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Finding gratitude in unlikely places

‘Tis the season of gratitude, and a time to reflect on and count our blessings.

For me, that’s always been a bit of a struggle. I tend to be a “glass half-empty” person, often letting everything that’s “wrong” in my life overshadow all the “right.” I tend to overlook and not appreciate all of the good, which includes three healthy children.

So it was a real wake-up call when I spoke to Batavia resident Tami Wilson last week.

Wilson is the mother of Brice Worley, an eighth-grader at Rotolo Middle School who is in the fight of his life.

Brice, 13, had what doctors thought was a stroke in September, only to be diagnosed with a brain tumor last month when his symptoms worsened.

But Wilson expressed nothing but gratitude.

Gratitude to the community that has supported her family through this awful ordeal.

Gratitude that once Brice finally was diagnosed, the family was able to get the answers they had been desperately seeking for weeks.

As Wilson said to me, once they knew it was a tumor, and not a stroke, that was causing his symptoms, the family was able to focus on “truly living.”

She rejoiced in the small things that Brice was able to do: enjoy a meal with extended family, attend a wrestling match at Rotolo and see a movie in the theater with his siblings. All everyday occurrences for many teens.

The joy in her voice while describing the memories the family is making during this time before Brice starts aggressive treatment made me realize that I need to start counting my blessings, however small, because life can change in an instant.

I have a son the exact same age as Brice. My eighth-grader has always been a little ... shall we say ... challenging. But after hearing Brice’s story, somehow his moodiness and reluctance to clean his room or do his homework – which have been constant sources of frustration as of late – seem trivial and irrelevant.

Now, I’m feeling nothing but gratitude that our biggest problem is his math grade, and not a life-threatening medical condition.

Finding gratitude after a brain tumor diagnosis is truly unlikely. I don’t know if I would have the same attitude as Wilson if faced with a similar situation.

But I do know that it’s time for me to practice gratitude, even when my 13-year-old is making me crazy.

Enjoy the holiday season. Take a moment each day to find the joy in the small, frustrating or seemingly mundane moments.

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