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  • Kristan Higgins

Hating Gratitude

I hate gratitude journals. I hate the signs that say “Grateful” and “Blessed,” because I think it cheapens the sentiment to see it on hundreds of signs made in China. I’m also wicked tired of that font. However, I was told by a wise person that no, writing down things you’re grateful for really helps your feel happy.

This made me irritable. “Well, mine would just say the same thing over and over,” I said. “I’m grateful for my healthy children, happy marriage, functioning body. It seems trite.”

“No, not that,” said she. “Little things that made your day a bit better. Really, try it.” I did not, because part of me is essentially Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino, yelling at the kids to get off his lawn.

But then, years later, for no reason other than whimsy, I started. Here are some of the things in my gratitude document. (I still refuse to put it in a journal.)

The lovely staff at the jewelry store remembered me from when the Princess and I went in to buy her wedding jewelry. One of them asked if I was Kristan Higgins the author and told me her mom was a big fan. We took a picture for her.

A nice lady selling me my new iPhone wants me to come to her book club.

There was a lady in the parking lot with the little baby in her arms and a big bag of stuff. I offered to help, and she said no, but she said it so nicely that I felt like she knew I wasn’t a creepy baby lady, as the kids call me, but just a wanna-be good Samaritan.

It’s so nice to have a daughter who wants to do stuff with me. She is truly my best friend.

Dearest Son returned my text with a cheerful and happy message. I know he’s happy in Utah.

I saw S & ME for breakfast, and even though ME kept punching me in the arm where I got my COVID booster, we had a great time and lots of laughs. The breakfast burrito was amazing.

I’m going to have Dearest Son’s room painted a new color. It’s fun to think about.

Saw my friend’s incredibly old dog, and though he is rickety and possibly blind, he was happy to see me, and I told him he was a good boy.

Saw C for lunch yesterday and it lasted four hours. This is my perfect friendship. There is nothing we can’t (and haven’t) told each other.

Helped the Princess clean her house. We both love homemaking, and we also had a great cheeseburger for lunch. I forgot how good American cheese is.

Dearest saw my cousin in Las Vegas and they sent me a picture of the two of them. My practice son, and my actual son. They both looked so happy!

McIrish made me toad in the hole for breakfast, which I haven’t had that for a long time. The Princess and the Peeper came to visit, and it was so beautiful on the deck, looking at the foliage. Went to see Aging Rock Star Neighbor, who had brain surgery, and I told him I loved him, because I do.

Drove up to do a library talk in Tolland, and the leaves along I-84 were incredibly beautiful.

Watching the Peeper try to crawl. So far, he can only hold a plank position, but his form is perfect. We came in from a walk, and I blew my nose, and he thought that was the funniest thing in the world. Laughed so hard he almost tipped over. I love how he reaches his little hands up to touch my face and pulls me in closer so he can yank on my hair. I love being able to take care of him and make him smile.

Today at J’s the leaves were so beautiful. We sat around the firepit and agreed that we looked like an ad for Ralph Lauren. Lots of great talk and laughter. On the way home, there was an amazing sunset behind me, and it lit up the trees so beautifully that it was literally breathtaking.

I’m grateful to myself for having torn up my latest book and putting it back together. I was unsure at first, and, as usual, thought “This is the career-ending book,” but as it went on, I got more confidence as I went on. I’m grateful for my pajamas, which have gone above and beyond this past month. Good old PJs.

That’s it! Ironically, after all my resistance, it’s become a really happy part of my day, even if it’s just a sentence or two. Margaret, I have to hand it to you. You were right.


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