We moved a lot when I was growing up which probably explains my ability to make conversation with almost anyone, anytime, anywhere. One move was particularly hard on me and as with all things that are hard on us, that move forced me to dig deep and develop character traits that have enriched my quality of life.
I was 7 years old when we moved to a city in Alabama that is famous for many reasons. However, in my little girl world, that small city was my home, it was where we went to school and church; it was where we rode bikes to one another’s houses and licked honeysuckle off of the vines. It was where I sold cookies for my Brownie troop, where my friends and I went roller skating and it was where my very best childhood friend lived. It was all very easy and I had no reason to think that it would change because we moved. But of course it would change, everything changes (even if you stay in the same place forever).
We moved to a suburb of Atlanta when I was in the 6th grade. And to this day, I still regret that I did not get to go to the 6th grade spend the night party that one of the elementary school teachers at my old Alabama elementary school hosted annually.
So we moved.
Atlanta is still in the Deep South however it is more transient than most of the other towns and cities in the surrounding area. In that regard, I think that the other 6th graders were used to seeing people move into their school districts so they had become more accustomed to meeting the new kids. Pretty quickly I made a really fun set of friends in the burbs of Atlanta. And before I knew it, my hair was permed and sprayed and just huge (I was definitely an 80’s teenager living in Atlanta).
Three years later we moved back to the smaller city in Alabama and that is when it happened. I absolutely did not fit in at all. Big city hair, big city edgy clothes…those things did not go over with the demure culture of that town in Alabama where grosgrain ribbons adorn silky smooth long locks of hair. I was very much out of step at an age when everyone feels awkward even if they are totally in step.
So, I would go to school during the day and I would cry at night.
I was trying very hard to put away the memories of my Atlanta friends while looking for my new circle of friends in Alabama (all the while trying to figure out how to tame that horrific perm) and I would curl up in bed beside my mother and cry. And she would listen. As an adult looking back, I bet that broke her heart. I bet she wanted to make it all better but she couldn’t do that for me. The best thing she could do was to be a soft place to land when I came home each evening. However, one night she gave me a spiral notebook and a pen. She told me that she wanted me to practice the “Principle of Thanksgiving”. She told me that every night before I went to sleep, I was to write 1 thing that had happened during the day for which I was thankful.
My initial entries were small, but they mattered because they were a positive in my day that I recognized. Literally I can remember writing that my favorite song came on the radio, or I saw a pretty rainbow, or I laughed with someone new at lunch. Do you know what happened? Before I knew it, I was writing lengthy entries every night and I was putting my tears onto paper and then wrapping them up at the end with something positive that had happened during the day. Over time those small things became bigger and eventually I was writing about a great group of girlfriends, crushes on boys, dresses for parties, getting to go on really neat trips…and the life adventures were truly just beginning.
So, today, I am better than yesterday but I am not fabulous yet. I am still in a lot of pain. And honestly, I could tell you a million negatives but I am not going to do that. I am going to wrap this up with an intention of Thanksgiving because as hard as this is, I still have more positives than negatives in my life.
It is time for me to do it again, put it on paper. The principle of Thanksgiving.
Today I am grateful for
- My parents live around the corner and they are helping us get through this trial
- My mother made her delicious chili for my husband to have for supper
- One of my husband’s sons and his wife gave an incredibly soft blanket to me which is definitely aiding in my healing
- One of my husband’s sons and his wife gave me a Saint Bernadette beaded chain which has a medallion engraved “miracle”. I sleep with that beside my bed so that I see the word “miracle” everytime I wake up or go to sleep
- We have a warm house on a very cold night
Thank you God, in the holy name of Jesus for meeting our needs and for the blessings in our lives. Amen.