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It’s the Monday after Thanksgiving, and yet it feels like Thanksgiving did not even happen. Because Christmas came so early this year. Not only did Black Friday sales start 2 weeks early, but my daughter saw Santa at the Mall on Veterans Day. And with the holidays, comes stress, pressure and anxiety, for some. We call it “ING Syndrome”, too much shopping, baking, decorating, etc. (Another Blog post about that to come).

I saw an influx of hurting acute patients last week, many stressed to get ready for Thanksgiving. I asked one patient, “Are you stressed about Thanksgiving?” and she said “No, I’m stressed about Christmas!” Already? She’s a sweetheart and I mean no disrespect. It just puts perspective on it.

In an effort to simplify, I decided to order Wegman’s Catering for Thanksgiving. The whole traditional Turkey Dinner, all ready for you to re-heat. I told patients about this all week, in an effort to model that we don’t have to do it all and do it all perfect. Guess what? My Wegman’s reheating was hard! It was still stressful! Things all needed to be put in the oven at different times, some needed stirred at different times, some need stirred and foil on, some stirred and foil off. We had to try to make room in the oven and had the toaster and microwave going too! My mother-in-law saw my husband and I trying to figure it all out, and asked “What’s wrong?” and my husband said  “It’s all one big math equation!” Even I felt the stress, and the tension in my shoulders. About food. And whether it was all warm at the same time.

But that’s not what it’s about, is it? Lessons from a 4 year old. I gave my daughter some paper and some stickers to occupy her. She put the stickers on two sheets of paper and then asked us for some tape. She taped them together like the front and back of a book. She said ” I have an idea. I am going to have everyone write in here what they are thankful for.” As the grandparents arrived, she gave them each strict instructions of her idea. She was persistent. The grandparents, all 4 of them, wrote really nice special things in her ‘booklet”. At bedtime she said, “I need to take this to my room. It is so special. I am going to take it everywhere I go.” All her idea.

My favorite memory was when she was 2 and we said “Let’s go around the table and say what we are grateful for.” She said, “Can I go first?” and she proceeded to run around the table and tap each person one by one and say “I’m grateful for you. I’m grateful for you. I’m grateful for you…..” Hysterical. Literally went around the table.

I’m thankful for her and that I have the opportunity to see the world through her eyes.  Looking through this lens reminds me to be present, and grateful. And maybe that’s why Thanksgiving comes first, and kicks off the Christmas season. So we can at least try to enter it with a grateful heart. Set the intention of Gratitude as a Virtue as we finish the last days of November and enter the month of WIN_20171127_093502December.


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