Sweet Saraya – The Blog » A mum with a camera, keeping her loved ones in the frame.

A month of being Thankful – June ’12.

June of this year marked my “I’m thankful for. . .” month. Every single day, I had to post what I was thankful for on Facebook. The rules were I couldn’t post the same thing twice, I had to find something new to be thankful for each day. And in doing so, I was able to change my mental state so I was more positive, a lot happier, and thankful for everything I am blessed to have in my life right now. Every single post from my “I’m thankful for. . . ” project has been copied below. I hope everyone who reads this will take something away from it, and look at their life in a more positive way.

June 1 Today I am thankful that May is behind us and June is finally here. This month I am focusing on all that is good in my life, rather than all that isn’t. With May 2012 being one of the crappiest months ever, I am determined that June will be the first of many good months. And being thankful every single day is a step in the right direction to changing my mindset and turning my life around.

June 2 Today I am thankful that James and Charlyse had the best birthday party ever. I honestly don’t think I’ve seen James smile or laugh so much in ages. And even though 2 of his 6 invited friends couldn’t make it, we invited the boys of a friend of ours so he ended up with 6 friends, just like his sister. And I am so grateful to those friends of his who also helped to make this the best birthday party ever for him. I don’t think he will ever forget this day, and I think the smile that will be on his face when he goes to sleep tonight will be a genuine one.

June 3 – Today I am thankful for a capable husband, who is more than willing to help out with the kids or around the house. After the kids’ birthday party yesterday, and getting up to Paddy 2-3 times every night, I’m feeling so tired today. So I went out grocery shopping by myself, and managed to sit down in peace & quiet to enjoy a latté, and now I’m having a rest in my bed for an hour whilst he does the ironing and keeps the noise down amongst the kids. I may complain about him from time to time (and I’m sure he does the same), but he really is up there with the best. And now I’m going to nod off for an hour.

June 4 Today I am thankful that I was able to drop the kids at school/Kindy and Julian at work. I love them to bits, but time away from them is essential to stop me from strangling them sometimes. And when they see me this afternoon and run into my arms, giving me the most loving cuddles, the stress I felt after the past (rainy) weekend and school-morning-chaos will have dissipated, and I will be genuinely delighted to see them.

June 5 – Today, I am thankful for the cooler weather. With each summer being so hot & humid, and air-conditioning pumping 24/7, the cooler weather is a welcome change. Now, I can snuggle up under my warm & cozy doona at night, and not be woken by an early rising sun each morning. Eventually, I’ll look forward to the warmer weather again, but for now I’m loving my jackets, boots, PJs, doona, and Uggs.

June 6 – Today, I’m thankful for two separate TV areas – one in the lounge room and one in the media room. This means I don’t have to listen to Julian cough and splutter and proclaim how close he is to dying, or watch the most boring programme with Malcolm Fraser giving an hour-long speech. Instead, I happily watched Private Practice and Offspring. And that made me very happy.

June 7 Today, I am thankful for being given the opportunity to take part in the Art Therapy course run by Montrose Access.

For almost 6 years, ever since James’s diagnosis, I have made it quite clear that talking to others about the way I feel, the challenging emotions I have to deal with, and my fears over the future, would not make any difference or “fix the problem” I was dealing with. How wrong I was.

Whilst the obvious difficulty (Duchenne) still remains a big part of my life, I am feeling more confident in dealing with my emotions, and I’m making a conscious decision to change my mindset and my behaviour to reflect that. I have been privileged to sit in session with 7 other amazing women, all mums in a similar situation to myself, and hear their stories. We have all divulged some of our deepest thoughts and fears, and we have listened with empathy & understanding. To receive validation for feeling and acting the way I do, to know I’m not alone in this difficult “journey”, and to realise that “talking it out” with others actually makes a difference has been invaluable. I have been very lucky to be part of that, and I will be forever grateful that I didn’t listen to that nagging voice on my shoulder giving me every excuse NOT to go, but instead decided I had nothing to lose and everything to gain.

I will miss my Thursday sessions, but I feel confident that I now possess the tools to find the “old ME” and take on the next phase of this life with a little more positivity and less anger, resentment, and negativity. And I feel confident that I will again become a person that I like.

