Monday, January 14, 2002

In My Life

'Gratitude attitude' pays off with gift from a child

By Mona Bronson-Fuqua
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The inherent stress of Christmas time had just about wiped me out. My family moved to a new home right after Thanksgiving and life seemed to be turned upside down.

img   Mona Bronson-Fuqua of Westwood is a news aide in the Enquirer's features department. She lives with her husband, Joseph, assistant photo editor for the Enquirer, their toddler son, Charles, and her stepson, Joseph, who is a gift she feels blessed to share.
        My husband and I had agreed that our new home and the requisite purchases would be our Christmas gifts to each other this year. A good theory, but a drag in practice because I really love to get packages to open.

        As the holiday approached, I had torn my hair out running to stores to find the perfect gifts that would make everyone else happy.

        Before going to sleep Christmas Eve, I looked at all I was blessed with and vowed to do better finding the joy in what I had.

        Morning came way too early and I dragged myself out of bed to start cooking. Snapping green beans at the sink, I watched the sunrise slip through the windows into the cozy eat-in kitchen I had always wanted.

        My husband brought our 20-month-old, Charles, downstairs and we wrestled him into his high chair. Then, I gave him breakfast. The everyday qualityof mommyhood chores crept over me, and I chided myself for not being true to my “new gratitude attitude.”

        Turning to Charles, I smiled and gave a variation on the same thing I have said everyday since he was born.

        “Good morning, Charles. Merry Christmas! Mommy loves you. I love you.”

        Charles gave me a milk-filled grin and matter-of-factly replied, “I love you” and blissfully returned to filling his mouth.

        My baby had never said “I love you” before. I was struck. I hollered to my husband, “Did you hear that!” He had but wasn't nearly as excited as I was.

        I kissed Charles' face and told him again, “Mommy loves you!”

        Charles just looked at me quizzically and kept eating.

        After doing a little jig, I returned to my cooking and said a little prayer of thanks for the unexpected blessing.

        Charles has not said “I love you” again since Christmas Day, so I tear up a little every time I think about it.

        More importantly, I am reminded of two things:

        Be as present in moments of joy as in the blue times — don't focus on the latter and miss the former.

        Secondly, the perfect gift can be free and too big for wrapping paper.

        Share recent moments in your life by mail: In My Life, c/o The Cincinnati Enquirer; fax: 768-8330; e-mail:


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