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The gift of my summer vacation: gratitude

Posted by Dr. Claire McCarthy  September 7, 2012 07:50 AM

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For the last two weeks of August, I was on vacation with my family. I figured I'd come back with all sorts of good blog fodder; after two weeks of spending 24 hours a day with five kids ranging in age from 21 to 6, I thought I'd have all sorts of stories to tell.

There were a few stories, like Liam's first experiences with being tossed by waves (undaunted, he ran back in and got tossed even more) and Zack catching a fish in his first five minutes of surf casting (that was the only one he caught all vacation). But what I mostly came back with was gratitude.

It was the first time we'd been together as a family in a long time--Zack was away all summer doing an internship in DC--and the first time in an even longer time that we'd spent a continuous stretch of time together, with nobody going to work or school or off with friends. It could totally have gone either way, all that togetherness.


But we liked it. All of us. We had a good time together. And I know only too well from twenty-one years of parenthood that having a good time together is never to be taken for granted. Ever.

Nor is the health of one's family. Or that everyone--or anyone--in it is happy and successful. All of this can change on a dime, and should be recognized and treasured. Not only because it's the right thing to do, but because gratitude can make us really happy. And peaceful. 

I guess that's the thing I found myself thinking most about: that we are never even nearly grateful enough. We spend way more time wishing for things we don't have than appreciating what we do have. I'm as guilty of that as anyone.

So I'm holding the memories of this year's vacation close to my heart as I reenter the crazy fray of life. I'm hoping that they remind me to be grateful, whenever and for whatever I can.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About MD Mama

Claire McCarthy, M.D., is a pediatrician and Medical Communications Editor at Boston Children's Hospital . An assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and a senior editor for Harvard More »

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