June 8 – Today. What am I thankful for? It’s Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Awareness Day, and there are so many posts (including my own) reminding me that my family lives with Duchenne, and that it will eventually rob my beautiful boy of his life. So you’d probably think I don’t have much to be thankful of where Duchenne is concerned, right?

Wrong! Because of Duchenne, I have a circle of the most amazing friends – friends who travel the same road with me, friends whose journeys have already come to an end, and friends whose journeys are just beginning. We are from all different countries, different walks of life, different socio-economic backgrounds. Some are single, some are married, some are gay, some have disabilities of their own. Some have a very strong faith, others have lost the belief in anything at all. There are professors, teachers, cleaners, nurses, doctors, factory workers, and those without paying jobs. All of us are carers for our kids, kids with a disease that will eventually kill them (or already has). A disease that will rob them of the ability to give us even the simplest of joys – a hug.

And yet, amongst us, we have discovered a camaraderie that we never realised could exist. An unspoken understanding, a mutual respect, and a loyalty to each other that is usually only reserved for family. And perhaps that’s because we all consider ourselves family. We “get” each other, we know the right things to say (well, most of us do), we provide virtual shoulders to cry on, virtual tissues to dry tears, and have virtual drinks/chocolate with each other to celebrate small milestones or to drown our sorrows if we’ve had a bad day. If I had to choose family to replace the uncaring, dysfunctional one I used to have, these friends would be top of my list. And yet most of them I have never even met. But one day I would very much like to.

And so today, I am thankful for my family – my very special, supportive, funny, wacky, frustrated, sad, angry, hopeful, loving, caring, and amazing Duchenne family. And I’d like to say thank you to each and every one of you, for being there for me like I hope I’ve been there for you. xxxxxxxxx

June 9 – Today, I am thankful for my sweet and beautiful daughter Charlyse as she turns 7.

It’s no secret that I cried for weeks and weeks when I first found out I was pregnant with her. It wasn’t that I didn’t want another baby – I did! But I didn’t expect to have another one so soon after James. Charlyse was due the day before James’ 1st birthday, but in true female fashion she arrived late to her own party. Twelve days late, to be precise!

She wasn’t the easiest of babies, with her colic keeping both her and the rest of the household up all night for 12 long weeks. And she wasn’t the prettiest of babies either, with a tongue that would protrude from her mouth in the most unattractive way, and the pimples and the cradle-cap, and the bald head. It wasn’t until the nasty colic bid its farewell that she became the delightfully sweet, considerate, kind, and loving little girl that she still is today.

And pretty! Oh, how beautiful she had become! With her wavy blonde hair and big blue eyes, she was the same little girl I had literally dreamt about 2 years before her birth, playing hide and seek with me in the woods. She was the baby girl I never knew I always wanted. And she was so much like me – a daydream believer. Fairies, goblins, Santa Claus, mermaids, unicorns – she loves anything magical. She loves anything living as well – dogs, horses, cats (doesn’t take after me there), and even insects. She becomes inconsolable whenever an animal is hurt or killed. Especially whales, dolphins, dogs, and horses. Especially horses.

Today she turned seven. SEVEN. And whilst this may not seem so old to some, I remember being seven just yesterday. My wish for her, for her future, is to do whatever makes her happy. Whether she works for Greenpeace, chases ghosts, becomes a teacher or a nurse or a physicist, or has the joy of falling in love and becoming a mother, I simply want her to be happy. Nothing more, nothing less. Everything else is irrelevant. Isn’t that all that a mother wishes for her child?

Happy birthday, my unicorn and fairy-chasing mermaid princess. I hope you have had the most wonderful of days. And thank you for choosing me to be your mummy. xxxxx

June 10 Today, I am thankful for Dora. Yes, she drives me crazy whenever she sings “We did it”. And if I hear “Swiper, no swiping, Swiper no swiping. Oh Maaaaannn!!” again, I might just have to swipe AT someone.

