Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and I have been wanting to sit down for a month and express my gratitude for some of the blessings in my life. I am grateful for all of the usual things, but there is a few things in particular I wanted to focus on. The first being the many instances of overwhelming kindness and compassion that my family has been the receipient of.
James was born in November, and just days before Thanksgiving three years ago, we buried Samuel, and then I returned to the hospital to bring my very fragile little boy home from the NICU. It was a day of both extreme sadness and one of gratitude for James' survival. I will never forget coming home and finding a box full of Thanksgiving dinner on my porch. James had trouble keeping his temperature up and we wouldn't be going anywhere that year, were in the NICU poor house, and that dinner was especially sweet. However, it was the note that went with it and the handmade blankets that I will always treasure. Whoever had left us the suprise said they had heard of our situation through a family member. They too had once had a child in NICU and they had been praying for us. They made a blanket for James and one for Samuel, and she said that she had thought of us and prayed for our family with every stitch. The blankets were such a comfort to me, and when I am missing the ability to hold the son I lost, or when I am mourning the consequences of James' illness, I will often hold those blankets and know that I am not alone.
Since his birth, I have had so many people help me with my other children, with rides and babysitting, with building projects for James, and also with a fundraiser that was so hard on my pride to do. I have been humbled and brought to my knees by kindness from people who I know could hardly afford the time or cost of it, by things I have been asked to not mention or I would want to. A friend once came to my defense when I was confronted with some people who were brutally insensitive, and she asked how I could stand it when people can be so cruel. I can stand the few that are cruel because I have been overwhelmed by the love of many. Thank you, I remember you all, and I couldn't do this without you.
I am also grateful my family. I have a husband that is so patient with me. He never gets angry with me, and loves me on my dark days as much as my light ones. He seems to have endless strength and endurance although I know how much he is taxed by the life we live. I cry, I lose hope sometimes, I may wallow...but he just keeps on going. I am grateful for my sweet kids, who love their brother and each other. They help me so much, are turning into such wonderful people, and never begrudge me the things I can't give them. They find joy in the simple things and are a great example to me. Their is no end to their compassion towards me, James, or the people they see around them. If God had a purpose to all of this, perhaps it is how kind and patient my kids have had to be, how they have had to learn what is important in life. Me, I have had to learn to be more patient with the fact that I am not in control. To trust that it will work out even if it is hard.
I am so grateful for my family and my in-laws. My mother in law is so good to me, and loves my girls as her own. She is supportive and never someone I dread seeing. My brothers married good women who I love. My sister-in-law watches my kids, makes them clean and does my dishes. What more could I ask for?
I am so grateful for the friends I have made over the last little while. Friendship is hard for me because I can't do the things that it usually takes to maintain a friendship, and sometimes what I have to say is hard to hear. I am so grateful when someone is able to overlook my flaws, my time limitations and realize that I will be here for you forever if you will simply accept what I have to offer and forget my sometimes appaling lack of social graces.
Lastly, I am not often one who speaks openly about religion because I have such a respect for those who feel differently and I don't like to ever be "in your face," about it. I am however very grateful for the small mercies that I receive from my Father in Heaven. I am grateful for his constant forgiveness for my headstrong ways, and for bringing those into my life that I have needed most. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.