Hailey’s language skills are developing faster than we can keep up. The other day she asked for pancakes for breakfast and we had no idea she knew how to say pancakes or that she had a particular fondness for them. Right before our eyes she’s morphing into this tiny, talking person with ideas and a will of her own and the means to communicate. She’s a little slower to catch on to the idea of manners though. In the event that we have to make a semi-public diaper change, she finds it appropriate to take off running without a diaper, sit down and put her leg over her head and display her girly parts to everyone in the room. She toots and then giggles (we have daddy to thank for this one).  And if she spots a cookie, all hell breaks loose as she clambers over anything in her path to get to it. We know this goes with the age, and we aren’t naive enough to expect perfect behavior from our toddler, but we do think it’s important, even at this young age when she cannot fully understand, to teach her how to be gracious. So we model this behavior. We say please and thank you and you’re welcome until we are blue in the face. We are sunshine and politeness. Take note, Hailey. This is how you show gratitude. Or is it? Yes, it is important to say please and thank you and to be grateful for kindnesses that are bestowed upon you, but are we modeling what is truly important when it comes to gratitude–being thankful for what you have? The short answer to that is, no. We get caught up in the minutiae of our lives. We grumble about unreasonable bosses, not enough money in the bank account, appliances in need of repair, headaches and tired feet. We know we’re fortunate on many levels, but rarely do we pay these blessings the attention they deserve, choosing instead to focus on the troubles we face. So here’s my attempt to change this and model true gratitude for my daughter.

I am grateful for my healthy child who, despite a very rough start to life a year and a half ago, is thriving and beyond amazing in every way. And I will forever owe a debt that I cannot pay to the tireless and selfless NICU nurses who cared for my child as if she was their own during the first very difficult week of her life. Thank you, NICU nurses everywhere. You are angels among us.

I am thankful for my husband who loves me unconditionally despite my many flaws and who supports me in everything I do. I could ask for no better partner in this life.

Though I have a flair for the dramatic and for hypochondria, I know that I am walking around in this life with a strong, healthy body and brain that have seen me through good times and bad and have been my foundation through it all.

I’m blessed with work, and my family wants for nothing, and I know that makes us very fortunate in this troubled time in our country.

And to my family…you drive me nuts…but I love you and am so blessed to have all you wackos in my life.