BUT. On a rainy day like today, when it’s too wet and cold and miserable to go outside, and the kids are showing major signs of severe cabin fever, then Dora becomes my friend. With her trusty Backpack, little Boots, her friend Diego and Baby Jag-wah (LOL), she manages to entice at least 2 of my kids into the TV room and into complete submission in front of the box. And that’s where they stay, glued to the TV and watching Dora’s every move, answering her every question.

And that’s good, because it takes the pressure off me to keep them all continually entertained. I don’t have to spend my time breaking up fights, listening to the whining and dobbing, and tending to bruises from a flying die-cast train hitting one of my 3 older kids on the side of the head. Yes, for around 60 minutes, they (including the die-cast train thrower) are totally captivated by a little Latina girl in a pink dress who alternates between speaking English and Spanish and loves to go on musical adventures.

So thank you Dora, and Boots, and Diego, and Baby Jag-wah. And, if it continues raining tomorrow, you are more than welcome to come again!

June 11 Today, I am thankful for my husband letting me sleep in until 10am. Granted, I was up at 5.50am with Paddy, and he kept bothering me until 7am, but then after changing his stinky diaper, Jules could see how tired I was and told me to go back to bed. And I did. And I sure did feel like a different person when I woke up that second time, which made me a much nicer, happier, and more patient mummy.

June 12 Today, I am finally thankful for finding the first good pediatrician since Singapore.

The one we had in London was crap, rather cold, and kept canceling or forgetting appointments. Plus she wasn’t very child-friendly. And the one we saw here at Gold Coast hospital was the worst one of all – rude, arrogant, no empathy, and did not even look at or talk to James, and his registrar did all the note-taking. I swore, as soon as I walked out of his room, that I would never take James back there again.

Today, we went to see Dr Glen Hart at Pindarra, and he was LOVELY!! Yes, it’s a private hospital & so we have to pay, but the difference between him and the last 2 pediatricians is huge, so it’s money well spent. He was very knowledgeable on Duchenne, he took his own notes, he asked questions & listened to my answers, he showed compassion when I got teary, and he asked James to call him Glenn and talked to him/treated him like a kid. He also listened to my concerns on Julian’s and my emotional issues and has recommended someone to talk to. No airs and graces, a true pediatrician who knows how to connect with kids and their families. So happy we have found him, and I think we are going to have a very good relationship with him. It’s one less thing I have to worry and stress about.

June 13 – Today, I am thankful that this cold I have isn’t as serious as the ManFlu that Julian had last week (and is still getting over).

Unlike his ManFlu, my cold isn’t life threatening or more excruciating than childbirth. And I know how childbirth feels (it isn’t fun!)

Unlike ManFlu, my cold doesn’t render me incapable of looking after the kids, making them dinner, getting them bathed and ready for bed, and cleaning up.

Unlike ManFlu, my cold still allows me to perform my part time job as family taxi driver, and shuttle my family around from suburb to suburb.

Unlike a sufferer of ManFlu, I’m still capable of holding a semi-decent conversation with a friend.

And unlike ManFlu, this cold has not forced me to exist in a horizontal state, calling out demands to whichever person will listen. And those Cold & Flu tablets really DO make a cold sufferer feel better.

Thank god I’m not going to die from this affliction. I’m forever grateful it’s just a cold. A simple cold. And that I will live to fight another day.

June 14 – Today I am thankful for an indoor toilet/bathroom. After chatting to my cousin and her husband this evening, and listening to their tales of travelling around australia in a caravan, and almost always having to use an outdoor toilet (or worse), it occurred to me how lucky we are to have not just one, but FOUR indoor toilets. That means no unwelcome snakes or creepy-crawlies or furry friends accompanying me to the loo (unless my kids count as creepy-crawlies). It’s the small things which we forget are often the big things, and usually the things we take too much for granted. Now, all my toilet needs now is a seat/bum warmer, because those seats are getting cold as we move further into winter.

June 15 Today I am thankful for a house that is large enough for guests to come and stay. With a guest room that accommodates 4, it doesn’t get utilised enough. Sure, it’s Julian’s bedroom as well, but if the opportunity arises to have friends or family come to stay we will accept them into our humble home with arms wide open. We love having visitors, we love spending time with them and making the effort to ensure they have a comfortable stay. I’m so glad we have the space, I just wish more people would come and visit us!

