Searching For Gratitude

One night, as I was doing the never-ending dishes, I found myself having a pretty negative self-talk dialogue. “I’m so tired, why do my kids eat so much, why do I keep cooking, are theses dishes ever going to end, I wish I had an office, my feet are sore …” Realizing that the self-talk feed was stuck on negative, I decided I needed to reflect and find the good.Sarah R 082313

Last week, my husband sprained his ankle. The injury itself was enough to put him in a Cam Walker Boot and he can’t drive for at least four weeks. All the house chores we share have become mine to absorb. (Although, truth be told, it is proving to be a time when the kids are pitching in a little more than usual.) It’s pure whining to say that even though the kids are doing more, it often takes the process much longer and sometimes results in my doing the chore again (as well as the unnecessary added steps in-between). So even though I want them to have a good work ethic and know how to hang up clothes, put the dishes away, and make their beds, I simply do not have it in me to help them learn those skills right now.

A sprained ankle, not so bad, right? However, before that happened we had already been schlepping our dirty laundry to my mom’s house (our washing machine decided the spin cycle was overrated, the day before going out of town to a funeral). Oh, and our lawnmower was getting fixed, which meant going to the in-laws to borrow their mower. Obviously nothing lasts forever, and when things do go wrong, they usually happen in threes. (My blender also broke during this period of time.) If anything, I am grateful for the fact that we have resources able to help us in a transition and that nothing truly became a huge bill we had to manage.

Now this next part, I think I could have changed – and perhaps I should have – but it’s already done. At the end of June, we consulted with an ENT about a tonsillectomy as treatment for obstructive sleep apnea for one of our daughters. It was agreed upon and scheduled. The surgery happened one week after my husband became temporarily out of commission. Due to our daughter’s previous health issues, this routine outpatient surgery was a planned overnight stay. She did really great overnight and continues to have a pretty good recovery. Even though she’s the only one on a soft foods diet, our entire family committed to going on a soft foods diet for two weeks, just to avoid any temptation and the risks of hurting her recovering throat.

So I’m tired today, and all I want to do is snuggle and have peace and calm. Since that is terribly unlikely (am I right?), I will sit here, write, and sip my coffee while I savor this (however fleeting) moment when all the children are content. No one is screaming, crying, hurting, or upset. The radio is quietly playing, two kids are coloring at the table while the other two kids are plugged in and watching PBS. Just as quickly as I realize there is a peaceable moment, it flees the scene.

But I have found gratitude.

If someone knows how to make gratitude equate to good sleep, I’d love to hear how you did it. 😉

Sarah Rotert
I grew up in Liberty, just a few blocks off from the square. After a brief stint at Iowa State University, hubby and I returned to the Northland in KC to welcome our twin girls into the world. Soon after we were parents to 2, we were parents to 3. And after a bit of a hiatus, we returned to infant hood with the birth of our 4th child. As our twin daughters have special needs, I changed my course of study and earned an A.S. in Sign Language Interpreting. We used American Sign Language as our primary communication for the first 2 years of their lives. Over the last 9 years since becoming a mom, I've learned (and am still learning) about childhood advocacy, living on budget, baby wearing, cloth diapering, figuring out how to plan/shop/execute yummy/kid-friendly/healthy meals. While we've been life long KC residents, we are continuously in awe of what this city has to offer.


  1. Love your honesty. I often fight with myself about what I need more…a few more minutes sleep, or a few minutes of quiet reflection before everyone else is up. And some days, gratitude is just hard to come by. Thank you for sharing!

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