Today I am thanking God for my mother-in-law. From day one all those years ago, when I was nervous as hell to meet her, she has treated me like one of her own. Then, when we gave her grandbabies she just stepped it up another notch. She loves on our kids like it’s goin’ out of style. She bakes, she cooks, she does all sorts of fun things with the kids, and they love her dearly. When I was sick last fall, she took the kids weekend after weekend in order to give Mike the break he so desperately needed. She let all of us stay with her while our power was out during the ice storm last winter, and she was even with us for my cochlear implant surgery and subsequent activation. She is truly a gift and I can never thank her enough. Thank you Ann, for being the best mother-in-law a girl could ever hope for!
Today I am thanking God for my baby girl, Natalie Joy. Today she turns 5! It was during my pregnancy with her that I discovered I had MS, but she was my hope and joy through what would have otherwise been a very dark time, and she still exudes those qualities today. Can’t you just see the pure joy in those beautiful blue eyes? Happy birthday, baby girl. Momma loves you.
A friend on Facebook mentioned she would be spending the entire month of November taking daily pause to recognize what she is thankful for. I think that’s a great idea. Thanksgiving is, after all, at the end of this month. It is also one of my favorite holidays.
So today, the 2nd of November, I will share what I am thankful for by way of telling you what my husband and I discussed on the way home from church today.
Okay, #1 is the fact that we can even have a conversation while we are in the car. But that’s not the thing. The thing we were discussing was that last fall was such a scary time for us. In fact, I don’t remember much of it. I lost my hearing and then shortly after started losing my vision and got very sick. I was what you call “checked out”. I was falling asleep at all hours of the day, I couldn’t remember where I was, or why I was there. I was in and out of the hospital as they tested me for everything under the sun. They were looking at some very serious diseases, some even fatal. This went on from mid-August until some time in January. My husband feared that this would remain a permanent state for me, awake for four hours a day, and not quite conscious even then. My mom and perhaps many others feared that I was dying.
But what a difference from last fall to this one. I am back! I still have a terrible memory, but for the most part I am here. I am present, living every moment as if it is a gift, because it is. It is such an amazing gift to have my mind back, and to be able to hug my children and tuck them into bed each night. To lovingly and thoughtfully prepare meals for my family, and to sit around the table, fully awake, is tremendous. It’s been almost a year from the last time I fell asleep sitting in the living room and had to go to bed before dinner with my family. Not a day goes by where I don’t thank God for that.
Tell me, what are you thankful for this season?
I had a crazy busy day, and now the house is a disaster. Well, a disaster in the same way last week’s thunderstorm was a hurricane. There are still traces from last night’s dinner in the kitchen, floors have attracted various debris from the weather outside, and laundry is, well, always in progress. But I was home alone with the kids tonight, and I didn’t want to spend it cleaning. I wanted to spend it with them. So I did. We snacked and talked and then we snuggled up on the couch and watched Toy Story 2, right up to the very end. I can’t remember the last time we’ve all watched a movie from start to finish with no interruptions, and with no electronics stealing our attention. It was beautiful.
And now they are in bed, well past each of their bedtimes, and I sit. Writing and reading. Not cleaning the house out of some neurotic obsession. I think that’s a good sign, right? That I’m not TOO obsessive? That I can draw a line somewhere, and be realistic about what matters and what doesn’t? After all, (paraphrased from the best movie quote of the night) “I can’t stop [them] from growing up, but I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
We went camping. With our church family and with our children. Our kids had a blast. One of the memorable parts for me was staying in the caboose. All the cabins were taken when we signed up, so that was our only option, and it turned out to be the best one! What do you mean by caboose, you ask? Well, it’s just that. A caboose. Equipped with bunk beds and a futon.
It was kind of a hike to the restrooms (Cuz we ladies do NOT use the porta-potty. No way, no how.) but we managed. I brought my cane, and I’m glad I did because it was very useful keeping me upright over all the hilly terrain (Well, mostly. I only fell three times).
Most kids love to camp, and ours are no exception. So we do it for them. We are not crazy about camping, and the two of us do not camp well
together. I am generally a morning person, but something about waking up on a crumb-coated futon with welts on your face from your wiggly, sound-sleeping, seven year old sets me on the wrong foot. Not to mention the moment I recall that I did not bring a coffee maker and have to roam the campground with my empty traveler mug, peddling for hot coffee. Oh, and did I mention the 15 mile hike to the bathroom?
I think we did some fun things while we were there. Well, the kids anyway. They swam, rode bikes and scooters, slid down the biggest slip ‘n slide you’ve ever seen, and even went zip-lining 30+ feet off the ground. When Natalie saw that her brother was getting ready to go, she wanted to go too. No fear, this child. She is our daredevil. Four years old, and such a girly-girl, but she has no fear. She trekked right up to the top, feigned hesitation and fear for the zip-line operator, and then when it was her turn, off she went. She had a blast! And her only complaint was that it went too slow. Crazy girl.
Let’s see… We also had a big potluck with the church folk. Now, I grew up Methodist, so I’ve been to my share of potlucks. This potluck was by far the most memorable. Because as soon as everyone got the food set up, it started to rain. Hard. So I scrambled to get my food (yummy salad, by the way) and squeeze in with the crowd under a camper awning to eat it. Craziest potluck ever.
All in all, it was a memorable trip, and we are glad we went. We are also equally glad to be home. I’m sure I’m missing a lot of great details about the trip but my head still needs to unwind. Tomorrow is the first day of school! Again (it happens, like, every year)!!
Summer is ending, y’all. What was your favorite part?
Had a lovely time camping with the kids this week. I took a nap as soon as we got home. Sleep was interrupted by a nightmare that seemed like it came out of an episode of Criminal Minds (which I haven’t watched in well over a year). Oh well. I woke up to dinner with the family. I have laundry going and now I’m just trying to catch up on paperwork and junk while Grandpa feeds my kids ice cream. Between the ice cream and camping gunk, they will be bathing tonight!
And now the kids are bathed and in bed. Time for me to rest. Not doing laundry. Not working on a grocery list or planning my weekly chores. I still desperately need to bathe as well, but first I’m parked on the couch with a heating pad, warming my aching, arthritic lower back. Cuz I don’t have enough issues with the hearing and vision loss.
Ah, but life is good. I am blessed with a wonderful family. And it is so good to be home.