i mulled this post over in my head for quite a long time, and i found that even though i have received lots of gifts, it was hard for me to attach such a strong emotional process like gratitude to something material. so, i'm cheating on this week's prompt and choosing to highlight what my mom gives me and everyone she loves: her smile.
my mom has a beautiful and happy soul.
it took me a long time to appreciate her.
when i was growing up, we weren't very close, and something that fueled the fire was my disdain for what i now love about her. i hated how upbeat she was and how easily she was able to smile even when things were tough. while i dealt (poorly) with my depression, i resented the fact that she was able to find joy in things when i couldn't. i mistook that ability for apathy -- i assumed that she didn't care about horrible things that happened because she would quickly smile them away. i didn't understand how powerful that was at the time.
it wasn't until we let each other in that we really discussed things that we kept to ourselves -- the severity of my depression, for example, and the fact that she actually worked hard to smile. i didn't learn until adulthood that she wasn't this disinterested creature who refused to deal with hard things. she dealt with them in a way that would keep her sane and keep her eyes toward gratitude. she struggles with internalizing the feelings of others and often blames herself when things go wrong. and sometimes it was hard for her to smile.
but she always does. she spreads her light, and it is infectious. she makes anyone with whom she comes in contact feel comfortable and safe. she works through things i could've never imagined because she refuses to let them take away her joy. i envy that about her, and though i know i'm not a huge smiler, i long to emulate her and i am grateful for what her smile has taught me.