I was thinking recently about compliments, and some of the more memorable ones I've received over the years. When J and I were young and on our first round of dating (there was an extended break in the late '90s), he once told me I had pretty eyes.
"They're really big, like a cow's," he said.
What can I say? He tries.
Another memorable compliment came from my Uncle Tommy, who passed away a couple years ago. He was a big-hearted man who I loved dearly. Big, strong football coach on the outside. Warm, tender peacemaker on the inside.
When I called to tell him I was getting married, he told me my husband was the luckiest guy in the world because he was going to have a wife who would be upbeat and positive every day of the marriage.
Umm ... not so much today, Uncle Tommy. Talk about a grump! I might have actually stomped my feet at one point. Ooh. That's embarrassing to see in print.
There's nothing in particular to blame for my bad attitude. I had just had it. Had it with not being able to go pee without a child wanting to come into the bathroom and be with me. Had it with my coat being at the bottom of several layers of coats on the peg so that all of them fell when I tried to get mine. Had it with another day of cold weather.
It's so hard to talk myself out of that place when I'm there. It took me several hours, but I'm back to my happy place now (disclosure: the kids are sleeping. Could that be part of the reason?).
If anyone has an answer as to how to get out of that mood--or how to avoid it altogether--please chime in. The quickest route for me is to focus on what I'm grateful for, a list that ends up being quite long. I'm not saying that tactic always works, but it never hurts to try.
Last Thanksgiving, I suggested we put a jar on the kitchen shelf with slips of blank paper next to it. On the paper, throughout the year, we could write down the things we're thankful for as we think of them and then read everything during the following year's Thanksgiving dinner.
I still need to set out that jar, but in the meantime, here's an excerpt from my gratitude list.
Making me smile lately:
-These body tracings of the girls, especially the quirky face Bo (left) drew on Magpie (right). Can you see the two round eyes and the grin?
-My Friday night date with the girls making our own version of playdough--the edible variety! (Combine peanut butter, powdered milk, honey and flour.)
-Magpie's rump in these pants, which I made from the denim of an old pair of my jeans. The pockets are pieces from Klay's fabric donation. (Thanks again, Klay. It's the gift that keeps on giving.)
-This conversation between Bo and me tonight:
Bo: "I love tea."
Me: "Me, too! I love drinking tea at night. It quiets my body. It's warm so I have to drink it slowly, and that slows me down and gets me ready for bed. How about you?"
Bo: "No. Tea makes fast and it makes me scream!!!!!"
-This granny blanket, which I bought for $2.71 at a thrift shop last weekend.
-The health and happiness of my family and friends, including all of you.
-J's patience and love when dealing with my foot stomping today.
-And a children's music CD called "The Planet Sleeps," a compilation of lullabies in various languages and from various cultures. Incredibly soothing songs that might very well be a nightly routine for us to wind down to from now on.
The producer recorded the songs all over the world to "show the similarities that exist between widely different cultures, regardless of racial boundaries" in hopes that it "might in some small way help challenge the beginnings of prejudice, wherever it may exist."
He adds, "no matter how old we get, we are all still children, we all need occasional refuge, and, most importantly, we all need each other."