Blakely's first "selfie" with big brother Lane and Mama
Blakely’s first “selfie” with big brother Lane and Mama

Thanksgiving was a little different for my family this year. OK, it was a lot different. My sister stopped by and picked up our 3-year-old son to go have lunch at my mom’s house, as we do each year. Then my father-in-law picked him up to have dinner at his mother’s house, as we do each year. My husband and I, however, stayed at home and ate food from Wendy’s drive-through for lunch.

We weren’t being anti-social or trying to make some political stance against turkey. We simply wanted to be with our newborn daughter, who happened to still be in the NICU (neonatal intensive-care unit) for babies at the hospital where I gave birth to her the Friday before. Though not at all ideal, I could not let it get me down because I couldn’t help but be thankful. Not because it was “Thanksgiving” or because I am that good of a person, but rather because I had no reason to not be thankful.

The older I get and closer I grow to God, the more I realize that living a life of thanksgiving has a lot to do with attitude and perspective. A little over three years ago, our son spent 11 days in the NICU, compared to Blakely’s eight days. I was in labor for two days, induced twice, and had preeclampsia during my third trimester. In contrast, I worked out up to one week before naturally going into labor with my daughter, delivered just a few hours after feeling contractions, and had no health complications. If her second sugar reading had not been low as well as both of our platelets count, she would never have went in NICU.

When Lane was in NICU I was sick myself and an emotional wreck. Yet, all it took was a glance around the room at 1-pound babies in incubators to realize I was blessed with a 6-pounder who only needed a few IVs and jaundice lights. Some babies stay in the NICU for months, and a few never make it out alive. Looking back, I am ashamed at how I dramatized his situation at times.

Google defines the word perspective as “a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something.” Even if you consider yourself to be a “cup half empty” type of person, just think about how no matter you’re situation it could always be worse. (Now that’s an easy way to make a positive out of your negative!

The definition on Google continues with “true understanding of the relative importance of things; a sense of proportion.” Most things we pine over are not at all important in the grand scheme of life. While people, life and death, etc., are important, any situation could be worse. In reality, if you slept inside last night, ate something today, and had clothes to wear, then you should be thankful. We live in an imperfect world with troubles and struggles, but we don’t have to let it get us down.

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