By Amy Heesacker
Research has demonstrated that writing down the things you are grateful for on a daily basis can actually make your life happier. The first entry in my new gratitude journal consists of the top 10 things I'm especially thankful for this year.
10. My son losing his first tooth. Although most of his friends walked into the first day of school like shoddily carved jack-o-lanterns, Javi's Cheshire Cat smile looked as if it might remain intact until spring. I'm not in any hurry to see those bumpy, future-brace-wearing man-teeth replace his tiny little pearl strings, but my son couldn't feel more proud.
9. My daughter's successful transition to preschool. It seemed touch and go for a while but after a school change and the expulsion of a particularly hostile classmate, it appears that she is actually looking forward to school these days. She can't wait to show me how she makes her name on the chalkboard in the morning: I – S – A (I can't make my computer write the S backwards). She glows from the tips of her toes as she smiles and exclaims, "That's MY name." Yes, baby, it is.
8. My last child's successful completion of all that is baby -- breastfeeding and weaning, diapers and potty training -- with a minimum of problem and fuss.
7. My darling husband, for "taking care of things" so that we will never have to go through number 8 again! (Thank you, honey!)
6. The cinnamon sugar cappuccino –- my current reason for getting up every morning.
5. The woman at my 20th high school reunion who nominated me for "Most Improved" which I'm sure was meant as a compliment. Sorry, I don't remember your name.
4. The drought in our region, for providing the perfect excuse to wash fewer dishes, do less laundry, and shower with my husband.
3. Showtime, for airing the show "Weeds" -– and then for putting it out on DVD so that I could see it.
2. Dr. Doom-Minnow for outliving every other fish my son has owned.
And the number one thing that I'm thankful for this year...
...I am able to spend this holiday season with my three favorite people in the whole wide world, wiggling teeth, practicing S's, and conserving water.
Amy Heesacker is a thirty-something SAHM and part-time psychology professor living in the deep South with her husband and two children.