November 19, 2011

Joys Shared.

It's that time of year.  Shop too much, eat too much, work too hard, get wet in the surprise rain, be sad about not having holidays like the movies, sending out cards, and sometimes feeling bad about not having a mate to share what is supposed to be a happy coupled time.  So, for this month's Wow meeting, we put all that aside and gave thanks.  Thanks for something that happened this year that made us glad, something good that happened that we didn't expect, and even the littlest things we remember to remember each day that give our life meaning and value.

After a particularly yummy potluck, we gathered in a circle to share our blessings for all to hear.  A few of the ladies are welcoming new grandchildren and one is welcoming her first great-grandbaby.  One worked her usual challenging hours in a difficult job and managed to complete a yoga instructor's course.  One was grateful to be alive and barely injured after a car accident, another after a slip-and-fall head injury.  One survived cancer surgery with chemo and radiation, along with a hip replacement, all with a cheerful attitude...and not only realized that she was more than her body, but that it was really OK to allow others to help and love her through her hard times.  One was proud to have had a potential relationship that she stopped after only four months when she realized it would never work...and yet realizing she liked who she was in the relationship. One was grateful for a "calm" year, the ability to do whatever she pleased without having to consult a mate, and that she still had her job in such a tough economy.  One was grateful for returning to singing, a pleasure she had not allowed herself since high school.  One realized she was finally recovering from the passing of her husband and was finding herself, learning who she really is...and choosing to adopt a new puppy. And one was grateful to have finally come to accept her three year relationship with a very nice guy, finally not wanting more, but choosing to enjoy exactly what they shared.

The most prevalent topic of gratitude was our families, how relationships with daughters were being repaired and renewed, how one finally had created a close relationship with her daughter-in-law, and especially how one whose daughter was becoming her friend after many years of estrangement. It was almost if these relationships between mothers and daughters were changed magically and surprisingly this year...and each woman was especially appreciative of whatever brought them closer to those they love so much.

Even more touching to me was that so many of the ladies expressed their appreciation to me for holding this group for so many years and to the other women for being so open and kind, that the sharing of one's trials and accomplishments enriched the lives of the others.  Just hearing about another's struggles and joys seemed to touch the hearts of each of us, that maybe we were lucky not to have suffered their particular troubles, that maybe we are pretty blessed after all.

For me, I'm warmed and touched that the women come as strangers and yet share their hearts with each other....and that we are all so changed and uplifted and enriched by their openness and their honesty.  We really do need each other.  We really do.  Oh, what am I most grateful for?  That my now 40-year-old beautiful curly-haired daughter is happy and healthy, has a wonderful husband, and is starting to find her  passions, realize her  strengths, and has continued to allow me to enjoy the company of these two amazing 8-year-old grandchildren (showing off on the first day of their brand new braces, pain and all, and smiling):