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What a Trip to the Craft Store With My Daughter Taught Me About Gratitude

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By Stacey Freeman
 
Since I became a mom more than 16 years ago, I am pretty confident I forgot what it means to have a lazy Sunday. It seems we are always on the run, especially since I am now a divorced, single mom. Yesterday was no exception and in spite of my best intentions.
 
As I positioned myself on the couch to rest (what’s that?), my 11th grader reminded me that I needed to take her to buy craft supplies for an extra-credit assignment that was due the next day. She had to make a mole (the animal) for her AP chemistry class. I didn’t get it but that was the assignment and who was I to argue? Five minutes later we were out the door and headed to Michael’s, dropping my younger daughter off at the mall on the way to meet a friend.
 
The weather was warm, despite that it was the second to last day of October and almost Halloween. As we walked into the store, I remarked to my daughter how I couldn’t believe Thanksgiving was only a few weeks away. I hadn’t even bought Halloween candy yet. But there I was, only a few feet from the entrance, and already being hit with holiday decorations like a ton of bricks. Halloween and Thanksgiving had seemingly come and gone, but somehow I never got the memo!
 
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We picked out what she needed and headed home. As I repositioned myself on the couch, my son reminded me that I needed to drive him to his friend’s house now. Back into the car I went. Again. Once I came home, I found myself suddenly alone. Even though my daughter was in the house, too, she quickly occupied herself at the kitchen table with her project, leaving me to my own devices.
 
For the third time, I sat on the couch. But instead of being happy to be there, I suddenly found myself staring out the window, admiring the beautiful day through the glass. I thought about my childhood and that of my kids when they were small, and remembered all of the Sundays we spent going on day trips and doing activities together, as a family.
 

Photo courtesy: Stacey Freeman.

Photo courtesy: Stacey Freeman.


 
Since my separation nearly five years ago, those family moments have, sadly, become more seldom. I won’t lie; as a single parent, it wasn’t always easy for me to set aside even a few hours for us just to have fun knowing I would face all of the neglected chores and errands the moment I returned. After a while, I stopped trying, succumbing to what Sunday has become – another day of rushing around, being busy.
 
Then I thought about it. Yes, those “family days” were memorable. Our afternoons spent apple picking, seeing Broadway shows, and wandering around country towns were times I wouldn’t trade for anything. But when I look back on my childhood, those times are not what I remember best, or most fondly. What I do remember is my dad helping me cut articles from the newspaper to do my social studies homework and eating lunch with my mother outside our house at my little wooden table. It wasn’t necessarily our day trip to Mystic, Connecticut.
 
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That means our trip to Michael’s yesterday may be more significant than I initially thought. Together, my daughter and I figured out how she could make her mole. We went through the aisles and picked out different colored felt, filling, googly eyes, a sewing kit, and a glue gun. We laughed about the project as she questioned her sewing abilities and I commiserated about mine, recalling my days of frustration back in eighth grade Home Ec class.
 
A couple of hours later, my daughter revealed her finished project to me. It came out better than we both expected, and I suggested she give it to our cat to play with once the teacher returned it to her. “No way,” she said, explaining that it came out too cute to let the cat destroy it. And we joked about her starting a business making pet toys, putting to work her newfound skills.
 
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Yes, the holidays are passing me by at warp speed. Yes, my divorce has meant that I am busier than ever, balancing kids, an expanding circle of friends, and a growing business (one inspired by my divorce and partially funded by it with the upcoming sale of my eternity band). And yes, it’s easy to feel like I am missing out. But the truth is, I am not. My kids are not. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I realize it’s not only a matter of being grateful. It’s also a matter of knowing what to be grateful for.
 

What are you grateful for since your divorce?

 

Stacey Freeman is a writer and blogger from the New York City area, a divorced single mom, a lifestyle editor at Worthy.com, and the founder and managing director of Write On Track, LLC, a full-service consultancy dedicated to providing high-quality content to individuals and businesses. A respected voice for divorce issues affecting both women and men, Stacey has been published in The Washington Post, Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, Woman’s Day, Town & Country, The Huffington Post, xoJane, Scary Mommy, The Stir, MariaShriver.com, The Good Men Project, and various well-known platforms worldwide. Stacey is frequently called upon for her expertise and insights on the divorce experience and has repeatedly been quoted in The Huffington Post’s divorce vertical. Stacey holds her B.A. in English, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from the University at Albany and her J.D. from Boston University School of Law. Email Stacey today at Stacey.Freeman@WriteOnTrackLLC.com or call 800-203-1946 for a free consultation and proposal. For more information, visit www.WriteOnTrackLLC.com.

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