I feel bad for my lack of Thanksgiving posts. The entire month of November, when everyone on Facebook is posting all the things they’re thankful for, I stayed quiet. Then I didn’t even blog Thanksgiving week at all; when I get busy, writing is the first thing to go (in spite of the fact that it helps me stay sane). Topping things off, my latest post was a bit of a rant. That’s what happens, though, when I dwell on something for such a ridiculously long time that it finally just bursts out that way.
But I am thankful. I think, if I posted thirty days worth of “I’m thankful for…”, two things would stand out. One is how thankful I am for really petty things. That first cup of coffee in the morning? Unbelievably thankful for it. (I’ve noticed my thankfulness for that particular cup rises in direct proportion to how early I get up.) A temperamental hot water heater means I’m thankful for a hot shower in the morning, as compared to the warm-ish ones we often get. Lacking a garage for much of our married life means I still, ten years after getting one, think how grateful I am that I don’t have to scrape a windshield on a bitter morning. A baby who leans toward thirty-minute naps means I’m beyond grateful when she sleeps for an hour and a half. We had dinner with friends last Sunday after church, and managed to drive around to see some neighborhood Christmas lights last night, and most importantly, the baby TOOK A BOTTLE in the nursery at church this morning, all of which point to a turning point in babyhood: the Ability to Have a Life again. I’m incredibly thankful for that.
The other thing that would stand out is how repetitive my thanks would be. Family, current and extended, would feature prominently and often. I’m so grateful for growing up in a loving home, in a two-parent family that even now has two parents. I’m thankful for my sweet husband, who puts up with my quirks (ahem….understatement) and loves me anyway; who is a great dad with all our kids, including the baby. I’m really thankful for that; when he walks upstairs after work and I essentially throw the baby at him and say here….your turn, and he takes over with a smile.
I’m thankful for my oldest. I’m thankful for the sense of humor he’s developing; people ooh and ahh over the toddler and preschool days (me included) and talk about paying attention and savoring every moment, and now I’m looking at this ten year old and thinking, they don’t tell you this is fun, too. Having a kid with a real sense of humor–who not only gets your jokes, but can make you truly laugh, too–it’s amazing to watch what these little ones turn into.
I’m not thankful for his anxiety, but I’m thankful that those problems led us to homeschooling. I’m thankful for watching him relax a little and enjoy life again.
I’m thankful for my oldest daughter, for her energy and enthusiasm and constant motion. I’m thankful for the sheer joy she brings to her schooling, for the moments like when she learned about why trees change color in the fall and she looked at me with eyes shining and said, “It’s like the trees are keeping a secret all year!” (Admittedly, the pendulum can swing quite extremely the other way, also….)
I’m thankful for her silliness; she was the one who taught her brother to laugh, all those years ago.
And I’m so thankful for the baby. I’m thankful that she’s a happy baby, that she sleeps as well as she does, that she is usually so mellow….I’m thankful that I finally understand what it means to have an “easy baby.” I’m grateful and beyond surprised at how much “the bigs” love this baby. I knew my daughter would do well, her mothering instinct is strong; but watching my son fawn over her was so unexpected I still–seven and a half months in–whisper prayers of thankfulness when I see them together.
I will never forget the photographer taking pictures of my sister’s family with ours. She very carefully kept trying to position the baby with my sister. It made sense: ten and eight year old together, two-ish little one (my niece) with the baby. My sister briefly explained the situation and then, leaning in to the photographer, laughingly announced, “Surprise!!” The photographer shook her head and did her hands in a motion that was half “Praise the Lord” and half “Raise the Roof”: “No,” she stated firmly, “Blessings. BLESSINGS.”
And she is right. That baby has been the most unexpected blessing of all.
So, yes, I’m thankful. And I’m happy for this thankfulness to carry through Christmas.