Rather like biting your nails, gratitude is a habit. But one far easier to let fall by the wayside when it seems less trouble to growl goodnight to another trying day and drift off to sleep on a cloud of resentment, disappointment or sheer old exhaustion.
What after all is there to be grateful for? You draw blood dragging the wheelie bin through the back of your quarter garden cottages and curse the local council and the God of recycling for the inconvenience of a stubbed toe. You attend your four year olds nursery parents meeting and listen open-mouthed as your ridiculous ex asks whether the nursery nurse imagines that his leaving you has had a negative impact on your child. Your Dad informs you, with yet more horrifying relentless honesty, that there is a hair growing out of your nose. You cannot sleep at night.
What then is there to be grateful for?
For the peas growing with no help at all in your back garden. For the child who tells you with a curious smirk, that when you lie down your boobies hide under your arms. For the mechanics bill that comes in at a quarter of what you had expected.
There is in fact much to be grateful for.
For closure. He calls and you sit in front of him the next day, giving his hand wringing desperate unhappiness all the attention it probably doesn’t deserve. Quietly begging him to love you and yet applauding your own bravery when you say No, of course I won’t wait for you. It is over. You can’t fix him either, he’s too far gone, so you stop, (in an effort to take care of your own heart, bugger his) returning the texts that mean nothing at all to either you. Actions speak far louder than words. He isn’t, bless him, a man of action. Maybe one day when he wakes up and see’s what he has lost. But not now.
For The Penguin Book of Women’s Humour. For a quote in it from Fay Weldon, that makes you cringe in recognition: She should have written to Aunts who sent her birthday cards. She’d thought herself too good for too many people, said “I prefer the company of men” once too often. Pride comes before a fall; a sense of sisterhood with sad experience.
For the nursery nurse, who looks your sons father in the eye and says “Do I think your leaving has had any impact on your child? Not at all. He is an an absolute credit to Alison”
For the microwave chocolate cake in a mug recipe you stumble upon on the web. Cake in five minutes! In a mug! You are of course irrationally grateful for that.
For your Mum, who tells you, without a hint of irony that “humility isn’t your forte”. For the heartbreak that is A Three Dog Life, for smooth shaved legs and tomato risotto. For the embarrassment of being made a lifelong member of a dating site because you are clearly so very rubbish at it. For Finn’s new fascination with numbers, your rose quartz crystal and tortilla chips with a dollop of creme fraiche.
For the fragrance of fresh basil in your falling down kitchen and the scent of hope in your falling down life.
For remembering to say thank you. For remembering to see again.
And for strawberries. You can’t beat a scrumptious little bowl of strawberries can you?