Before I got ranting yesterday, I was actually thinking about how grateful I am for several things in my life. Here's the top of the list, as its crossed my mind the last few days:
*A car. Many people ask us if its frustrating or difficult to only have one car. Its annoying or slightly inconvenient at times, but most of the time I'm just grateful I have a reliable, good car to get around in. When I was this pregnant with Keilana, we had to carry all our groceries home from the store on foot (about half a mile), a rather arduous task I can't say that I miss at all (especially since we buy a lot more groceries now than we did then). We're always able to get where we need go to go in a reasonable time frame. I am grateful for that blessing.
*Our location. A big part of the reason that one car is doable is that can walk to work. I can walk Keilana to school, the park, the plaza and the grocery store. I'm grateful for that proximity that makes it easy to be out in the fresh air and sunshine often, instead of locked inside a car going from place to place.
*Small towns. While I still prefer Mission small to Lindsay small (Doug tells me I'm not from a town, but a village), I am tremendously grateful that there are so many wonderful little towns scattered across the US and I've been privileged enough to live in several of them. While there are aspects of city life that are undoubtedly appealing, having spent some time in small cities and major metro areas across the country, I am always glad to come home to a small place. I am and will always be a country girl in my heart. As my great-great-grandfather wrote after his excursion to New York City, "Give me a cot in my own mountain home over a mansion in the great city of America". I couldn't agree more.
*Free public education. OK, so I realize its not actually free--a lot of tax money is pumped into our schools and they're are far from perfect. But I have had friends from countries where even basic education for children could cost parents a tidy sum, and that has made me grateful that I can send my kids off to public school without any undue financial burden on our family.
*Prayer. While I do pray formally, I admit I am not as good at making a continual habit of it as I should be. I tend to be more of a Tevya type--certainly if anyone saw me, they would think I was having a conversation with myself and was a wee bit loopy. I love being able to express my joys, frustrations or just daily thoughts at any time and be confident that someone who cares is listening. I am grateful for the peace and clarity that comes from formal, appropriate prayer--the calm.
*Modern healthcare. I am so thankful that I can bring a child into this world with the confidence that the risk to me and the baby is really quite minimal--something I try never to take for granted, knowing that that simply wasn't true (quite the opposite) for most of history and still isn't for millions of women around the world. I am more grateful than I can say that when my baby got sick, I had no real panic or fear, because I knew I could and then did quickly find an ER where there were doctors, nurses, and various scanning equipment and labs where they could find out what was wrong quickly and had the modern medicine to treat it effectively. We had a frustrating and difficult week whereas a half a century ago we may have ended up losing our son.
*Seasons. Hawaii was beautiful. But there was never much variance in the weather beyond "raining" and "not raining". San Luis Obispo was 74* and sunny about 80% of the time. It was beautiful and fantastically boring. I love the crisp mornings and pleasantly sunshine-y afternoons of fall. I love the snow and sweaters and cocoa that marks the winter. I love the bursting greens and pinks of spring, with warm sunshine on my back. I love running through sprinklers and swimming and camping in the summer. The summers are so hot and long here that by the end I am just so ready for summer to be over. Its still around 100 at the hottest points of the day, but I've been pleasantly surprised to walk outside in the evenings and instead of walking into a wall of heat, easing into the lovely 65 or 70 degree air. It gives me hope that fall is coming after all.