Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sugar Magnolia

5 - Be Grateful

So if your musical taste doesn't include The Grateful Dead (I’m not judging, you would be the minority for my blog demographic), I will give a quick summary of Sugar Magnolia… There were so many old songs to choose from (close runner up was The Band – Up on Cripple Creek) but this song is basically a hippy bragging about his woman… it is a list of all of these random things about her that he appreciates (including that her head is a little empty)She can dance to Cajun rhythm, she can wade in a drop of dew (whatever that means?), she pays his ticket when he speeds, she waits backstage while he sings, basically, in his mind, she is all he could ever need, the chorus is that she could make happy any man alive…  personally, I just have to laugh if I think Bob Dole with that kind of woman.  I don't think he would have a clue what to do with her (maybe he has another side?!)… but it is just sweet that this hippy feels so lucky with what some might find relatively useless (and potentially unhealthy) skills and traits.

We tell our kids to be verbally thankful for gifts and to the carpool driver but gratefulness often gets overlooked at home.  When stressors build, it is easy to be critical, especially of those closest to us:  About the laundry and about the state of life and about scraps of paper and wasted money and the insane schedule and parenting strategies and time spent on the golf course and abandoned socks and haphazardly discarded coats.  Especially if your relationship is trapped in a cycle of criticism, challenge yourself to think of one thing to be thankful for everyday and verbalize it.  If gratitude is not audibly expressed, people can start to feel under-appreciated.  It is important to find a way to be genuinely grateful for your spouse, even / especially for the craziest stuff.  Once you've been grateful for the assumed household roles (like laundry, dinner, garbage, cleaning, homework), try mixing in some more creative qualities that might go over-looked: 
  • The way the bed is warmer
  • His awful memory - because he forgets the grocery list but also my flaws & mistakes
  • How well the mini-van gets backed into the garage
  • The smile when having a dance party with the kids
  • That the toilet seat is never up
  • The laugh while watching How I Met Your Mother
  • The crazy hair curls when it is humid
  • That my gas tank always gets filled 
  • That the lights left on by the kids drive him just as nuts as me
  • The confident bounce when he walks
  • The extreme huggableness when in comfy pants 
We aren't personally in a cycle of criticism right now, but we have been there before.  It is a little tricky to get out of but at least one gratitude a day starts to shift the routine.  There are few times when after I've prepared dinner (I happen hold the roll of head chef in our house), he doesn't kiss me on the forehead, saying, ”MuuuuuwaaaHHHH!  Delicioso my love!  The mashed potatoes tasted like frosting!" and then proceed to wash dishes and make coffee for the next morning while I dry and chat about our days and try very hard to be the kind of woman that he feels "could make happy, any man alive." (although honestly, I think most anyone but him would find living with me, my neurosis, and my borderline mental illness exhausting) and in turn...  we both feel very very very grateful.... 

This kind of gratefulness builds a bridge to healthy communication...

See you tomorrow at 6am my comrade!  Hopefully your V-day weekend was filled with fun and happiness and love and gratitude!

We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude -- Cynthia Ozick

For a regularly updated and concise list of all of the mini blog series on love:  refer to the Intro / Love is all You Need

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