At two years old, Layton was growing like a weed, awaking each morning with boundless energy to explore the world with infectious curiosity. What a joy! Yet, I worried that many of those childhood experiences would soon be lost to fading memories (his and mine, both). I wondered if my increasingly busy life would prevent me from seeing the little everyday sorts of moments I’d want to cherish.
An idea popped into my head: why not write a weekly letter to him to store away for safekeeping? In those letters, perhaps I could encapsulate some of the biggest moments of that year in a form that we could return to years later to reminisce and enjoy.
Over the course of the next 52 weeks, I wrote weekly journal entries to Layton – letters that described his first spoken sentences, our regular trips to the farmer’s market, and even our family’s move from South Carolina to Florida. But when the year came to an end and I looked back at the journal before slipping it into his keepsake box, I was surprised to notice something that I hadn’t originally intended. The journal began with entries that basically amounted to a laundry list of memories and milestones. But by the time my project concluded 52 weeks later, the entries were primarily filled with things about Layton and our family life together for which I was grateful.
I was grateful for the way he instinctively held my hand when we walked on the sidewalk. I was grateful for the silly way he said my name whenever I told a corny joke (which was often). I was grateful for our bedtime routine, and eating way too much together at food festivals, and watching him gaze out the window of an airplane with delight. It was as if a side effect of my attempt to be intentionally aware of “everyday moments” was that I was becoming increasingly aware of all my “everyday gratitudes,” too.
Gratitude and thanksgiving are a mindset that people of faith are called to the whole year ‘round, but it naturally takes on a particularly strong emphasis in November. This year, as you take time to consider the things you’re grateful for, I wonder what sorts of “everyday moments” and “everyday gratitudes” might make the list? I know gratitude journals are a bit cliché these days, but if you were to write some gratitudes down… I wonder if you might be surprised by what you notice.
I’m grateful for each of you.
I'm a husband, father, news junkie, theatre lover, enneagram enthusiast, bi advocate, amateur foodie, wannabe barista, and an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA).
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