Hey, look, a new post! But I’m finding that “productivity” is an elusive and frustrating concept for me still, certainly for lofty and concentration-requiring goals like forming thoughts and writing in complete sentences. So the new blogging will continue to be sporadic for a while, but in the meantime–man, it does feel good to sit here and fill the white space again!
I’m pitching myself a softball for the first blog back out of Babyland (I had written the long and eloquent explanation for the significance of Jem’s name before he was born). But it’s the fourth week in November and gratitude is good for putting me in a happy place, so here it goes:
Some Reasons I’m Thankful
(not an exhaustive list and in no particular order)
1. A soldier in uniform was standing outside of HEB collecting donations for the local food bank. When he noticed I had Jem in the Moby, he lifted Abby into the shopping cart for me. I’m thankful to live in a place where soldiers can be admired and respected, and not feared. And the same can be said for policemen. What a blessing it is to trust that the guys with guns are there to protect, not threaten me.
2. Thankful to have not one, but two families that I look forward to spending time with over the holidays. I could easily write a gushy post about each person individually (Stephen and I both have really great parents, siblings, and siblings-in-law), but I’m going to leave it general because I can’t do justice to everyone in this small space.
3. Jem’s hair when it is freshly washed, feathery and soft and smelling like baby soap. His little grunts and moans and sighs. Soft footed pajamas and tiny little fleeces and hooded towels. Baby goodness for almost all the senses. (All of them, if you include ice cream for “taste,” which I allow as an indulgence because of my extra breastfeeding calories.)
4. The way he thrashes around, even in his sleep, until his cheek finds the bare skin at the top of my shirt, and his head is tucked underneath my chin. Then…quiet.
5. Candy corn. Oh, my goodness. I can say with absolute certainty that you cannot possibly eat so many that you turn into one, because I would be at that point. I MAY be beginning to resemble the little candy pumpkins, but that’s not the same thing.
6. My mellow hymn playlist featuring Jadon Lavik and Page CXVI. Deep, true words and soothing sounds.
7. Abby’s protective, boundary-less love for her brother. Facilitating her “help” and protecting Jem from her affections can be exhausting, but I love her good intentions.
8. Yesterday I cooked a meal in my kitchen for the first time since Jem was born. I’m so thankful for our many sweet friends who brought us meals, and to Nesting Lindsey for the bags of soup and chili in the freezer for the rare night that we didn’t have a hot dinner or leftovers.
9. We finished our kitchen-improvement projects the week after Jem was born. Not only is the whole room much more lovely to look at, I get to wash dishes in a huge, deep sink that does not splash water all over me ever time I use it.
10. There are so many things that are difficult and unpleasant about having an infant. Unpredictable nights, pee in the face, the sound of a poopy blowout when you’ve just put the child in a clean diaper, the pains and inconveniences of the early stages of breastfeeding, spit up down your cleavage or on the shoulder of your clean church shirt. So when I get to feeling like I’m a real saint for putting up with it all, it’s helpful to remember how desperately I prayed for the opportunity to bring this baby into our home. I’m thankful for a healthy, thriving son in my arms, and I wouldn’t wish for things to be any different.
11. If you’ve read here long, you know that Stephen is the real saint in our household for all he puts up with. He’s been burning the candle at both ends keeping up with his normal responsibilities at church as well as trying to give me a break as much as he can: letting me sleep late in the mornings, spending long hours entertaining Abby in the back yard (never mind if they ARE playing with fire), mopping the floor, changing those poopy diapers, folding laundry. I’m thankful for my husband who is willing and able to be such an active part of our home life.
12. On a more material note, I’ve really loved my iPhone in these baby days. It’s so convenient to grab only one thing when I am up at night or sitting on the couch feeding the baby. I especially love the Kindle app and constant access to internet radio.
13. Abby is definitely a handful these days, as she is three and I am tired and she is learning to share Mom with a very demanding rival. But I’m thankful for the many moments in the day when I get a glimpse that reminds me what a funny, kind-hearted, imaginative, extraordinary little person she is.
14. I’ve been reading through some of my blog archives for a Christmas project (if it turns out great, you’ll hear about it later). It’s so fun to remember where I was not that long ago, to remember that wonderful, sweet season of working at Live Oak, to watch how doors opened and closed for Stephen in such unexpected ways to bring us to where we are now. God has brought us so far in our seven and a half years of marriage, and I marvel at his Providence in our lives.
15. The most comforting advice I’ve gotten in a long while, from the always-insightful Nancy Guthrie: “Surrender to the Season.” I would love to be a writer and a teacher, to get another degree, to be a better cook, to knit, to send more handwritten cards. Guthrie’s words were a timely reminder that I don’t need to try to fit all of these ambitions into my life, right now. Being home with little children is a consuming and very brief stage of life, and I don’t want to miss out on its sweetness because I’m trying to cram in pursuits that might be better suited for later years.