Way back in January, my one little word for 2012 came to me: grateful. I have been thinking a lot this week about posting an update about how it’s going. And friends, let me tell you, it is going great. There are all kinds of ways of making a place in your life for your one little word, and I love hearing about how others do it. I have to say that, so far, I am just letting it come to me. And I am so happy to say that I find myself musing about something I am grateful for pretty much every day. I do have an awful lot to be grateful for, it’s true, but I find that somehow gratitude creates more gratitude. Cultivating an attitude of thanks helps me notice things I might have missed otherwise, and counting my blessings makes me a profoundly happy person. A happy person who is all the more likely to be ever more grateful day after day. It’s so wonderful, and I’m so (here I go again!) grateful for it.
There is one person at the very top of my gratitude list, and it is my husband. I could never even have dreamed up a more wonderful best friend and partner. Every time that I get to come home to him after work, it feels like a magic prize. I just adore him and can’t believe I am lucky enough to call myself his wife. There are so many things about him that I am grateful for, way too many to list, but here is one small thing I just noticed tonight. Ever since the beginning of our relationship, Eric has always thanked me for the things I do for him and for us. He thanks me for every dinner, for every time I go with him to the store, for every evening I spend talking to him about our plans for the future. And I thank him too, for every time he does the laundry (which is…always!), for every time he drives us somewhere (since we both hate driving, this is a real sacrifice!), for every time he spends an entire evening helping me fix something on my blog (without him, this space would be so much more…non-functioning). I so appreciate this practice in our marriage, and what I just realized tonight is that it’s really not about just feeling appreciated for the things we do for each other. When Eric thanks me for planning meals with him or making bread dough or potting our plants, he isn’t just expressing gratitude, but he is letting me know that he understands that my act was an act of love. Whoa. I am so grateful that I realized that. It adds a richness and closeness to our everyday activities that makes my heart overflow with love. Have I mentioned how grateful I am for him?
I don’t talk very much about work here, but I am so incredibly grateful for my job. I’m grateful to have a job at all in these difficult days, but also I seriously love my job. It is such a welcome joy to feel happy and excited on my way to work, to savor all the different elements of my workday instead of dreading them. On top of that, I really adore the people I work with. I am so grateful for them, and grateful to be a part of their lives, and grateful to be contributing to our family and having an awesome time doing it. Even on the most tiring of days (and there are some!), I always tell Eric the highlights of my day over dinner with a huge smile on my face. That feels like such a gift to me.
You know what else I am grateful for? Reading material of all kinds. I cannot get over how wonderful our library is, and am still stunned that I can just go grab Sarah’s Key or Petropolis off the shelf. I am also grateful for all my many beloved periodicals. Call me old fashioned (and I accept this designation with pride!), but I really love the printed word, especially in newspapers and magazines. It makes me so happy to have so many things to read, so many that it’s difficult to choose. Last week I finished David Lodge‘s A Man of Parts, and, while I was skeptical at first, I loved it. David Lodge holds such a special place in my heart as an academic satirist that I was leery of reading him as literary-historical novelist. But it was such an enthralling novel. I knew almost nothing about H.G. Wells (on whom it’s focused), but now I want to know more. I also think I’ll finally read his novel on Henry James, who plays a dazzling role in A Man of Parts as Wells’ most gracious and distinguished frenemy. I can’t wait. Reading and libraries really take me back to my childhood, when I often felt so vividly that the world was infinitely, almost unbearably magical and that it was such an unbelievable gift to be able to learn about anything at all you might find yourself interested in. I am so happy and grateful that I still feel that way today.
And I am grateful for lots of little things, and even more grateful for noticing them. One day last week I sort of randomly threw on this shirt and sweater, and then, all day long, every time I looked down at my watch, I was intensely happy because I liked these two colors together so much. That, I think, is the best illustration of this little project I can offer. I love it. And, yes, I am really grateful for it.