Keeping Gratitude on the Table


Before we eat dinner, my husband and I share something we’re grateful for. It’s a tradition we started shortly after we were married and decided to have dinner at the table instead of in front of the television like we’d done for years.

Occasionally, it’s a big thing like, “I’m grateful the tests came back negative.” Sometimes it’s silver lining type stuff: “I’m grateful we can afford to fix the burst pipe,” or “I’m grateful the terrible traffic didn’t make me late.”

Mostly we’re grateful for the mundane.

“I’m grateful it finally rained.”

“I’m grateful we got an IKEA.”

“I’m grateful for these tacos.”

Sometimes I’ll say what I’m grateful for, and he’ll say, “Hey! You stole mine!,” and then we’re double grateful.

Often it’s a reminder to be grateful for each other. I’ll let him sleep in, or he’ll fill my gas tank, or we’ll do any number of little things for each other that we do notice and we do appreciate but we don’t always remember to acknowledge out loud.

Sometimes we’re grouchy or tired or arguing, and we just don’t feel like being grateful, and we certainly don’t feel like talking about it. I think those are the days when it’s the most important to do it anyway. When things feel crummy, it can be powerful to take a small moment to recognize how good we actually have it.

We never thought to include our daughter, figuring she was too young to grasp the concept. But recently as we sat down to eat she announced she was “grayful for Mommy and Daddy and…. flowers.”

It surprised us. It made me cry. And it gave us something to be grateful for that day: an incredible parenting moment, when a seed we didn’t even know we planted started to grow.


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Jenny is a stay-at-home mom and writer living in East Memphis with her husband Jason, who has spent his entire life mastering the art of the “dad joke.” Her daughter Calliope was born in 2014, much to the annoyance of her two dogs (they’ve warmed up now that Calliope is older and sharing her food with them). She enjoys coming of age novels, board games and magic tricks. She tries to live by Edith Wharton’s advice to "be happy in small ways" which is why she gets a genuine thrill whenever she successfully folds a fitted sheet.