June 16 – Today I am thankful for living so close to the ocean and being able to make the most of the beautiful weather. We spent the afternoon at North Burleigh, having lunch at the surf club and then riding bikes and scooters along the beach. Yes, EVEN James.

After spending 4 years in Tokyo, where we were surrounded by nothing but concrete buildings, crowds, and congestion, and a trip to the beach took hours because of the traffic; to then living in Singapore where it was like stepping into a warm bath every time you went out the front door, and the beaches left a lot to be desired; and then finally in London, where summer lasted 2 weeks and even then the temps barely got above 20C, and the rest of the year it was cold and miserable, we arrived on the Gold Coast. Autumn, winter, and spring are usually stunning, and the temperature barely dips below 20C in the day time.

I love living here, even though it’s still a bit lonely and there are plenty of bogans around, but I love the weather and I love the beach. All of them. I’m so glad my kids have the opportunity to grow up on the coast, and I hope they never take the beauty and accessibility of this place, in fact ALL of Australia, for granted.

June 17 – So, in light of the fact I was sick yesterday, I am posting yesterday’s “thankful” post today. I had it all worked out, I just didn’t have the energy, and I was in too much pain, to type it out.

Today I am thankful for my husband. Even though I am a total bitch whenever he gets sick with his “manflu”, he always waits on me hand-&-foot whenever I am poorly. I know he thinks to himself “I really SHOULDN’T be nice to her, when she’s so mean to me”, and yet he ends up being the bigger person, even bringing me toast and tea, and letting me sleep whilst he looks after all 4 kids. And so, in light of this “thankful” post, I promise to always be just as caring to him when he’s sick in the future. I love you Jules. You are my rock, and I can’t do this without you.

June 18 – Today I am thankful for living in a country with the choice of both a free and public health care system. As I was in such immense pain this morning from a severe bout of tonsillitis, we decided to head straight to the hospital as I knew I needed more than a script and told to go on my way.

Luckily, we only waited around 10-15 minutes to be seen and I was in with the doctor shortly after that. Before I knew it, I was being given a canula (not an easy feat when my veins are so dehydrated), had my blood taken, and was pumped full of antibiotics, steroids, pain meds, and fluids.

I spent the entire day at the hospital, being moved to a bed in their short-stay unit, and was supposed to stay overnight but I was desperate to get home to the kids and my own bed. Upon being discharged, I walked straight out the door. NO BILLS to pay, no insurance questions, just straight out the door.

Now, if this was the United States, it would possibly be a different story. If I didn’t have the right type of insurance, the hospital possibly wouldn’t have been able to admit me, or I would have ended up with a huge out-of-pocket expense. Or both. And in the UK, we would have kept falling through the cracks, or not received the care we needed because we lived in the wrong postcode or were from the wrong burrough.

We live in a country where we have the option of a REALLY GOOD public health system, available to EVERYONE, where every serious illness is covered and you still get access to some of the best health professionals in the country (depending on which hospital you decide to go to, and it is YOUR CHOICE whichever hospital you decide on). Cancer, Muscular Dystrophy, Cystic Fibrosis, Alzheimers, childhood illnesses, etc are all covered straight away, and the treatment they get is usually fantastic.

We also have the option of private health insurance. We have top cover health insurance, the best you can get, and for the 6 of us it costs $400 per month. And yet we rarely have to use it because pretty much everything so far has been covered by the public health system. All of James’ appointment, specialists, tests, many therapies, etc are free. And his medication only costs $5.60 per script because he has a healthcare card (due to his disability/illness). And thank god, because having a child with a serious illness can be very expensive, and we shouldn’t have to be out of pocket simply because our son was unlucky enough to be given this shitty disease.

So today I am thankful for the choices we have, that make our little boy’s life (and ours) just that little bit easier. And I thank the nurses and doctors and specialists and therapists that also provide a wonderful service. We are very lucky here in Australia. Very lucky. If only more Australians realised that.

June 19 – Today I am thankful for being able to eat and drink again. Not much, mind you, but at least it’s an improvement on yesterday. Onwards and upwards.

