By Wendy Powell, Founder and Owner of Childish Things (Estimated reading time: 3 minutes)
The end of the year tends to be a time of reflection for many of us. This isn’t exactly what I thought the year would look like. How about you? At my store, Childish Things, grandparents were the first to come in, joyfully sharing their gratitude after receiving COVID vaccinations. Front-line workers were next. After many months of living through the pandemic, there was some joy seeping in, and I was grateful to see that while I patiently waited to be eligible. When my friend called and said she had vaccine appointments for my family and me, I was out for a walk with my dog and dropped to the ground in tears. I am forever grateful for her friendship, and at that moment, there has never been a better gift.
It felt like a superpower to me, being vaccinated. We finally went to memorial services for both my father and my father-in-law. It had been a year of great loss for our family, the separation making it that much harder. I was so grateful to finally feel safe enough to visit my mother and my husband’s family.
I was grateful that my daughter was able to go back to school for a few weeks at the end of what should have been her senior year and create just a few more stories. I’m even more grateful that she is now at university (Go Beavs!). While everything isn’t “normal” there, it is a far cry from a year spent in her room. I’m grateful that she loves it and is thriving. And I’m grateful she wasn’t me because I don’t think I would have handled being stuck in the house with my parents that long very well!
I’m grateful for the largesse of the US Government. I wish they hadn’t made it so hard, but my store is still open because of their support for small businesses. I’m grateful for my landlord, who understood a closed business creates no revenue. I’m grateful that customers have come back and particularly grateful for the people who reached out and touched me with kindness. I try to pay it forward daily.
I’ve learned a lot these past couple of years. One lesson I came away with was to not let perfect be the enemy of good. Another is to receive the help being offered. As someone who has struggled with asking for and receiving assistance, it was an eye-opening experience. And while I wish I could have learned them in a different way, these insights have been a gift.
This fall, I was grateful to hear the stories of kids being so happy to be back at school in person, not to mention how happy the parents were! And this holiday season I’m grateful for pediatric vaccinations being available. We are seeing more and more people coming into the store and it makes it festive — who doesn’t love festive!
Humans will always make lemonade out of lemons. Gratitude isn’t always easy, even when there is always something we can find to be grateful for. One thing we have taken forward in my family from our time in PEPS is talking about our Highs and Lows of the day or week. It gives us the opportunity to be honest with each other. It gives us the chance to see that others struggle too. It is one of the reasons I support PEPS. I had the gift of a supportive community while I raised my children. A community who didn’t expect me to be perfect, who didn’t expect me to be grateful for everything, who allowed me my whining (they still do) without judgment. PEPS is that place for so many. I’m grateful that our community has an organization that does so much good to help people transition into parenthood.