Some ideas were predictable: family, friends, scriptures, even rain. But I love what the boys have come up with during the past few weeks. Things like cheetahs (Noah's favorite fast animal), magnets and legos (toys that keep us very busy for long periods), new countertops (I totally agree with that one Luke!), broccoli (one of their favorite vegetables?!) and peacocks (because they were so fun to chase at the zoo).
One notably missing item, to me at least, was this baby sister we've been talking SO much about. But I didn't want to push it. Maybe they hadn't thought of it, or maybe they just didn't feel so grateful for her -- yet. But when I picked up Noah from Joy School on Thursday he proudly presented me with his art for the day.
It melted my heart a little. Oh, I know there's going to be times, some that are right around the corner and others that are years away, where situations may cause him to feel otherwise, but at the core of who this little boy is, I know he's thankful.
So am I.
It's been no secret that this pregnancy has not been my most favorite thing. In the beginning it left me unable to do much except survive. But I gained a little insight into what it must be like to have a chronic, debilitating illness and my empathy for others I know who are suffering grew. It's been frustrating, embarrassing and just outright maddening to deal with the worst acne I've EVER had for the past six weeks. Some days I haven't wanted to leave the house (so I didn't) because it's just so bad. I've avoided a few social situations and been a little more removed from life than I otherwise would have been. But I've tried to find some silver lining and realize that even this experience has enlarged my heart and given me an understanding for how others think and feel and act when going through a similar situation. I'd give just about anything for a magic wand to make it all disappear.
I'm grateful to be nearly finished with the seemingly forever process of growing this baby, and also thankful that this pregnancy didn't result in a miscarriage, like a few others have.
I'm thankful for friends who have been beyond excited about our little girl. Throughout my pregnancy little girl things have been dropped off on my porch by friends who just couldn't pass up the cuteness. At times when I still felt cautious, when I wasn't quite ready to believe completely that this would all work out, I hung onto the optimism of friends who just wanted to celebrate that things were good right now. It made such a huge difference. They will never know how much I appreciated such thoughtful acts.
I'm thankful that Nate and I celebrated our 9th anniversary last week. I think back to eight and nine years ago when we definitely did love each other, but comparing it to now, I feel like that love has grown exponentially. We truly are each others greatest support and confidants. Nothing makes me happier than to help him and our boys succeed, in whatever capacity I can. And I know that in parenting, relationships, and reaching personal goals, he's my partner and supporter in all of it.
Our anniversary gifts to each other showed that over these nine years we've learned a bit about what's truly meaningful to each other. Nate came home from work with the most beautiful bouquet of fall flowers: roses and sunflowers and all kinds of other beauty in oranges and yellows. He found a card with the most perfect message for me and us. I, on the other hand, spent a good portion of the day cleaning out the garage so that after a couple of months of house construction our cars could both finally fit. Both of us were so grateful.
The bottom line: we are blessed. Being the mom of this little family is literally my dream come true. Spending the day with my kids is the best kind of work I could ever do. I'm grateful every day for the many opportunities we have to love each other, snuggle and learn together. Life certainly has its disappointments and heartaches, but I'm thankful that these are the people who will help me get through those moments and celebrate the goodness that also comes to us in abundance.