Learning to Live with Gratitude

I had a “Come to Jesus” moment with my eldest daughter today.

I had just picked her up from a surprise playdate at her best friend’s house and was immediately met with discontent and complaint after complaint.  In less than five minutes, she had racked up six grievances.

I hit my limit.

This “ungrateful heart” is nothing new with our privileged child.  The majority of the time, she is sweet, imaginative and fun. She plays outside more than in, reads more books than she watches a screen, and is a stranger to none.  She has always been the teacher’s favorite- kind and a rule-follower.

But when she gets home, she lets herself go.

Upon entering the house, I listed the six things she had managed to complain about in the 90 second ride from our neighbor’s house in one column, and sat down to have her list what she could have and excuse me, should have said instead.

I drew a picture of a half-full glass of lemonade and discussed its meaning in detail.

It’s difficult for a child that has so much to understand what it means to be disappointed. But it does not excuse her from living with an ungrateful heart.

I vow to do more community service with her.  If she is always fed, at least she can help serve meals to those who are not.  If she is always under a warm roof, at least she can hand a blanket to someone who isn’t.

In the meantime, as long as she is under this roof, she will recognize her actions and strive to do better.  To say thank you often– to the cashier, the mailman, the janitor, the nurse, the teacher, her friends and her family.  To be aware that although yes, the glass is half-empty, to focus on the half that is full.  To live with a grateful heart.

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Step

It was late.

It was far away.

It was foreign- something we “used to do”.

It had been a longggggg 10 days prior, complete with travel and a funeral.

There were a multitude of reasons why we could raincheck this date . . . but we didn’t.

We ate at a sushi spot one minute from home and when we still had 45 minutes until the main act came on stage, we decided to “pre-game” with my 87 year-old father who lived close-by.

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It. was. the best.

It’s been 7 years since my husband and I have had a conversation with my dad without children nearby.  And it’s been nearly that long since we’ve gone to a live show together.

There we stood with a crowd of others that, I pointed out, had at least one thing in common with us- an adoration for this band.

Lord Huron began with a song I frequently listen to as I write “Love Like Ghosts” and immediately I was catapulted into my writing space.

 

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My face lit like the sun itself so I stretched out my arms and danced.

I had taken a step- into the unfamiliar, into the faraway- but I was home.

We sang, we danced, we remembered what it felt like to step into our space and realized, it was worth the distance.

 

Once Upon a Time . . .

there were two inseparable sisters.

20 months apart one had never known life without the other.

Until there were three.

The second, no longer only the shadow of the first, had a choice.

Follow or lead?

The third met the fourth.

And life changed.

 

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Camille Vaughan Photography
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The Bigs by Camille Vaughan
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Camille Vaughan Photography