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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Most Important Things

At the time that this post goes up, I will be in Springfield (Illinois) preparing to attend a funeral service for my great-grandmother, who passed away last week. She was just shy of celebrating her 89th birthday and while my heart absolutely breaks over this loss for our family, it helps a little knowing that not only did she live a long and full life, but she is also reunited with her husband, who we lost several years ago.

It's losses like this that remind me to stop and look around at all that I have in my life. 

I'm blessed with an incredible family that loves each other unconditionally. I've known plenty of people who aren't that lucky and who struggle to get along with their families and that only makes me appreciate mine more. And in addition to the family that I was born with, I have also married into a family that is full of the same love and support and they have welcomed me fully. I know undoubtedly that this little baby growing in my belly is already so adored and will never be lacking when it comes to love.

I'm not rich and I certainly don't work at my job because it pays so great, but what it lacks in financial benefit, it makes up for a million times over with the joy it brings to my life. Don't get me wrong, it has it's days. I don't think anyone could work with kids and not have moments where they go home feeling mentally, emotionally and physically drained. But then something happens. You witness the exact moment that one of those kids that has been exhausting you suddenly understands something for the first time. The moment they light up because they did something they didn't know they could do. From my personal experience, this year I got to watch a little boy go from hating books because he struggled to read, to falling in love with a series and getting stronger and stronger everyday because he and I were practicing his reading for a short period almost every afternoon. Things like that make my job worth every bad day and every paycheck that seems way too small because I could swear that I worked 3,000 hours last week, not 30.

I'm healthy. Before getting pregnant, I had developed habits that helped me be in the best shape of my life, both with fitness and with eating habits. And throughout my pregnancy, even though I haven't been working out nearly as hard or as often as I was before, I have still maintained a decently active and well balanced lifestyle and I think that shows pretty clearly in how well this pregnancy has gone. I've felt great, I've gained only what I should and not any extra and most important of all, this baby has been healthy and strong and growing perfectly. I'm not perfect. I spend days lounging on the couch with my dog and only getting up to eat or use the bathroom (aka every 20 minutes or so). I eat junk food and occasionally eat way more than I should. But I also spend days walking and doing yoga and stretching and lifting (light) weights. The majority of my "cravings" have been for salads and watermelon and apples and other fruits and veggies. And even when I eat something unhealthy, I always do my best to balance it out with something good.

I have a home. I may complain about my neighbors and the fact that my roof vent occasionally allows water to leak into our roof. I may want to move onto a different place at some point in the future. But I still appreciate every single day that I get to wake up in a nice warm bed, snuggled up with the best dog in the world (and sometimes the best husband, but he leaves for work so early). I know that at the end of a long, difficult day, I have my home and my little family waiting for me. Too many people don't get to have that feeling and I am thankful to be someone who does.

It's times like these that remind me of all that I am blessed with in my life. It helps me to remember not to focus on what I don't have and to be grateful for what I do have. My life isn't perfect or without it's challenges, but it's a wonderful life and one that I wouldn't trade. I can only hope that I will be lucky enough to live it for as long as my great-grandma got to live hers.

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