I began today smiling, pausing during morning chores to see Facebook posts and scan Instagram photos of my American friends expressing gratitude for their families, food, health, babies, traditions, and all the important things worth gushing about this time of year. I gushed for them, too. I can relate to how good it feels to succumb to the vulnerability of holiday sappiness–a deep inhale of nourishment which transforms into a long exhale of goodness that affects others and connects us all.
In our country today, we will go about our moments us usual, but I will keep looking to these over-the-sea glimmers of holiday cheer. I will imagine the prayers, the whispers of thanks, the quiet breaths of recognition and awareness, the pleas for help, the silent contentment, and the pulling together of what is most important – family, faith, reasons to be joyful and the great big universe that unites us all.
I will feel a little saddened by the fact that we don’t celebrate a similar holiday sentiment, but I will remind myself that I am the Matriarch of Tradition and that if I just approach the subject with the right amount of delicacy, Joel may – in a few years – see the value in celebrating Gratitude Day (I will have to rename it for him so he does not grow suspicious) around our dining room table as well. It’s for the kids, I’ll say. To teach them to be thankful. We have to do it for our kids.
For those new to Red Tent (well hi there and welcome), let me give you a quick run down of what goes on here. This tent – it’s our happy place. It’s where we step away from the world and its stresses and feed the good wolf. Where we reconnect with the things which inspire us – beautiful things, honest things, happy things. Where we take time out from our kids and our relationships and our work and everything thing which pulls and hangs from us and where we just breathe for a second. We breathe and read and write and breathe and connect and think and breathe some more and we return to the pulling things and the hanging from us things and we love them a little greater. We have room for them a little more. We open our arms and our doors to them a little wider.
And so in a way, the Red Tent is our daily thanksgiving, because it turns us from burnt-out to burning. Bright, that is. Thanks are whispered, quiet breaths of recognition and awareness are found, little things are noticed the way they deserve to be. Inspiration is rekindled and we are set alight a bit more brightly to find the good, celebrate it and pass it on.
And while I love the way photography and writing shift my perspective on things, I’ve decided we need to up the anti on our Be Grateful to-do list. So, until Joel agrees to Gratitude Day, I have introduced a little December tradition to an ever-growing bundle of holiday ceremony filling our home this year.
Friends, our Thankvent Calander. I don’t think you’ve met.
Thankvent — see what I did there? Insanely clever, I know.
Joel and I have looked back on the year we’ve had and written 24 things we are most grateful for. Little things, big things, anything which stands out as memorable, soul-filling and meaningful. We’ve done this little exercise separately, so each night in December before bed, we will open the day’s envelope and read each others’ happy, thankful thing. And when our kids are old enough, we’ll encourage them to join in, too. What a valuable exercise it’s been, remembering all the wonderful times I’ve had and the meaningful changes our year has brought with it. It’s amazing how much you forget when you don’t pay attention to where you’ve been and how much you’ve been blessed with.
I rummaged together the few things we needed to make it – some twine, wooden pegs, sandwich bags, pens, stamps and called Ella over in that Something Exciting Is Happening voice which makes her eyes spring open wide. “Santi!” she said, because obviously that is the Most Exciting Thing, and when I said no something else, she said “Soon. Coming. Santi Coming”, and my festive lovin’ soul broke out of my body, grabbed a fire cracker and ran wildly through a sun-drenched field of yellow flowers because sweet Mother Mary she’s starting to get it. She is understanding this magical and exciting and meaningful time of the year and she is soaking it all up, too. And may I interrupt this announcement to officially point out that my need for non-mess and my aversion to clumsy, destructive toddler hands is sliding gracefully into It Doesn’t Matter. Encouraging creativity and exploration in my child is becoming really fun for me to watch, so me and red stamp paint are totally cool with one another.
To this little blog community — whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not — thank you for reading and sharing and being a part of this space. What a great big Thanksgiving table scene this community would create. So for now, we should take all our gushy gratitude and make something of it. Share what you have to give.
And what I have to give? A few more of my happy things. They’re small, but they’re big.
Messy morning hair
This. A tiny bed waiting for a tiny boy.
Cute shoes she tantrums over every time we have to take them off her. Sister’s got taste.
Take your happy things, gush, and share them too. Make something of the good around you. There is plenty.