Kelly Bastone: Gratitudes | SteamboatToday.com

Kelly Bastone: Gratitudes

Kelly Bastone

— We've started a little mealtime tradition of asking each family member what they're thankful for today. It's a nice way to pause and take stock of recent blessings. And if we're feeling negative about something (why can't I watch TV tonight? Why did that article idea get rejected?) the ritual redirects our focus to the positive, like changing channels on the radio.

Usually we all try to aim for something meaningful, and I'm often amazed by the depth of Simone's gratitudes. She's been thankful for "this house that keeps me warm and cozy," "camping with my cousins," and even, "this delicious meal." But lately, our habit got me thinking about lots of the seemingly insignificant things that improve our lives day-to-day. Like frozen peas.

I know, frozen peas don't seem to deserve the same gratitude tribute as "our many excellent friends." But training your mind to notice the positives seems to gain momentum every time you do it. Within no time, I find myself celebrating not only my husband of 18 years, but also the simple snack that appeases my daughter's post-preschool hunger pangs.

Here's three more trivial things that are making this summer's parenting a teeny bit better:

  • Aloe Gator waterproof sunscreen. This stuff is money. Actually, it feels like Vaseline, but that's precisely what makes it such a winner for extended water time. I smear it on Simone just once (washing my hands afterward, for sure) and she's covered for hours, no matter how much sand she plays in or how much she slides around on water toys. This protection actually lasts, which is key because reapplying sunscreen to a wet, gritty, squirmy kid is about as fun as shampooing the cat.
  • $1 cones at Lyon Drug. We just adore that friendly lunch counter and soda fountain, and when they raised their menu prices recently (it had to happen, didn't it?) I was thrilled and yes, grateful, that Lyon Drug maintained a $1 option. Now, the one-buck cone is a "kiddie" size, so you get less ice cream for your money. But I don't care. It's the first lick of ice cream that tastes divine, not the hundredth, and the $1 option lets this be a regular pleasure for us rather than a splurge.
  • Hot air balloons. We were out of town for most of last weekend's Balloon Rodeo, but that's Okay because I love that glimpsing hot air balloons is woven right into Steamboat's daily fabric. Just this morning, as Ben pedaled away with Simone in the trailer, I heard her shout, "a balloon! A hot air balloon! There's a balloon!" Hearing the excitement and delight in her voice was better than seeing the colors themselves, and if that doesn't qualify as a great start to the day, I don't know what does.