and they sought some “alone” time together. Suddenly, the little guy looked over and asked, “Can I write my thank-you notes too?”
He started off with the ones that I had asked him to write to the people who had given him gifts. And then a beautiful thing happened. His gratitude grew. Next he wrote a note to his grandparents to express his sadness that their car had been broken into but that he was hoping they would have a good new year. Then he moved on to writing a note to every teacher he comes into contact with over the course of the week. And he finished up with a thank-you to the principal and the assistant principal with gratefulness for their kind hearts in keeping all the students safe.
Of course, my heart melted. I leaned over to kiss his head and said, “Isn’t it kind of cool that when you start writing thank-you notes, you really start feeling grateful for what you have and experience.” It was a beautiful moment of sensing and supporting his heart and I hope he and I – and all the boys – will continue to grow in gratefulness this New Year.
So for tonight, I express my gratefulness to you, my friend. And hopefully this resolution will last longer than the average duration of the middle of February, for it is true that a grateful heart is a joyful heart.
Wishing you Peace, Joy and Gratefulness in the New Year!