I have my own teeth and 7 other things this woman over 60 is grateful for

This post first appeared in Sixty and Me. 

Did you know that writing gratitude lists boosts your mood and improves happiness? I sometimes forget this in my day-to-day grumblings about hangnails and hay fever, but as Thanksgiving approaches, I’ve dusted off my gratitude list.

Depositphotos: used with permission

Depositphotos: used with permission

I have my own teeth

I am grateful for my long-term dentist whose skills kept my teeth semi-securely fastened in my mouth through the years. I helped pay for his kids’ education from Montessori school through college and I’m not bitter that I wasn’t invited to their graduation parties. I wish him the best in his early retirement while I work full-time. So I can continue to carry dental insurance.

I have most of my original parts

When I was 5 years old, after repeated bouts of tonsillitis, my mother and her hired gun dangled a diet of popsicles and ice cream before me and I went under the knife with enthusiasm to have my tonsils removed. You can only imagine the betrayal I felt when I recovered from anesthesia and couldn’t swallow my saliva. This may have prompted my lifelong suspicion of surgeons but I’m happy to report I haven’t surrendered any other major body parts.

I don’t drool. Very much. Yet.

The only other time I allowed a surgeon to have his way with me was when I had a blood vessel-ly thing appear on my lower lip. My astute dentist (see above) sent me to an oral surgeon, who removed it, declaring it a benign hemangioma. When it recurred, I decided I’d live with it but my dentist was fearful it was malignant. He didn’t buy my argument that if it was cancer it would have killed me by now. This time the surgeon was more aggressive in his excision leaving a gap so my lips can’t make a seal. Not only have I tragically lost the ability to whistle, but occasionally I spring a leak. In other words, I drool. But not much.

I have a job

I was laid off at age 62 and turned down two job offers before accepting a third to occupy my current position. And I don’t say ‘Do you want fries with that?’

Welcoming new family members

At this stage of life, I’ve had significant losses. In a five-year period, I lost my mother, father, and my sister Linda. I didn’t think I’d ever stop crying. But over the same five years plus one, I gained a daughter-in-law and two grandsons. No one can replace those lost, but the gains are blessings beyond measure.

Successful cancer treatments

In 2008 my brother was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia. When there were rumblings about a stem cell transplant we three sisters lined up at the drawing station and had tubes of blood sent for analysis. I declared that since I was the youngest I hoped I would be a match to save my older sisters from enduring the arduous process of donating cells. My oldest sister Noreen quipped, “With my luck, it will be me!”

Eight years ago Noreen laid flat on her back for 12 hours with a steel tube in her arm generously releasing her blood to a machine that extracted stem cells to give our brother a second chance. And other than having the compulsion to sit when he pees my brother Marvin is living a normal life today.

Friends through the ages

I treasure childhood friends who shared an elementary school classroom and endured the annual Maine potato picking ritual with me. This summer I reunited with both a high school and college friend I had not seen in over 30 years and was delighted when my fears of ‘would it be awkward?’ were unfounded. I recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of my friendship with bestie, Liana, who loves me despite knowing everything about me. While I marvel at the rarity of friendships so long-lasting, I met a new friend this year and Lee and I are certain our late-in-life friendship is limited only by our longevity.

Vivid dreams

I love to sleep and often experience vivid dreams. I have reunions with lost loved ones, and travel to exotic places doing impossible things.

I have a recurrent dream that involves discovering a room in my home I never knew existed. The room is beautiful and welcoming, providing a feeling of joy that carries into my day after I awaken. I feel loved, excited about new possibilities and a strong sense that God led me to this ‘room’ showing me that the best surprises in life do not come from my own knowledge or effort.

I bet you thought when I wrote about dreams I was going to expound on goals and lofty ambitions, didn’t you? Did you forget I’m shallow?

What’s on your gratitude list? How do you recognize the people and things for which you are grateful? Please join in a conversation.



©2016, Stevens. All rights reserved.

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24 thoughts on “I have my own teeth and 7 other things this woman over 60 is grateful for

  1. What a wonderful list! I was particularly touched by both the cancer story and the love you have for your family. And of course, drool! I drool occasionally when I’m running and don’t realize I have crusty saliva on my chin until I’ve finished my after-run coffee and have talked to at least ten people. Thank you for sharing!

  2. I love any gratitude list that starts with teeth! And I”m not one to brag, but I have them all too, including the wisdom teeth that were supposed to come out at 17 but I ditched the appt.!

  3. You’re so right about the things we have to be thankful for. There will always be losses and sadness, but it’s lovely to take time to appreciate our blessings too – I bet those two grandbabies make you smile!

  4. At first I read that as “I’m thankful for my own 7 teeth!!” LOL
    Wow! You’ve survived a great many losses. My condolences on the deaths of your parents,and sister.
    Congrats on the daughter-in-law, and grand sons!
    Poor Noreen! How amazing for Marvin!
    What’s a little drool among friends??
    Old friends are solid gold treasures!!
    So glad you’re one of my new friends, Molly!
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. I LOVE your dream. LOVE IT. And I also have my own teeth. And I am honored to be in your blog and also shared the sense of gratitude you expressed for the endurance of our friendship. The only thing I did NOT share was your worry it might be awkward reconnecting after thirty years. I knew in my heart of hearts I would still like you, for you were, and continue to be, a truly fine woman who would make your parents proud ♥.

    • I am so grateful that we reconnected, Elise, and in my heart of hearts I also knew it would be a happy reunion. It exceeded my expectations and I can’t wait until we connect again. I found a great air B&B for you for your next trip to our area. The decor is geared toward two young grandsons, but I expect you’ll have all the comforts you need at an ideal price. Happy Thanksgiving and thanks so much for reading and commenting on the blog. I love that I was able to include you in this very special essay.

  6. Although I often complain about how busy I am juggling work and home life, I am thankful that I have three part-time jobs that help to make ends meet while still allowing me some level of flexibility to do the things with my kids that I want to do. I’m thankful that somehow, the most important things always get done. I’m thankful that we have a place to live in a good school district, and cars that get us to where we need to go. I’m thankful for my family and that we are basically healthy. And I, too, am thankful for vivid dreams.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Molly.

    • What a lovely list of blessings Crystal. These are the day to day things we can take for granted or grumble about but when we remember to give thanks it creates happiness beyond measure. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours my doppelgänger friend!

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