A day with only gratitude

My resolve for 2010 is to write something each day of the year, the theme being A Year in Madison WI. I imagined that some days, there might not be much to say. I’ve read about journal-writers who write something every day for decades — what do they talk about on days without anything momentous? But aren’t most days just ordinary, non-momentous days?

What did happen today, Tuesday, January 5th? When I woke up, I thought first about our son who left last night to drive his old car and his loyal chocolate lab to Maine — a 24-hour trip in January across the northern edge of the United States. Mothers worry about their children no matter what their age, no matter what they do and no matter how well prepared they are for what they do. I wanted my thoughts to watch over him as he drove. I knew he would not stop until he reached his home, would not spend a night in a hotel, but would somehow drive straight through, and then sleep for 12 hours. That’s what he does. So, when I woke up, I thought about how many hours he had been driving so far, and about how many hours he had left. He said as he left, “no news is good news” and when I didn’t hear from him until 5:30 this evening, I knew he was doing OK. He arrived home to find his house snowed in after a major snow-dump, in the dark, needing to shovel things out so he could get inside. No doubt the dog was jumping and running in the snow drifts, happy to be out of the car.  And back here in frigid Madison, one mom was feeling grateful that her boy had made it through another challenging trip.

It was a day without meetings at work, no unexpected crises, no surprise visits from the boss, no shocking emails, no news alerts of massive international tragedies, no laughable scandals revealed — just the usual January list of major projects needing attention, writing, editing, planning, designing, finalizing, informing. Just normal stuff. And thinking about the boy putting many miles on old tires. Somewhere during the day, I felt gratitude that I have a job at all. So many don’t these days.

Considering how much time I spend indoors every day, in an office without a window to the sky, it’s amazing how much attention I pay to the weather. Today it was frigid again! Yes, we live in Madison, Wisconsin. There was some sunshine however — I noticed on my way to the cafeteria. We are expecting snow on Thursday. Luckily, our son must have missed snowfall on his trip, or he didn’t mention it when we spoke this evening. I’m glad the snow held off.

We arrived home some time after 5pm, and I made dinner for the three of us — our daughter is here until Saturday. It was a quick dinner, nothing momentous; just a weekday meal for three. Then I spent the evening doing two things — tidying the basement for a workshop on Wednesday night, and watching an X-Files episode from season 1 while I walked on the treadmill. I’m continuing a fitness regimen from 2009. And that’s all that happened today. Nothing really worth writing about. But 20 years from now, when I read this, I likely won’t remember today, but somehow when I read it, I’ll remember feeling thankful about some of these simple things.

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