It's the day after Thanksgiving and I just spent 10 hours shopping. I am exhausted and laying in bed with a cup of chamomile tea. I have had lots of time to relish in my blessings. And there are many.
I'll start with this man right here and our marriage.
We are like anyone else ... we have had our ups and our downs. But I cherish our marriage and the husband that Rick is to me. I am a very blessed woman to have a man who works so hard to take care of me, who cares about me and how I feel, who does all he can to help me have a joy-filled life. He is hard-working and selfless and I am thankful he is mine.
Oh these kids. They occupy such a huge portion of my heart. I find myself navigating two completely different bodies of water in my parenting. There are the older kids and the younger kids.
If you think that parenting becomes easier the older your kids get, then you haven't yet been the parent of an adult child. I have great kids, yet I lose sleep every night worrying about them. I pray for them harder than I have ever prayed. I find myself smiling so often at the excellent young adults they have become. They make me so proud each and every day and I am so grateful for the close relationships that we have. I have prayed for their future husband and wife since they were small babies. I would pray for them while I fed my babies and rocked them at night. And we have been blessed with Collin and Taylar. I am happy they are in our family and are there for Kyndal and Dawson to love.
And my younger kids ... they are amazing. They are so smart and witty and quirky and fun. They make each day a joy to live as I get to see first hand how smart and inquisitive they are. Their personalities are so different yet they are very rarely apart, by choice. I cherish the days that I have with them because I know that these days will be over so quickly. I look forward to each day that I get to spend with them.
My home is somewhere that I have grown to love so much. I knew the first day I stepped into this house, when it was a disastrous pit, that I was meant to resurrect it into a quaint and loving home. I could stay in this house every day and not leave it. It is filled with all of my favorite things and my favorite people. I don't need much here to make me happy. I don't need new things. I don't need the best of everything. I don't need a lot of space. What is needed is a home where we all feel comfortable and cozy and loved. And I know this house has provided that for our family.
My extended family is a blessing. I have the pleasure of living just a few blocks away from my parents, from my daughter, and from my sister. I have an uncle who lives in town (hi John!), an aunt who comes to visit every week, and a grandmother who is living out her last days in the community health care residential facility, where Dawson works. My other grandmother comes to town every couple of weeks to get her hair done by Kyndal, so we get to see her often, as well. I get to see three of my four nieces as often as I like.
Rick's family has been such an important part of his and my life these past couple of years. His sister and brother-in-law have graciously opened their home to him while he is working during the week. He gets to see his niece and nephew often, and his brother and sister-in-law came for an extended visit this summer. I know that time was special to him. Rick had the opportunity to be with his mother during her last bout of chemo and watch her come through it with shining colors. These are important times for us to share. The good and the bad.
And let's not forget our furry kids. These dogs never leave my side, and most of the time my lap. But they keep me company and keep me warm at night. There is never a lack of love when you have your pups around. Chloe still comes to see me most days while Kyndal and Collin are at work. And we have had the pleasure of welcoming Yadi into their home in all his puppiness. They are a lot of work, are high-maintenance, and I vacuum enough hair that I could open a doggie wig business (is there a market?), but I can't imagine our days without them.
Right here ... these things I have mentioned ... they are all I need. It took me a lot of years to realize that, but I certainly do. I am thankful for the simplicity of our life and the closeness of our family. And not one minute goes by that I do not stop to consider all of which I have to be thankful.