I do a lot of deep sighing throughout the day.
I'd like to tell you it's because I am practicing some deep mindful reflection and breathing, but more often than not it's more of an, Okay mama, three hours 'til bedtime, you've got this breathing.
Three little kids, a husband, a full time job, a house, a dog, and 1,000 other random things that require my attention—it's a lot. A lot of chaos, a lot of mess, and lot of exhaustion.
But there is so much beauty in that chaos—so much. And when I really stop and think about what it means, it takes my breath away.
I am thankful for a hamper full of little pants, jeans with grass stains on them, because it means my kids are playing out in nature.
I am thankful for a sink full of dirty dishes because it means we have food to eat.
I am thankful for the back-and-forth-and-back-again driving I do, because it means that my kids get to go to school and receive an education.
I am thankful for coffee. So very, very thankful ☕️.
I am thankful for the never-ending stream of " Why? Why? Why ?" because it means my children are passionately curious about the world.
I am thankful for doctor appointments, because it means we have access to medical care.
I am thankful for a whole house to clean because it means I have a home.
I am thankful that I have to invent thousands of ways to say, "Wow that's amazing!" when my kids show me stuff because it means they want me involved in their lives.
I am thankful that my kids think cereal for dinner is, "So silly, mommy!" instead of, "Come on that's pretty lazy, mom."
I am thankful that my husband doesn't notice when I get my hair done because he thinks I'm pretty anyway.
I am thankful for feeling so gross when I have a cold because it means that when I don't have a cold, I feel really good and healthy.
I am thankful for deadlines and meetings and work-induced stress, because it means I have a job I love that's really important to me.
I am thankful for warm sweaters on cold days .
I am thankful for the constant clutter because it means that we have more than we need, and not less than.
I am thankful for never feeling like I have enough time in the day because it means my life is full.
I am thankful for missing my friends because it means I have relationships worth feeling sad over.
I am thankful for Target. Because Target .
I am thankful for the times my daughter talks back to me because it means she feels confident enough to stand up for herself.
I am thankful for the times my middle guy demands I kiss him 174 times before I walk out the door even when—especially when—I am already late, because it means... well, it means everything.
I am thankful for the times my youngest guy burrows his head in my neck and won't let me put him down because it means he feels safe with me.
I am thankful that my husband gets upset when we don't spend enough time together because it means I have a partner who loves me ❤️.
I am thankful for the outrage that I witness about the current state of the world because it means I live in a community that still cares.
I am thankful for when my dad calls me three times in one weekend to remind me to get my flu shot because it means I have parents who still want to take care of me.
I am thankful for my dog because he's just really stinking cute.
I am thankful for the constant self-battle to stop spending so much time on my phone because it means I have access to information and technology.
I am thankful when my kids are way more excited to see Daddy than me because it means I picked the best father in the world for them.
I am thankful for red wine and fireplaces and cheese.
I am thankful for the absolute exhaustion I feel at the end of the day because it means I LIVED my life.
I am thankful for the tiny hands and loud voices that wake me up way too early every morning because my goodness I can't imagine my life without them.
I am thankful that I'm learning to find the beauty in the chaos. Because there is a lot of chaos—but there is also so much beauty.
I am thankful to have had another year to spend with my family. A year full of tantrums, and picky eating, and messes, and "I don't want to wear this itchy sweater"s, and "Moooo-oooom, I need more toilet paper"s...
Because it means that I am the luckiest mom in the whole world. Sigh.
A version of this story was originally published October 31, 2018. It has been updated.