June 20 – Today I am thankful for being able to show two very good friends how much they mean to me, and know that our friendships aren’t one-sided or our efforts taken for granted.

With one of my dearest friends, Fran, finally finishing off her degree after 6.5 years of study (and she gave birth to two babies and renovated a house in that time), I wanted her to know how proud I was of her. And so I invited her and her girls over to my place, as well as another friend of mine, and put on a celebratory champagne lunch, complete with flowers & present. The girls played with my younger two, and the three of us ate & drank & talked & laughed. But this is no one-sided friendship. Fran often asks us over to her place for playdates or weekend family BBQs, or even just a girls-only tv night. Ever since I arrived back in Australia, she has bent over backwards to make me feel welcome. She will drop things to help out a friend in need, and she is never too busy for those she cares about. I’ve always appreciated Fran’s effort and I’ve always made sure to show my gratitude and love by doing the same in return.

And then there’s Mel, my other dear friend who came over today. One of my oldest friends, we went to primary and high school together. Those years where we didn’t talk to each other, well let’s just say we were both young and stubborn, but now we are back in each others lives and have both grown up and matured immensely. She’s a busy girl, queen of socializing (a title which I used to own), but she ALWAYS makes the effort to catch up every few weeks, whether it’s with both our families or just by ourselves. With a heart of gold, she will always offer to help out, or even make my family dinner when I’m sick.

Two special girls, 2 VERY dear friends. And I’m so glad to have them in my life, and have the opportunity to show how much they mean to me. Friendships are so important, and not meant to be one-sided. I mean, what’s the point of a one-sided friendship? If you have a friend who means the world to you, then you should let them know by showing it.

And that’s exactly what I did today. And I’m thankful that I have such special friends that I can do that for. Thank you girls. I love you both. xxxx

June 21 – Today, I heard the news that our Duchenne community had suffered yet another tragic loss. But what made this loss even more heartbreaking was that the parents of this boy lost another boy to Duchenne not that long ago. And they have a third son ALSO with Duchenne.

It’s devastating to have one child diagnosed with a terminal illness, let alone two or three. When James was diagnosed at two, Charlyse was just one year old. I remember thinking “what if she has it as well, how will I go on living?”. When we were told it is a sex-linked disease and it mainly affects boys, we were relieved. And over the next few years we had 2 more children. One was a boy, and so we had prenatal testing done to determine if he was affected. He wasn’t. We were “lucky”, he was “lucky”. But it probably would have been so different if I was a carrier, which I’m not, or if James wasn’t diagnosed so early. We could have ended up like the family who just lost their second child, and whose third son probably is now so scared knowing that he will be next.

And so today, whilst I HATE Duchenne with all of my might, whilst I hate what it has done to my family and, most of all, what it is doing to my beautiful and perfect boy, I am thankful that my other 3 children are duchenne-free. I am thankful that the heartache and devastation we live with isn’t three-fold, and because of that I have the energy to do as much as I possibly can for my one affected (and incredibly unlucky but perfect) little boy. Because even though this is the hardest road we will ever have to travel, it could have been so much harder.

And I know that’s a strange thing to be thankful for because I would do anything for James to NOT be affected (including giving my own life for his), but I know there are plenty of my friends out there who understand exactly how I feel tonight.

June 22 – Today I am thankful for my kids having such good friends.

We all know, as we grow older, the true meaning of a good friend. And many of us have had at least one of those “true friends” since childhood. They know everything about you, they’ve seen you at your worst, they’ve seen you at your best, and they’ve been through good, bad, and sad times with you. They accept you for who you are.

So you can imagine how thrilled I am that James actually seems to have a group of friends who like him, care for him, and look out for him. Today he went to the birthday party of one of his friends, and the party was modified to allow James to take part. Both the friend and his mum ensured it would be suitable for James, considering his diminishing physical abilities. And he had a blast. In fact, he had a smile on his face all evening, and went to bed one very tired, but happy, little boy.

I am not only happy that all 4 kids have their “best friends”, or BFF (as Charlyse puts it), but also that their friends come from good, well-mannered, caring families. And whether they are still friends in years to come is not the important point – the important thing to remember is that they were good friends in the first place.

