A List Of Unexpected Gratitude:
(Unexpected? Yeah like not the rote list of health, family, yada yada. But really dig. Really think).

1. Properly folded laundry. Lacking the confidence and finger dexterity to bend just the sleeves inward, I clumsily slap a shirt in half and half again. But Kate knows the sleeve trick. My mom did it the right way too. Reminds me. 

2. Apple cider vinegar. During my sober year, I sipped it like whiskey. Pretended. Fake it until you make it, you know? I still take ACV. Recently, a friend gave me a tincture made of honey and herb. A dropper lifts my mood. 

3. My mother-in-law, father-in-law, sister-in-law. These three took the brunt of my first-time father anxiety. Charred the relationships. As they held the baby, I burned my eyes into them. Followed them into the next room. I was afraid on multiple levels. Afraid of the baby being dropped, afraid of the baby liking them more than me, afraid, afraid, afraid. And honestly I still am. But it’s nice to flip your anxiety on its head. Give gratitude for the opportunity to let go. In this case, I’m trying to let go a wee bit of Ellie. While she came from me and Kate, she’s her own living entity. Her own human being. Sigh.

4. Thai Massage Training. The people (mostly women) drawn to this style of therapeutic practice tend to be New Age hippies/hipsters predisposed toward imported Eastern worldviews. Most of all, they tend to be touchy feely. A heart-to-heart hug here, direct eye contact there. As a white male, I’m like ugh god drama. Emoting physically means physical contact plus live vulnerability. Taboo for dudes. We’re Extended Cab Ford F-150s, Built Tough. Outside of Kate and Ellie, I have yet to greet someone and go in for a hug. But I might. I’m leaning that direction. Open up. Let go. Stop resisting. 

5. Lastly. My college students. It’s funny and unexpected and humbling because our conversations and their writing reveal how very small the gap is between them (as 18 or 19 year olds) and myself (at 31). It’s my bet that this is the case for all of us earthlings. Age dissolves at a certain point. We’re just people. Matter seeking alignment, harmony.