Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A day for gratitude

Today could have been a real disaster. Rainy, cold day. Simmering resentment about H1N1 shot availability. A last minute, post-lunch decision to just bite the bullet and get my shot at the pharmacy and take the kids to the free and very crowded health department clinic.

My worst fear came to pass today as I trudged through wind and rain into the National Guard Armory with two small children to get a free flu shot that I'd actually rather pay to get in the comfort of my own doctor's office.

I arrived with no activities, no snacks, nothing bribe worthy in my purse - just me, two kids, a stroller and a wait of unknown, and possibly epic, proportions. All I had was my attitude and miraculously, today it was one of gratitude.

It was gratitude that overwhelmed me when, on this rainy Veteran's Day, we were greeted by service members in uniform helping to usher the crowd into the Armory. It was gratitude that allowed me to resent the situation, but not take it out on the people there to help us. It was gratitude that helped me get through 90 minutes of waiting with virtually no entertainment for the kids other than a little creativity and the sound of my voice. (The kids did great, by the way. And because Danny had such a rough day, with a shot and a blood draw that morning, I let him jump in mud puddles on the way out of the Armory.)

You're probably saying, "What's the big deal? Doesn't everyone handle these situations like an adult?" Not exactly. Ten years ago, I would have resented the situation AND taken it out on the very people who were helping us, that is, if I even chose to do the responsible thing and get myself and children vaccinated no matter the circumstances.

You see, ten years ago today, I was not a grateful person. I was full of fear, anxiety and booze and was four days away from walking into a room full of people who would help change my life forever. And for those people and that opportunity I will be eternally grateful.

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