Thanksgiving weekend: Aiming for gratitude

I am posting this Sunday night after a full, long Thanksgiving weekend. We had a small pre-Thanksgiving dinner party on Wednesday. We celebrated with extended family on Thursday. Over the next few days, we crossed several things off the Holiday Fun List, such as going to the Choo Choo Barn and Dutch Wonderland in Lancaster. The kids have all shopped for each other (including their baby brother! Though he shouldn’t be there to open the presents…) and most major presents have been identified, if not already ordered. We made progress on the Lego gingerbread house. I got started on the holiday cards. I ran (albeit slowly) every day, sang in church on Sunday, and my husband took the two little kids skiing. We got our Christmas tree — purchased, as always, from our local fire department. We even made it to the Academy of Natural Science’s Wizarding weekend, though my kids found that fairly underwhelming.

There is much to be grateful for on this Thanksgiving weekend. On the other hand, I have reached the stage of late pregnancy where everything is just physically uncomfortable. And while reaching this stage of pregnancy is itself a cause for gratitude (hello, I turn 41 this week!) it’s slightly harder to feel that way as I haul my heavy self around. Getting in the car is difficult. Bending over is an unpleasant experience. I get winded going up stairs. This is going to be a long next 6-7* weeks.

So I am just taking it day by day. In the morning: hey, I made it through another night (hopefully not too bad of one…I read or work if I can’t sleep). In the evening: another day in the books! I tend to fall asleep easily, even if I don’t stay asleep, so it’s kind of a treat to nestle into the comfy spot I have carefully constructed from what seems like a fort-worthy number of pillows.

In Off the Clock, I devote a section to how people get themselves through challenging times — more challenging than what I’m facing, but the same lessons apply.

First, know that the time frame is probably limited. Certainly that is the case with pregnancy. All time passes. If you need to stay in a miserable job for 2 years, well, 2 years is 17,520 hours, and you won’t work for all of them. When you can set a reasonable end on the time frame, you can pace yourself through a great many things.

Second, find little moments to enjoy as you can. I don’t always feel terrible. Even if my physical body is a mess there are some really cool things going on professionally and personally in my life. And sometimes there are good moments that are enjoyable precisely because of their contrast with the crummy situation. I loved Tough Mudder champion and ultrarunner Amelia Boone’s description (in Off the Clock) of seeing the sun rise after she’d been out all night on a freezing obstacle course. It was just a normal wintry sunrise, and someone out driving on the highway would have thought nothing of it. But there in the cold morning, Boone was elated. She had earned that dawn.

In any case, I’m trying to enjoy what I can of the holiday season. I got a particular kick (not the fetal variety!) this weekend out of seeing my kids select gifts for each other. It’s not always easy to roam a toy aisle and move beyond “I want that” to “I bet my brother would like that.” But they picked out fairly thoughtful things for each other. Apparently that empathy muscle is developing somewhere!

*I presume. With my advanced maternal age, there is pretty strong pressure not to go past the due date.

Photo: Last gasp of fall color. I snapped this photo, then we had wind and freezing temperatures and that was the end of that. 

4 thoughts on “Thanksgiving weekend: Aiming for gratitude

  1. Feeling you on the pregnancy stage. I’m a a bit earlier than you (29 weeks), but starting to feel the random aches and pains of it. It feels like the end is forever away (especially since I’m not even where you are yet!), but it will come :).

  2. Solidarity Laura! I’m 35 weeks pregnant (with my second) and almost 38 years old. Really not able to keep up with what my non-pregnant self could manage now and trying not to get too frustrated. This time of year doesn’t make it easy to slow down!

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