June 23 – Today I am thankful for putting into practice so much of what I learnt in my art therapy course, because it’s really made a difference to my mental & emotional state.

Ever since James was diagnosed, I’ve been sad and angry. I was told to go “talk to someone”, but I decided talking to someone wasn’t going to fix my son, so how could it fix me? But I know now that nothing could have been further from the truth.

I’m still sad, and I’m still so angry. But I’m finding new ways to deal with those emotions, to not take it out on those around me.

I’m starting to listen to my heart more, and take time for myself, to focus on me. If I can’t love and respect myself, how can I love and respect anyone else? So finding “me” is becoming increasingly important. Discovering who I am, away from kids and duchenne, is reminding me that I’m still a person with needs and dreams, and i need to be around other people who like me for who they can see underneath the facade.

It’s a long road, and it’s not an easy one, but I’m making my way one step at a time. I feel happier since my therapy, and I’ve managed to come this far without medication. Whilst medication works for so many, I wanted to try and do all I can by myself, as naturally as possible.

So I’m thankful today for taking that first step to a better me. And I hope that I will continue to go from strength to strength, and that all of you, my friends, will encourage me on this journey.

June 24 Today I am thankful that I can go to sleep tonight and not wake up stressed about making school lunches, or finding uniforms, or getting out the door early enough so we get to school in time to park in one of the few disabled spots. And, whilst my younger two are still going to preschool (52 weeks a year), I don’t have to have them there at any particular time. So I think, tomorrow morning, I might just have a little sleep in and take my time getting ready and out the door.

June 25 Today I am thankful for the simple, but priceless, luxury of having a camera to capture memories of my family – memories which will last a lifetime.

We all know how precious time is, and because of James we are even more aware. And with that awareness comes a ferventness and appreciation of capturing memories.

Whether it’s the birth of a baby or them taking their first steps, a preschooler making their first Vegemite sandwich, or holidays to far-away destinations, each shot tells a story. Perhaps it’s a sporting occasion, playing golf in the front yard, riding a bike, dancing to the music on the radio, or even catching up with the grandparents when they visit from Sydney, each moment is important in telling the story of my family’s life.

I have a computer, filled to the brim with 1000’s and 1000’s of photos, all taken over the past 12 years. A lifetime of memories already. And my kids look through those photos and remember special occasions, holidays, and people, and those special moments that only lasted long enough for its memory to be imprinted onto my camera’s memory, but because of that they will last forever.

Yes, today I am thankful for my trusty and dependable Canon camera, and for my love of just clicking away and capturing life’s special moments. Because one day, all we will have left are memories of those moments, so I don’t want to miss a single thing.

June 26 Today I am thankful for friends, both near and far. There are friends whom I have met, and friends whom I only know in the cyber world. Some of you are friends who knew me “before Duchenne” and some are friends who have only known me with “that D-word” attached.

As I find myself with no extended family, they have courageously stepped into the roles. They support me, guide me, cry with me, talk with me, encourage me, allow me to vent, listen to my moans, listen to my joyful boasts, and continue to love me when I am at my most unloveable. Just as real family is meant to. I don’t know what I would do, or where I would be, without the incredible friends I have made through the years.

And I thank Facebook for allowing them to be a part of my life, and me a part of theirs. Friendships are built in the furthest corners of the world, and all thanks to a social networking site. Whilst many others might lament the inception, development, and success of Facebook, I am one of its biggest fans. Because Facebook has given me the best support network I could have ever dreamed of.

So thank you friends, for being there for me. You have saved my life, on more than one occasion. xxxx

June 27 Today, I am thankful that I still have years with James, rather than months. My girlfriend and her two young kids came over today, and we got talking about her older daughter, who died a few years ago aged 9 from a brain tumour.

From the day of diagnosis to the day of her passing was a period of 7 months. SEVEN MONTHS. I can’t imagine only having 7 months with James, and seeing him sick in hospital for much of that. I am thankful that I get to tuck him into his own bed every night, and go into wake him up with a kiss every morning. I am thankful that we can still take him on more family holidays and make special memories that will last a lifetime. I am thankful that I can take endless photographs of him to remind me of how beautiful he is when he is eventually gone.

