The past couple of weeks have been all consuming. I can't describe all that's been going on... all the to-do lists, the possibility of big changes our family has been discussing, the emotions that come with the holidays for me, and more.
Last Thanksgiving I wrote this post about how this holiday is the hardest one for me to be without my dad. Some years, like last year, his birthday falls on Thanksgiving Day. This year his birthday was last Friday and it was a hard day. I usually am able to post a picture of him and write something for me to remember, but this year I wasn't able to. I just became angry. He would have turned 64 and all I kept thinking was just how darn young 64 is. He should be here enjoying life with his grand kids and that's how I truly feel. If I am honest. A couple days later at church during announcements there was a whole message about confronting those things that we aren't thankful for and being able to turn them into thankfulness. I get this concept and I even believe it to be possible and good for us to do. Unfortunately for me on that day with my dad fresh on my mind, I couldn't bear this exercise and I left church crying. Some pain doesn't go away. Some things that we are not thankful for we will never be thankful for. And I don't believe that to be a horrible thing that needs fixing.
Here I am today on Thanksgiving 2013 still full of sadness that my dad is not here with me. Still overwhelmed with the possibilities of big changes for our little family of four. Still stressed in general over my to-do list and still desiring to do nothing but stop everything else and enjoy my family.
This morning I decided to stop and just think about our family and past Thanksgivings. The first one that came to mind was Thanksgiving 2007. That was one to be thankful for. Six weeks before our life had been flipped upside down. Six weeks before Thanksgiving 2007 our family of three almost became two separate families. Our lives individually and as a family were drastically changed forever first through tragedy and then through receiving God's grace and love for us.
That year we decided to pack up and spend Thanksgiving just the three of us in the Sequoia forest.
I can still remember being filled with thankfulness that year surrounded by my husband and son and basking in the beauty of God's creation.
This morning when I felt stuck, when all I could think of was how not thankful I am for so many things... I sat and remembered back to 2007 and was filled again with the reality of a God that is here with us.
For that I am thankful.
About six weeks after Thanksgiving 2007 is when we found out our family of three would become a family of four.
and so began the tradition of family photos
I love family photos. I love photos period. Obviously. Even though people say family photos are fake due to the planned outfits, location, forced smiles, and trying so hard to get that one perfect shot... it's still a real family. A family that has gone through both tragedies and joy to be here today standing together.
I am thankful today for this family. This family that I am blessed to be a wife, mommy and friend. We each share differences and similarities to one another that somehow work so well all mixed up together. Clearly knitted together by something much greater then chance. Thankful for our creator.
I am thankful for a man who loves, protects and provides for his family so well. I am thankful for the man he has become and am thankful to call him mine. I am thankful for a little girl who is filled with joy to the point of it overflowing. For a girl who lights up every room she enters and naturally makes people smile.
I am thankful for a boy who has more heart then he knows what to do with. A boy who wants to help others, to please, and to be understood. A boy who has taught me so much about being a mother. I am thankful for the grace he has shown me along this journey of being my first child.
I am thankful for being a mom to healthy, smart, loving and fun kids. I am thankful for the way they love each other. I am thankful for the way we are silly together.
I am thankful for the real stuff, the out takes, the broken parts... all of that is what has shaped us into what we are today.
For that I am and will always be thankful.
For that I am and will always be thankful.