Being Grateful in Hard Times


GratefulI knew I was in trouble when a Coronavirus update from my cell service provider made me burst into tears. 

Their message said, “We’re here and we’re ready,” and I was overwhelmed. What confidence! What comfort! Finally, someone had it all under control!  

We’re dealing. We’re all dealing. 

However, my typical coping mechanisms have been put to the test and found wanting. So I’m trying one that’s newish to me: gratitude.

It’s hardly revolutionary, but new problems require new solutions and this one is mine. 

It’s now my answer to every skin-crawling, doubt-inducing, anxiety-raising challenge we face in these uncertain times. 

What I’m Thankful For

The children are here. All day, every day.  

I’m grateful for our teachers and school for communicating regularly and providing not just tasks but opportunities for learning remotely.  I am grateful for the chance to see up close how my first grader learns. I am grateful for our libraries and for so many of the education sites and apps removing paywalls.

The ants come marching two by two…into the house. They toy with me, retreating and finding new corners for entrance just when I think I’ve conquered them.

I am grateful for the spring weather, for the burgeoning flowers, and our daily walks. I am grateful for the neighbors who cede us the sidewalk, who smile and wave from afar, and beautify their space with chalked pictures and affirmations.

My blood pressure has never felt so high.

I am grateful for the reminder to exercise, for the motivation to put down the bag of chips before it’s entirely gone (the grocery store never seems to run low on salty snacks), for the reminder that my body might be better served by going to bed rather than staying up late to enjoy more kid-free time.

I’ve never noticed my husband was a mouth breather.

I am grateful my husband has a job he can work from home. I am grateful there is nowhere else we have to be, that we can stay home together and ride this out. None of us have chronic health issues that need to be addressed and that COVID-19 remains a headline and not our personal reality.

They’re hungry. All. The. Time.

I am grateful for our local grocery stores and its many employees. I am grateful they show up and risk the germs, that they leave bags on our doorstep, that they load our car at drive up. That they somehow smile – through their mask – and help us feed our family. 

Did the toddler just cough? Was that a sniffle?

I am thankful for our healthcare workers taking care of everyone, for their families making the sacrifice. I am grateful for the telemedicine options, for knowing someone is still there to answer my increasingly panicked questions.

But it’s his 7th birthday!

I’m grateful for friends and family willing to find new ways to celebrate. I am grateful for the mom blogs with a dozen great ideas for virtual birthday parties and their inspiring positivity. I am grateful for online shopping services, our mail carriers delivering the birthday goodies, and local businesses providing curbside and pickup options.

I’m struggling today.

I am thankful to my best friend for shipping me wine. I’m grateful to the driver delivering the wine for accepting as proof of age my rapidly wrinkling face through the window rather than a signature. 

I am grateful tomorrow can be better.

The gratitude mantra takes a level of maturity and self-awareness that doesn’t come naturally to me but I’m working on it. My family is endlessly blessed considering the challenges we could be facing, and this system helps me remember that.

If nothing else, it keeps me from weeping at overconfident corporate emails.

What are you grateful for? 



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