Glad, Not Sad, and Points in Between, column for Jan. 3, 2012

I’ve been giving myself what my mother used to call a good “talking to.” It’s a kind of pep talk to remind me to count my blessings, when all I want to do is crawl up under the porch with the dogs and cry.
No, I don’t mean that literally. It’s a figure of speech. I don’t own a dog. Or have a porch it could crawl under. If I did, we might both be under it tonight.
The “talking to” is a simple matter of naming things for which I’m thankful. It allows me to refocus my thoughts from false to true; my feelings from sad to glad; and my heart from empty to over-flowing.
Usually, it works like a charm. Tonight, not so much.
I started the “talk” about an hour ago, the minute I dropped my kids at the airport. They’d been visiting my husband and me for the past three days _ my youngest, his sweet wife and their 18-month-old red-headed Firecracker. We talked and laughed and ate, watched a lot of bad TV, spent hours chasing the Firecracker, did everything possible to have a great time, and still, I wanted more.
But tonight, they had to fly back to California. So I drove them to the airport, kissed them each several times, and nearly swooned when the Firecracker kissed me back. Then I waved goodbye, drove away dry-eyed and began giving thanks:
_ That my husband and I are blessed to have children (his two, my three, their others and three grandchildren) who seem to like us well enough to visit when they can, and not just because we live in Las Vegas.
_ That while we couldn’t all be together for Christmas, we saw everyone at some point, except my daughter and her husband and their 4-month-old, and I’ll see them soon, Lord willing.
_ That there are only 500 miles between us and our offspring, and not the continent that I wedged between my mother and me and the grandchildren she adored, but seldom saw.
_ That the driver of the SUV who honked rather rudely when I accidentally cut in front of him on the freeway didn’t run me off the road or shoot me.
_ That toddlers don’t care how much you spend on them for Christmas. The Firecracker’s favorite things were a tube of tennis balls that we dumped out and he refilled countless times; chasing pigeons off the lawn; piling gravel on the walk and laughing hysterically each time I brushed it off; and helping me open and read a stack of reader mail (thank you very much.)
_ That there are people I have never met who are not only kind enough to read my work, but care enough to send best wishes for the new year to me and my family, including the Firecracker who ripped open their cards.
_ That one of the best things about being a grandparent is watching your child be a parent and having him ask, “Mom, was I like that when I was his age?”
_ That one of the best things about being married is watching your husband dance like Baloo the Bear while your grandson bangs on the bongo drums.
Those were just a few of the gifts I named driving back from the airport. They helped. A lot.
Then I got home and found in the kitchen sink the “spork” _ a combination spoon and fork the Firecracker used to push food around on his high chair tray to pretend he’d actually eaten it.
It’s funny how a little piece of plastic and metal can make you forget all about being thankful.
Pretty soon, Baloo was asking, “Are you OK?”
“I am,” I said, “or will be.”
Then I went back to giving thanks for all good things _ good health, good husbands, good children, good readers _ and the fact that soon I’ll go to California, to see my daughter and her family, and give the Firecracker his spork.


  1. Patrick Herendeen says

    Dear Sharon, Today’s San Angelo Standard Times (1-15-12) carried your reflections on your good friend Byron. Thank you for sharing your obvious grief with your readers. Please accept my condolences and relay the same to Brians wife, your friend Martha.


    Pat Herendeen

  2. Lynn Simoneau says

    I also like many others so enjoy reading your column,I have been trying to write down at least 5 of my blessing every night before I go to sleep it helps me to remember all that God has blessed me with and helps me think that I have so many more coming. I live about 3 hrs away from my 2 beautiful granddaughters and see them about once a month for a couple of days very blessed to see them that much and I treasure every moment with them. thanks for the reminder of the blessing and I will continue to write them down every night and think of them during the day and so tonight one of my blessing will be being able to read wonderful article’s like yours

  3. Elaine McIntosh says

    Sharon, I have been reading your columns in our local newspaper and love every one of them. I’m so glad I found you on line so I can share your columns with others who can relate with what you have to say. Our children and their families are spread out over the eastern half of the country and it is a blessing any time we can visit with any of them. Thank you for the wonderful words you write! Hope you have a wonderful new year!

  4. JoNell Diefenbaugh says

    That is what I do after my grandchildren leave too. Count my blessings – for having time with them, then get sad (and sometimes) cry for awhile.

    Great column last week. I love reading about your life stories!

  5. Kathy Caves says

    Happy New Year, Sharon!
    You sure know how a “grandma” feels. Thanks for expressing how we all feel so well! Expect a card from us, when I finally get them out.

  6. Donna Hall Mertz says

    I am a good friend of Ginny Heitz and she generously shares special columns that you have written with our book group. I am always excited when your column shows up on my email. In fact we had you at my home in 2001 after your book “Birdbaths and Paper Cranes” came out. I just want to tell you how much I appreciate your talent for telling a wonderful story, many of which have brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for having the gift of sharing your personal life with all of your readers – one time or another we can relate to what you are saying. Oh and by the way, a wonderful and prosperous 2012 to you and your family.

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