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A Series of Events: Grateful Interrupted by the Little Things that Matter

From our ZagZig family to yours, we hope the Thanksgiving, holiday weekend and the official holiday season kickoff finds you blessed in many ways. In the hustle and bustle of shopping on black Friday or the tiredness you feel due to the turkey-tryptophan sleep myth, I am sharing a series of events – or in our house we call them “God Wink” moments – that make us realize we have so much more to be thankful for, and that I should gift wrap every electrical outlet, running faucet and mattress we have in the house.

First, let me put the story in context. My kids will tell you that they don’t go to me for a compassionate reaction when they need a little sympathy; and, now, looking back on all those years, I get it. When they complained to me about something a friend did or got upset about a rain delay, I responded with something like, “Well, let’s look at if from your friend’s viewpoint. You never know if they are having trouble at home;” or “In some countries that experience severe drought, rain would be praised and welcomed.”

Even as I type this I can see how that would be annoying when they just wanted a quick moment of sympathy. Our oldest finally got to the point where she would tell me, “Mom, please just give me a moment to feel bad or feel mad. In the first few moments, I don’t care how XXX thinks. I am hurt and I just need some sympathy from my mom.”  Well, points, to her. I always THOUGHT, I wanted a child who could verbalize his/her own feelings… (Really, I do appreciate the honesty and the personal care management.)

Late last week I started to stress about the holiday, making sure I cooked the kids’ favorite meal dishes, preparing for a houseguest, etc. In the midst of all that, I was on a call with the International Rescue Committee (IRC), an organization that responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people whose lives are shattered by conflict and disaster.

On behalf of a consulting client, I called to talk about the response to the Rohingya Refugee Crisis in Myanmar and Bangladesh; since August, more than 600,000 people have crossed from Myanmar to Bangladesh to flee the violence and lack of personal security in their homeland. In turn this is creating food and health concerns in strained refugee camps.  As I listened to the IRC staff, I couldn’t help but think of what I would do as a mom of four kids; I too would leave all behind to flee for the safety of my kids, let alone the violence against women in the conflict.

After that call wrapped, I shifted gears and focused on getting Number 4 to an out of town competition activity. In the craze of packing the car and checking it off the list, Number 4 started to complain about the rush, the busy weekend, lack of downtime. While I pride myself on my ability to compartmentalize my life – ha! ha! Who am I kidding? – my world’s collided, flashing back the images of Bangladesh while listening to my child in the back seat of my Subaru whine about how busy he would be.

In my most calm mom voice – okay, not really – I said a bit loudly – maybe even yelled – “Stop! There are children in this world who don’t even have food, running water, electricity or a mattress and you really are complaining that we are driving to a hotel for a busy weekend?” Well, yes, that was my stellar way of opening up a productive mother-son conversation.  He was silent for a few miles, not sure if I would burst again if he said another word.

We made it to our destination, and once again, we got caught up in team activities, quick changes, timelines and more.  At night, we did not give a second thought to our clean sheets and towels, television or smart phones.

The next day, I quickly scanned through Facebook as I waited between competition moments, and after seeing this video I am about to mention in my series of events, I thought, touché, once again, I need a reminder of what is means to be really grateful for EVERYTHING in my life.

The video is from a church in North Carolina and actually is recycled content from December 2016, but for me I needed to see it at that very moment in time in 2017!  The video starts with a man in wrapping paper, extremely zealous that he is alive, his showerhead has a bow in it and his breakfast comes gift-wrapped. It is a must watch and makes me chuckle each time I get enveloped in the glee this man shows for the little things in life. 

That’s when it hit me – in hindsight – this series of events in my life that came together to clearly convey a message I needed and need to hear; being grateful is not just about the big things that happen, but the little things like electricity, water and having shoes.

When I shared the video with Number 4, he said, “Yes, mom, you really need to be more grateful for the little things, including me.” Well played young, Jedi!  That is my series of events that lead to my grateful moment, with a little interruption along the way. I will be working on enjoying my little blessings.

Kori Reed and her husband Mike Becker are the parents of four children, now teen to young adults. Together, they co-authored the book ZagZig Parenting, a collection of authentic, vulnerable stories in the midst of seeking work-life balance. 

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