My friend and I cried today, for the first time ever, as she recounted those last few months with her daughter. And I realised then that, even though Duchenne is a fucking awful disease, I still have precious time to spend with him and the rest of my beautiful family. I still have time. Kay’s daughter ran out of time, way too early.

And so tonight, I gave each of my children the biggest hugs and smothered their faces in kisses. Tonight, I told each of them how much I love them and how I will see them in the morning. And I will do that every single night, until I no longer can.

Tonight, I am thankful that I still have time, when so many others don’t.

June 28 Today I am thankful for having (generally) well mannered, well behaved kids.

I won’t lie – they often drive me crazy and I have occasionally lost my temper with them, but for the most part they are pretty damn good. I guess that comes from being pretty strict about certain things, such as all being in bed by 7pm, holding hands whenever we are out and about, having strict rules at home, always wearing their seatbelts PROPERLY, saying please & thank you, making their beds and cleaning their rooms, and the list goes on.

Sometimes it takes looking after another person’s child to make me realise that my kids aren’t too bad. In fact, I’ve realised today that they’re not bad at all. I just hope they stay that way through adolescence. Not liking my chances though.

June 29 Today, on this second-last day of June, I am thankful that I have managed to inspire so many of my friends to join in and find something each day to be thankful for.

When I first started this, in December last year, I didn’t realise it would make such a difference to the way I looked at my life. Being in such a dark place at the time, it really helped me to appreciate the good things I have. Coming into June this year, I was back in that miserable place, unable to see any light at the end of the tunnel. And whilst finding my own things to be thankful have helped me get to a happier place, it’s the Thankful posts from my friends that have truly lifted me. Seeing so many thankful posts each day, especially from friends who know that dark place I frequent, is inspiration in itself and something to truly be thankful for.

Whilst many of you have thanked ME for the inspiration, I want to thank YOU. Because I feel happy when I read your posts, and I feel valued enough to have helped you make a difference to your lives. And in doing so, my life seems that little bit better.

So thank you for taking this ride with me, and I hope you will all join me again in December. xxxx

June 30 Today, on this last day of June, I really am thankful for so much.

Firstly, I am thankful to everyone that has followed my thankful posts this much, and encouraged me with each day’s entry.

I am thankful for the roof over my head, the food on my table, and the clothes on my back. Each night, I go to bed in a warm dry room, with my belly full and snuggle up under a warm cosy doona. So many people don’t have that luxury.

I am thankful for all my dear friends who have put up with me over the years, and continue to do so. I drive them crazy, I’m sure, and yet they continue to stick around. They are all part of my extended family, and I would do anything (within reason) for any of them.

I am thankful for being born an Australian, but having the opportunity to live overseas, experiencing life in other countries, to fully appreciate how wonderful my home country really is.

I am thankful for music – the language of my soul. It lifts me when I’m down, it calms me when I’m anxious, it excites me when I’m getting ready to go out. It reminds me of moments in my life that I never want to forget, and it reminds me of when actual events occurred. And my love of music, of the lyrics, of the melody, of the beat, has been inherited by my children.

I am thankful for the sun that shines and warms up my heart, and the moon that soothes my soul and helps me see my way through the darkness, both literally and metaphorically.

I am thankful for living in a country where the education system really takes care of my son, where he isn’t forgotten, where he doesn’t fall through the cracks. And I am glad that he is thriving, as are my other three.

Most of all, I am thankful for my 4 beautiful children, all of whom contribute to the light of my life, my reason for living, and the products of my true calling as a mother. And their dad – he drives me crazy but he loves me no matter what. And whilst he certainly has his faults (as do I), he really does try so hard to be the best husband he can be. These 5 people know me in a way no one ever has. They open me to things I never knew existed. They drive me to insanity and push me to my depths. They are the beat of my heart, the pulse of my veins, and the energy in my soul.

I love them all. To the sun and back, plus to infinity and beyond. Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite. And I hope to see you again in the morning, when I start my Photo a Day Challenge.


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