Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Gratitude's my attitude

Although this post may come a couple days late, better now than never, I think. I'm finally done with summer session - Ciao alle lezioni d'Italiano e Marco, il mio professore migliore - and I've been spending my downtime setting up my new digs --post to come soon with pictures-- and reading Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife, which I highly recommend even though I'm only halfway through it. Nevertheless, I fully intend on finishing it in the next couple of days. I'm falling in love with Henry, despite the fact that I'm struggling with the philosophical aspect of his time traveling and relating to Clare's emotional struggles with his disappearances as well.

My mom's birthday was on Sunday, and I was worried that she wouldn't receive her birthday card on time. Due to dealing with the move all week, I had even written it down on my planner to drop the card down the mail chute, but it didn't dawn upon me until Thursday afternoon, when everything had settled. Of course, I still had boxes to unpack and numerous objects to label and organize in their respective drawers and shelves, but it wasn't an option to put it off any longer. I owed my mom a great big thank you for everything she's done for me throughout the years, and such a feat would end up in a tearful bout if I even attempted to express myself verbally, so I picked out a beautiful card and wrote a genuine message for her to enjoy on her special day.

Which brings me to my biggest point: what happened to correspondence? There's so much intimacy and heartfelt emotion, time, effort, and thought behind the written word that is now cheapened by the immediacy of e-mails and text messages. While these mediums are completely capable of transporting heartfelt messages of appreciation or gratitude, they aren't being used as such. Perky Girl and I were talking about the romance behind it all, someone talking the time to sit down with his pen and paper and a message fueled by his love for another chronicled for the receiver's enjoyment to serve as a constant reminder of that moment in time combined with those particular emotions. Which explains partly why I don't skimp when it comes to birthday cards or thank you notes and have an entire box filled with stationery for this purpose.

Nevertheless, I sent her card out in hopes that she wouldn't receive it too late, and she called me on Sunday to thank me for the texts, phone calls, and card all for the purpose of her day - yes, I used all mediums of modern communication - and we had an in-depth conversation about the contents of my message. Of course, I started to get teary-eyed once she told me that my card made her cry, but I meant every word. I find it easier to express myself on paper than verbally, and I'm always glad to hear that people who receive my messages appreciate them as intended.

But my mom's birthday card kind of had the message that a mother helps you take your first steps and picks you up when you fall, goes through all your firsts with you, basically chronicling the parts of life that are important to share with your mother and through it all, she's there to experience it with you, and in my message I wrote to her that I'm proud and grateful to have her in my life to share my life with, and with graduation and the beginning of my adult life approaching, I wrote that I was excited and anticipating sharing the future with her. It makes me happy and sad to think that work, marriage, and kids are in the future for me because I know that marriage will mean the start of mine and my husband's life together and the snippet-action of my dependence to my parents. Yes, I think it's bittersweet --I always cry at a particular part of weddings, when the father gives away the bride to the groom, because I imagine how hard it will be for me to accept that I am letting go of my parents and allowing the simultaneous occurrence of our familial separation and my marital unity with my husband. Call me attached, but it's hard to cut the cord! I absolutely love my parents and try to talk with my dad at least every other day. He knows that I get busy with school and teaching and living 300 miles away from them, and my mom works practically nonstop to provide for us, so it's nice to have them as my outlet for sounding off when I can't find anyone else to relate to. Not that that's a problem at all, my girls are always here for me and I usually go to them when I've got a problem. But there are times when you've got to turn to your parents for their guidance because you know it's backed by an experienced opinion.

All in all, I'd just like to state how much I love my life - my family, my friends, all the experiences that come from school, teaching, and everyone that I happen to run into in this crazy world - bring it on, I tell the Big Man Upstairs. There's nothing He doesn't give us that he knows we can't handle, and I am a firm believer that everything, everything happens for a reason. And if it isn't happening now, it may happen tomorrow, it may never happen - just know that it'll only happen when it's meant to.

Which begs the question: have you thanked someone for being a part of your life today?

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