Turn to Gratitude

Do you have those days where you are stuck in a rut of routine, indecision or feeling empty. Empty of the light that I know still glows within me. These last few days I feel off my game, not even sure what game I am playing.

I can either try to figure it all out, the cause, the effect, the failures, the fruitless efforts or I can forego all of that to go to a place of gratitude.

Today especially I have so much to be grateful for, a most precious gift was given to me by my son and his wife. The gift of a new life, both my granddaughter Isabella, who turns eight today, and my new life as a grandmother.

Grandmother felt such an old title for such a young woman. It had so many negative emotions attached to it – and I was not prepared.

Prepared for the instant love I would have for this child. From the time I knew she existed, looking at her through weird ultrasound pictures and one 3-d image that had her looking like a Cyclops. I told her that day no matter what she looked like I would love her. And love her I do.

She is an old soul. A child with deep thoughts and deeper wisdom. Some of our best conversations are in the car. With me alone in the front and her alone in the back it sometimes feels like Driving Miss Izzie as she recounts her day. Izzie has been a great teacher during our car rides, maybe even one of the best.

From the time she began to talk Izzie had a depth of perception that I continue to be in awe of its power. One Friday, our typical shared day, I picked her up from school.

She asked how I was and I said good.

“Well that’s not what your face is saying!”

A quick check in the mirror and there it was – my face was covered with concern and Izzie read it perfectly.

With Izzie you need to be honest, present and on full alert because she will challenge you, remind you, and convince you to never underestimate the wisdom of a child.

Izzie insights on life, and death, something she easily understands, even though she reluctantly accepts, are beyond what her years should know.

Izzie has known my daughter, Aunt Jess, her whole life. She has never met her, but visits her each year – at the cemetery. Reverence for the ceremony of visiting, and for this place is always evident by demanding we visit, demanding we clean the gravesite and demanding we appropriately decorate Aunt Jess’s place with pine cones and flowers.

When my mother passed away Izzie was the only great grandchild present at her funeral. She sat quietly and reverently. My Father was amazed at the respect and graciousness this four year old had through the long viewing and Mass.

Izzie was also my inspiration not to lose it as I gave my Mom’s eulogy. I never want to disappoint this child, I always want her to know I am trying my best.

When I want to talk about the deeper things in life, why are we here, about our giftedness, about truth and inspiration – Izzie is my go to person; she gets it!

Izzie struggles at times in school.  Being too smart and too well behaved can cause some negative attention from her classmates. So to be normal, is my guess anyway, she started a pattern of forgetting one homework assignment each week. She didn’t know why she was doing it, and that I believe is not a lie. Her mother was feeling frustrated. I knew the best way to convince Izzie there was a better way to face her challenge was with both logic and faith.

“Izzie how would you feel if you gave me a beautiful, precious gift and I didn’t use it?”

“Not good!”

“God gave you this beautiful gift of intelligence. He has a great plan for you to use the smarts He gave you. You decided that being smart is not good enough or cool enough. When you do your homework and do not hand it in, your throwing that gift away.”

She nods in agreement.

“Your whole life people will be trying to make you less you. Don’t let them! You might be called on to solve one of the biggest problems that the world is facing. And you can’t let others’ motives distract you.”

Izzie informed me she is handing in her homework now. She even wanted to make sure her teachers talk to her parents about it. Seems that the school has the students do self reviews, and she was honest.

Love that girl!

Izzie has taught me how important a mentor can be in shaping your life, in seeing your potential through another’s eyes.  And for that I will be forever grateful.

I just wish my mentor would have arrived sooner than eight years ago.

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2 thoughts on “Turn to Gratitude

  1. We have so many teachers in life. Some are old like grandparents and elderly neighbors and some are very young. We need to listen to them all. I’m glad you are listening to your little Sage.

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