Carrie Maldonado – Author

I write books and blogs to inspire, encourage, and entertain!

April means gratitude

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April is a pretty special month around here! It starts off with a particularly meaningful anniversary for me, as April 1st is the day I stopped being a fool and started living my life a whole new way. After that, we leap right into the twins’ birthday (a day that will live in infamy), then Easter, or Resurrection Sunday, which is probably the most important day of the year for those who share my faith. So with all that we’re more than a little hyped out around here. Fortunately, we deal with heightened expectations, excess sugar, and disruptions to our routine SO well around here.

Bahahahaha

I’ve long suspected but have had it confirmed that I set the emotional tone in our home. When I’m happy and playful and grateful, things go very well. When I’m cranky, stressed, irritable, and shout-y, everyone is (shockingly) equally cranky, stressed, irritable, and shout-y. Although I have learned (sometimes the hard way) that I am not, in fact, all-powerful and capable of changing reality based on my thoughts, I still remain the emotional center of my little universe. I think most Moms are, and it’s a pretty sobering responsibility when you think of it.

Why that matters is that, as I tend to be this time of year, I have been more reflective and past-focused than usual. To add fuel to the fire, I recently reclaimed my home office after three years of exile to my bedroom to accommodate hosting au pairs. In the midst of the rubble, I unearthed a diary I kept from 2006/2007. I keep it around because of the journal entry on February 27th, when I was struck from above that Dreamy would be playing an important part in my life. However, feeling contemplative, I decided to read through and remember what life was like right before that happened.

Holy gratitude, Batman! Talk about painful reflection! I don’t need to get into the details, but went through some significant emotional struggles for most of 2006. Most of my angst was centered around my deep (desperate) desire to share my life with someone (someone other than my ex-husband, that is). I will someday write a humor book about the misery of dating in your thirties after being ‘off-market’ for 10 years. Ugh. A deal changer for me was a book my late aunt gave me that Christmas called “What do until Mr. Right finds you”, by Michelle McKinney Hammond. I recommend it to all my Christian friends who are looking for a relationship. The basic point of the book is to quit thrashing about looking for a partner, work on being the best you that you can be, and trust God’s plan for your life.

GAAAHHH!!  That advice was contrary to everything I had done before, but 5 seconds’ worth of contemplation revealed that pretty much everything in my previous approaches had failed miserably so maybe I should give it a try. If you’re not a praying sort, this won’t make sense, but I remember the moment I sat down and TRULY gave my single-ness, loneliness, and desire for a happy relationship completely to God. For the first time I was at peaceful acceptance with things exactly the way they were and I was able to approach life more positively, and start being the person I had previously assumed I needed a partner to be. Pretty much immediately after that happened God put Dreamy in my path.

Going through all the gory details in my diary that led up to that has made me VERY appreciative of my little (well, maybe not so little) family. Because I’m me, I STILL find my default mechanism sometimes to be irritation with something that someone’s doing. You know, like buying the wrong kind of deli meat, or not writing it on the list when someone uses the last of something, or when they recap the SAME line from the SAME movie to the point where I want to stab them in the throat (and passing on those sadistic tendencies to all three kids so that there’s no way I will NOT be driven insane) but when I consider all these from the appropriate context, I immediately realize that I’m so incredibly lucky to have THESE ‘problems’ that I want to cry (and once in a while do, to be honest).

Our lives aren’t perfect…except they are. And when Mom’s front and center in gratitude, everyone can feel it, and it’s like springtime is breathing right into us.

Not that we’re not still crazy, mind you. Currently, the cause du jour is THE BIRTHDAYS. I still have no idea if #NoBen and #StopThatAiden have a frame of reference that there are people in the world who don’t share a room, and a bed, and a birthday, and if that’s a cause to feel slighted, but I do my best to appreciate each as an individual, and especially on birthdays. That’s why they get their own invitations, cakes and presents. They all have the same friends right now, so we still have just one party. I plan on keeping it that way for the foreseeable future! Of course, all the attention on the boys is driving Bisky wild with jealousy. I thought it would make her feel better to remind her that she was the person who turned me into a Mommy and is very special to be the first. Unfortunately that may backfire, as she’s pondering how much it will make the brothers cry to realize that she’s more special than they are. So I had to tell her that they’re very special because they’re the last babies. It got confusing, so I just started over and said that in our family EVERYONE is very special and it’s everyone’s job to think of special things about each other. I’m not sure she’s buying it, but time will tell.

And, in true Maldonado fashion, our party theme is ‘eclectic chaos’ once again. Due to the fact that their birthday is right before Easter as well as their American/Canadian/Mexican heritage, it’s a cultural potpourri of Easter Egg decorating, T-Rex Pinatas, and a blessedly small guest list. But of course there will be copious balloons and streamers, because that’s just how we roll!

So happy gratitude month! For all of you who count April as a special time of year, cheers! And for my sister-angels who’ve walked with me for the last thirteen years (you know who you are) thank you and I love you!

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Author: Carrie Maldonado

Carrie Maldonado, is an organizational development consultant, author, and speaker. Carrie's eclectic mix of professional interests include writing, speaking, coaching, and consulting on topics ranging from organizational behavior management to spiritual transformation in and out of the workplace. Carrie lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her patient and long-suffering husband and their three children.

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