Giving Thanks Every Day


2020 has sure done a number on us. Remember when the new millennia was supposed to be this huge thing, when we worried about the Y2K madness that was going to disrupt our lives? 2000 came… uneventfully. The Y2K drama didn’t happen. Fast forward twenty years, and a pandemic has upended our lives. Our new normal consists of masks outside, constant hand washing, and distance-learning and distance work. When was the last time we saw a friend’s face? Or gave them a hug? I even miss a good old-fashioned handshake. It’s now been replaced by the elbow bump; while safe, isn’t the same. The need for connection with others has never been stronger and the same goes for my need to express gratitude.

For the last three years or so, our family has ended our night with a discussion on gratitude. I read about the idea in a parents’ magazine a few years ago; when Ilse was old enough to understand what being grateful meant, we started our nightly discussion after our bedtime prayer. During these ten minutes before bed time, we each list something or multiple things (we limit the amount to five, otherwise we will never get to bed!) that we are grateful for from the day. Doing so has enabled each of us to pause and think about our day from a different perspective. For example, the other day, I had a stressful day with distance-learning and work (which has happened more often than not this year), and I was grateful to come home and order Chinese takeout for dinner. For Ilse, she has been constantly grateful for her teachers (Ms. Megan and Ms. Aisa), her friends at her afternoon school program, and her cousins. One day, when Alice is enough, we will include her in our nightly gratitude discussion. 

The simple act of expressing gratitude every night uplifts our spirits  and allows us to start every day feeling good; particularly, these days when our new normal of masks and social-distancing has upended our lives. It is great to remind ourselves of the things we do have versus the things we are missing. I also like to think it has enabled us to be more giving. I am checking in with colleagues, friends, and cousins more. I am checking in with my parent friends. I am volunteering more at Ilse’s school. My husband and I are working better together to juggle it all. 

While the ideal year for me did not turn out as we had planned with elementary school, our perfect daycare, and a spring full of work and leisure travel, I am grateful for how we’ve adapted to our new normal with distance learning, childcare help from my in-laws, and a flexible work schedule. I am grateful to my circle of people and my faith. Most of all, I am grateful that every day gives each of us a reason to express some gratitude. What are you grateful for this year?

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Jeanne is a married, full-time working mom with an MBA in Marketing from Golden Gate University and BA in Communications from San Francisco State University. She is an Associate Director of Sales for Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and loves that her career enables her to promote the city she loves. Jeanne and her husband Daniel live in San Francisco with their two daughters, Ilse and Alice. When Jeanne is not working, writing, or volunteering at Ilse's school, she enjoys traveling, spending time with family, and cooking from her collection of cookbooks (70 and growing) while sipping Hudson Bay Bourbon. Follow her adventures on Instagram.


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