Family: Being grateful trumps being sad

Treena Mielke

Spring, and all the hidden promises that word suggests, has arrived.

It is good, isn’t it.

As the days of our lives roll out and the calendar page of March is turned over for another year, I find myself reflecting on the pages of the past year.

And, as always, I realize how much I have to be grateful for.

Of course, being me, I don’t think grateful thoughts immediately.

I think grumpy, sad thoughts that don’t line up with the mature, positive and ‘all-together’ woman I strive to be, but seldom achieve.

I think about the past Christmas and how the ‘getting together family gatherings’ I visualized in my head repeatedly never did materialize.

I think about the birthdays and holidays lost, occasions that were held together by the invisible threads of family, love, tradition, and actual physical presence.

I think about hugs that used to be given out freely like candy tossed to little kids in a parade.

And I feel sad.

But, one thing I have learned over the years, although the lesson does elude me sometimes, is being grateful trumps being sad. Always. Period. End of story.

And even with the long, dark days that mark a year of COVID-19 behind us, I push away the dark thoughts and humbly acknowledge my very own grateful list.

And, as I go about my day and the mischievous rays of sunshine poke their little faces through my dining room window the words my dearly departed brother always said when things didn’t go quite as planned, “there is no use crying over spilled milk, Treen,” come to mind.

And so, I plaster a happy face on the invisible dragon of ‘what ifs and if only’s’ that lives in my mind and move on.

And as surely as the pussywillows and crocuses bloom reminding us once again that hope springs eternal, I find myself smiling.

But lest I get too happy in my own little world of pussywillows and crocuses and the fact that spring, itself, has arrived the words of my grandson (the youngest one) keep me humble.

Jacob shared with me that he will soon be seven years old.

“And then I’ll be eight,” he said, matter-of-factly, staring out the car window with a thoughtful expression befitting a child who is almost seven.

“And then, before you know it, I’ll be eighty like you,” he said, continuing to gaze out the window nonchalantly.

“Right,” I said, deciding, at that moment, there was no point in pursuing that conversation any further.

Instead, I told him how happy we all were when he was born and what a beautiful baby he was. He listened, silently, munching on his package of tiny Easter egg candies.

And as we drove along, I wondered what he would remember about COVID-19, the virus that hit the world when he was but a child of six, going on seven, soon to be eighty.

Treena Mielke is a central Alberta writer. She lives in Sylvan Lake with her family.

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