When we dropped off some of our things at the charity shop, we noticed a long line of folks outside. Turned out they were in line for something to eat.
Seeing the line affected my oldest daughter, and we had a talk about how much we’ve been blessed. We were driving away not only after dropping off a donation of nice clothes but we also had a van full of groceries. We have a nice van which we got a great deal on (it was a rental, so had some high miles), a house, lots of clothes, a pantry, fridge, and freezer full of food, and of course we have our friends and family.
Things are definitely chaotic at the moment but tonight I felt a little guilty for not being thankful enough.
While trying to wrap up school has been extremely hectic, my children have great attitudes. Once we got into a groove, my eldest diligently works through her lessons as much as she can, first thing in the morning. Then we usually spend another few hours going over things she didn’t understand or introducing new topics. When we first started doubling up, we were spending all day doing school and when this is one-on-one, it can be very tiring. There were a couple of times when she’d ask if she HAD to do school, but for the past few weeks, her attitude has been fantastic–no whining or complaining. My eldest son has also done well with his school stuff (although he doesn’t do semesters, so we’re not nearly as pushed, especially as we’re spreading out his program for two years). I’m also thankful that I’m able to homeschool my children, and would be very unhappy if that right was ever taken away.
Plus I have children who genuinely want to help me as much as they can. They actually ask if there’s anything they can do. My son will jump into action when he sees I’m unloading groceries or trying to sweep. My baby girl will try her best to carry things around and put things away, and my sweet laundry maid is always quick to offer to do laundry.
I spent weeks complaining about those elastics–that last phase drove me insane and also made the headaches return. But now that the braces are off, I’m glad that I don’t have nearly as many headaches as I used to. In fact, I haven’t had a single headache since they came off.
My husband’s business trips take a toll on the whole family. He’s gone at least once or twice a month. Sometimes we don’t even get a warning; he’ll go into work and is told to pack his bags because he’s traveling to Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, or wherever it is they need him to be. But we’re thankful that he has a good stable job with awesome, fantastic medical benefits.
Yes there are days when I dream of having a house with a diningroom big enough to fit a table for eight, an extra bedroom, and possibly even a room I can set aside for school stuff, but I’m thankful for my house. I do like our little house and while the diningroom is only big enough for our small table with a bench to seat two kids, it’s very cute. When I walk into the kitchen early in the morning, I love to see the light streaming in, highlighting all the sage, cranberry, and gold colors I’ve brought in, as well as the other little trinkets I’ve collected over the years. Because of the window placement, this house is truly lovely when all the blinds and curtains are open. And our location is convenient for work, therapy, church, and homeschool group. It’s also nice to be away from the city traffic, too. 🙂 And we have some great neighbors who take the time to get to know one another.
As for our experience with adoption, it was so disappointing to lose the children we’d hoped to bring home. As the moderator of the family network in our adoption agency, I read posts and even receive some private e-mails from families who have lost referrals or who fear they may. First off, I’m thankful that I can be able to say to them, “I understand,” but the whole adoption experience has taught us much. Adoption isn’t for the faint of heart and is a step of faith. I’ve often said if you have any inkling towards adoption whatsoever, there could be something there. There’s a thought in our society that only childless couples should adopt, but I assure you there are children who, because of age, disability, race, gender, etc. will likely only be chosen by families who already have children. I’ve often said I would’ve never considered adopting a child with special needs if we didn’t already have Jared. While Jared becomes more and more “typical” each year, I’ve met some great families through the clinic and therapy center who have chldren with an assortment of SN’s and after experiencing this as not only an outsider but also a parent, I’ve been able to ditch a good bit of ignorance. I’m not saying it’s easy–there were days when I’d find a quiet spot and cry, especially when Jared wasn’t having a “good day.” As for adoption, we still have approval until October 2010 (as long as we keep current on our paperwork), so we have 2 more years before we have to reapply with Immigration.
And of course, there are days when I’ve whined, grumbled, and complained about exhaustion, months of morning sickness, back pain, and being unable to stand for long periods of time (OK, even short periods of time). I’m thankful that I haven’t had to go on bedrest, that the baby seems to be doing well, and that we’ve been blessed with another child. Finding out I was pregnant was the last thing I expected to learn. We were expecting news of our next referral that same week–I remember that Monday, calling Andrew and reminding him that was the week we were supposed to learn about a child who was hopefully going to be our next family member. I had NO clue that a few days later (Wednesday) I would learn the next child wasn’t arriving via adoption and kept asking over and over, how long have I been pregnant? After finally settling in my heart that there wouldn’t be any bio-kids anytime soon and turning all my attention to adoption, part of me wondered if this was some kind of joke–if God was playing around with my emotions. But here we are, just 6-7 weeks from this baby’s due date. And three ultrasounds have given us pictures to prove that there really is a little human in there.
So, while there are times when I find myself wondering if life could be better, I’m reminded that things are actually pretty good and believe God has blessed our family tremendously.
BTW, here’s a video of what the kids know as my favorite hymn. While reading my Bible tonight, I flipped through the front few pages, reading the hymn text, which I’d written down many years ago. And thus, the snowball of thankful thoughts began!
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