How Gratitude Keeps Us From Despair (What to do when the kids fight over Bubblegum)

Gratitude is the net that keeps us from falling off the tightrope of life into the abyss of despair.  Okay, maybe it doesn’t keep us from falling off the tightrope of life; we are bound to fall.  But it catches us, like those circus acrobats who do crazy tricks and slip every once in a while.

Life is a tightrope.  It requires a tremendous amount of balance, and focus, and determination, and preparation.  And you’re really high up and sometimes without a partner and everyone’s watching all the time (at least you think, at least I think).  And roaring lions are loose beneath you.  (What circus have you been watching, Rina?)

It happened the other day, I was walking the tightrope of life, actually driving my car down Greenspring with all my kids complaining at once and my mommy guilt started kicking in and I fell off the tightrope.  Thank G-d the car kept going just fine.  I fell off the tightrope for a second and almost got sharp, almost got panicky, like oh-my-gosh-is-it-just-me-or-are-everyone’s-children-impossible-sometimes?!  I could have fallen so much further.

Then I said, Thank You.

Thank you Hashem my kids are not happy in this moment.  Now in THIS moment as I type, I can’t even remember why they were unhappy; it was that insignificant.  Like maybe they were fighting over who gets what bubblegum color.  That insignificant.  But these things push me toward the lions for a second, if I’m not balanced and focused and prepared.  Sometimes BECAUSE they’re so insignificant.  The big stuff seems more important and more possible to handle.

So I said it again, out loud.  Thank you Hashem, these boys are not happy right now.  (My kids are growing up with that weird mom who talks to herself and Hashem out loud all the time and ignores some of their bickering in the process.)  Thank you, Hashem, I have these wonderful boys in the car with me.  Thank you they have each other as brothers.  Thank you Hashem we’re all together and we have bubblegum and we have so many colors.

The net of gratitude caught me and my heartbeat caught up with my brain and everything got realigned and I bounced back and climbed back up on the tightrope and drove home with a smile.

And a quiet car.

Grateful acrobat mommy win!

gumballs