Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Gratitude Jar

Christmas season 2012 the Mahoneys found ourselves once again a one-income household. I was determined that my four-year-old would not feel the effects of this grown-up situation during a magical time of year. I employed frugality and creativity to make the dollars I had stretch. What resulted was making our Christmas tree out of hundreds of hand prints, and giving homemade gifts like this one, a Gratitudes Jar. 

Cadence was in kindergarten and her handwriting was improving steadily. I asked her to write the word Gratitudes on manuscript paper cards and I affixed them to the jars.

We wrote about the things, people, and circumstances we were grateful for on slips of scrap paper, folded the notes, and slipped them into the jar. After a time, life got busy and the jar found its way to the back of the counter and stopped getting filled.

The counter top has experienced a good decluttering to make space for a microwave, which is a stand in for the built-in model in my kitchen that decided to konk out one day a few months ago. That's another story. Back to the jar. When I cleaned off the counter, I realized that years had passed since we last put something in it. I liked the practice, so the other day, I decided to open it, empty it of its hidden messages and resume actively naming the things for which I am grateful.

Here are a few of the notes Cadence and I rediscovered and read to each other:

1/8/13 Cadence used the phrase “friend-family” on her own.
1/26/13 Peaceful playdates
3/25/13 Time away from every day cares and concerns—in England and Belgium
1/5/13 A good afternoon nap, including Cadence taking one of her own.
3/25/13 Grateful that Uncle Stephen drove us every day. - CJ (a trip reference)
1/15/13 Finding my missing journals. SO relieved.
3/25/13 Grateful we didn't have an accident in the car on our way to lunch in the snow. - CJ
I like Luke. I like Jackson. - CJ
I love you Kara. I like you Daddy (with a fancy -y-) - CJ
1/7/13 Michael Jackson dance party with CJ! Great exercise too!
1/31/13 Cadence's passport came yesterday!
3/25/13 Grateful I go to play in the snow all day long—snow day! - CJ
1/8/13 smooth morning routine and out the door much earlier than normal. Relieved!
I love Me Cadence.
3/25/13 Getting to see Ellyn's first steps, and then her parents seeing her walk later. - Cadence (another trip reference)
1/25/13 Cadence was named Lady of the Week!

We didn't write down our blessings for long that year, but I am glad we did it even for a short time. Looking through them was a nice stroll down memory lane, and a reminder that gratitude begets gratitude. What you look for, you'll always find more of.
Here's what will go in the Gratitude Jar tonight:
  • Lunch with my friend, Laurie
  • Friends whose texts make me laugh out loud
  • My dad's recovery from a serious sickness four years ago
  • Helping Cadence with her math homework and reading to her over Skype
  • Facing my fears in ice skating lessons
  • Sunshine on bitter cold days
  • My blog and its readers

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