Every Sunday, I like to sit down and set an intention for the week. I usually set this intention in the morning, but as usual things (my children) prevented me from getting in front of my computer. As I type this, I’m on the phone with my 89 year old grandmother. We have probably been on the phone for about 2 hours. My children and husband are asleep and I am sitting here in the dark listening to my grandma tell me stories about her life. We have discussed family, racism, Donald Trump, eating other people’s gumbo, weight gain, and death. I desperately need to get to bed, but the way I was raised, it is disrespectful for me to end the conversation. I enjoy these talks anyway, so I welcome the loss of sleep.
The theme for tonight has returned constantly to being thankful. I have heard it so much that it dawned on me that this is probably what I need to be mindful of this week. I have a tendency to overlook my blessings or get frightened of them. I need to stop being frightened of being happy. Happiness is something I worked really hard for and instead of finding fault in the smallest things, I need to acknowledge the goodness in all things.
As I sit hear listening to my grandmother talk about her life, I have this extreme sense of gratitude for her. She has probably told me she loves me three times in my entire 37 years of living on this Earth. We do not hug. I don’t remember ever getting or giving kisses on the cheek, but I do remember and still see her eyes light up when she sees me. I know she sees herself in me. I know without a doubt that she loves me and I know with certainty that without her I wouldn’t be alive.
When I went to go live with her, I was a shell. I had been a shell for so long that I do not even think I realized I wasn’t really living. I did not know joy. I didn’t even know what it felt like to be safe, but she provided the space for me to find my way. I could be bitter about certain things that happened in my childhood. I could find fault in my parents. I could even use a number of things as a crutch, but because of my grandmother, I can be thankful.
My grandmother said to me, “Life is what you make it. One day you wake up and realize that you don’t have to take this crap, so you change it. You stop letting other people make your life and start making your own“.
My intention this week is to carry my grandmother with me and acknowledge that I am making my own life. I am going to be mindful of my complaints. I am going to be mindful of my fears. I am going to acknowledge how far I have come and I am going to tell that young girl who showed up on my grandmother’s doorstep 23 years ago that she is safe, loved, and no longer just existing, but alive.
Love and light y’all.