Wednesday, November 2, 2011

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 10

Today is my son Ryan’s second birthday, so today, I am thankful for him.

I didn’t get married until I was 39, so by then I was fairly certain that my chance to have children had passed me by. But God in His graciousness sent me a wonderful husband and enough assurance that he was the right one for me that our whirlwind courtship and marriage gave us the chance to become parents. And there was never a more anticipated, more wanted, or more loved baby than Ryan.

I can’t lie and say that raising him has been all sunshine and roses. He is a sweet, engaging, funny, and affectionate child. But he is also strong-willed, obstinate, disobedient, easily frustrated, and temperamental. (The strong-willed he gets from his father; everything else he gets from his mother.) Naptime is an hours-long battle every day. The trash can is a irresistible magnet for toys. Changing a diaper is often a full-body wrestling match. And yet, an indescribable joy fills my heart each night when I hear his small, sincere voice chiming his litany of “God bless”es: “God bless Mama, God bless Dadda, God bless Katie, God bless May-May, God bless Bammy, God bless Pappy.” Or his happy laugh and big pumpkin grin when he finds something funny. Or his sheer excitement when we drive past some construction equipment and he screeches, “Oh!! Big giant dump truuuuck!!! Digger truuuuuuuck!!!” Or, best of all, when he snuggles against my neck while he’s falling asleep and he murmurs, “I love you, Mama.” I am so thankful for the opportunity to not only raise, but to experience this amazing gift from God that is my son.

As I reflect on this 30-day exercise in thankfulness, I am reminded of a story from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House on the Prairie” series. Laura has a job teaching in another school district, and is boarding with a mean-spirited and unhappy woman whose bitterness and unfriendliness makes Laura miserable. She gets to go home for a visit, and when she wakes up in the morning, she hears Pa’s and Ma’s pleasant voices downstairs, and remarks that she never realized that simply saying good morning makes the morning good.

In a very similar way, I am finding that simply saying thanks makes you thankful. The simple process of thinking about something to be thankful for makes you realize not only that you have a lot to be thankful for, but also that you are thankful for it.

So today, I am thankful for all the wonderful books of my childhood that made me think – books like “Little House on the Prairie” and “Little Women” and “The Chronicles of Narnia”. I am thankful for all the wonderful books of my childhood that I can already share with my son – books like “Goodnight Moon” and Richard Scarry’s “Things That Go” and all the Mother Goose stories. And I am thankful for all the wonderful new books that we’re discovering and enjoying together – books like “Stella Luna” and “If You Give a Moose a Muffin” and “I Love You Through and Through”.

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