Since we moved to Washington, I've mostly kept up with them on Facebook. I see their families grow up. I see them becoming parents and grandparents and going out into the world and doing good things. They make me happy and I love keeping in touch even from afar. One of these friends created a group called 21 Days of Gratitude. This is my first real chance to participate- ten days in. Ah well, better late to the party than never. Here are the prompts and my responses.
Day 1: What do you have enough of?
I have enough love. I am a well loved person. I have friends, family, people I care about. Pets. Friends pets. Friends kids and their pets. And students. Yes, there's lots of love. The more you give away, the more you have. Works for compassion too.
Day 2: Who do you know that you could never repay?
I could never repay Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for his impact on my life. Nor Michel Foucault, or Paulo Freire for their guidance through theory and practice. They all changed my world, made it bigger, and made it ok for me to make mistakes and learn from them.
Day 3: What do you take for granted?
My safety. I live in a relatively safe place. I never felt secure until I bought my own house, and even then my hypervigilance took a long time to go away. I'm still a light sleeper. I worry for people who do not live a life where they can exit their homes alone at night or who live in fear of a loved one. I try to create a space in my classroom, not just of physical safety, but where students can be comfortable and free from ridicule and bullying.
Day 4: What inconvenience are you grateful for?
We made a decision a few years ago when we moved to Washington that we would walk to work and home every day. It's inconvenient, especially when I'm running late. But I'm grateful because this imposes discipline in me, and gets me out in the fresh air twice every single day. And we save gas and don't add more pollutants to the atmosphere.
Day 5: What is your most precious memory?
I have a lot of them. They're not just memories about things that have happened to me- like getting my black belt or graduating with my Ph.D. I have precious memories that revolve around people I love. Nieces and nephews graduating from high school, a first day of college, holding my great niece for the first time and watching her little smile. Spending summers at my grandparents house when I was a kid. Fishing with my grandpa. There was this one time I went out on my sister's boat with her, her husband, and their son. Beautiful water, crab pots out, swimming off of the boat. It was really magical. And, of course, the day that G and I got engaged. We were at Lake Hefner in Oklahoma City. I'll tell you about it sometime...
Day 6: Which artist lights up your world?
Picasso. Not just his cubist paintings, though those are mind-blowing.
Want to see one I really like?
I've been thinking about this as a tattoo for about 6 years now. My friend Kat has it on her shoulder and said it would be ok if I did the same. I might do it. If I ever get around to it. I may settle for a framed print.
Day 7: How have you changed for the better?
This is going to sound sad, but it's happy. I'm much better at accepting love than I used to be.
Day 8: What do you know that you never want to forget?
That being a freshman in college is hard and that I don't know about other people's lives. That it's best to leave my assumptions at the door and listen to what they need rather than overlay what I want.
Day 9: What's the best compliment you have ever received or given?
I've gotten some really nice compliments. G paid me the compliment of respect. Ok, he still is respectful. And being loving when I don't really feel lovable. And he uprooted his whole life to come here to Washington. He loves it here, which is a relief. It's a powerful thing to have someone not just say they believe in you, but to bet heavily on you.
And the other day, I overheard my students talking about me. They were talking about how old they thought I was. One said that I reminded her of a cool aunt and that she'd like to hang out with me when I wasn't her teacher.
Maybe the real compliment is in the high number of students who take multiple English classes from me. I'm not an easy grader, but I'm glad they still think it's worth their time. It makes me feel valued as I derive a bit of my self esteem from teaching.
Day 10: What's the best advice you have ever received?
My husband gave me this one- it's from his mom (My favorite mother in law!):
"Don't borrow sorrow from tomorrow"
And since my favorite MIL is currently in hospital and I tend to worry about her incessantly, I'm trying to remember this one as a mantra for today.
That's it, peeps! All the stuff I'm grateful for today. That and personal space heaters at work. And that my quarter is wrapping up nicely and that we're heading across the world in less than 4 weeks.
I'm also grateful for soup and two legs that work and chiropractors.
Have a great weekend!