I usually like to take the time leading up to Thanksgiving to focus on the things we are grateful for. We bring in a cherry branch with its buds already formed to bring forth next year’s blossoms, and if we are lucky, we can force it to bloom by Christmas or New Year’s ( I think we tend to keep our house cooler than these branches would like…they bloom about half the time). On these branches, we write what our gratitudes are, and let them hang there to remind us through the stretch of the holiday season, what is most important in all this.
This year, despite a few trips out to look for the right branch without the hand trimmers in hand, it is Thanksgiving day and we still don’t have that branch. With our new little man around, things have been less than organized. Still, we have made a point to talk about what we are thankful for these last few weeks.
The kids still focus on being thankful for each other, which is great. I can’t help but think it is important for them to take the time to actually say this at least once a year. Of course we are all thankful for each other; but being together day in and day out can lead to us taking that thankfulness for granted. And when it comes to your siblings especially, you might not remember how wonderful they all are while you are navigating your space and time and desires with them everyday.
They all are on the top of my list too. But I like to remind myself, at this time of year, of those little things that make me smile. Grateful I am for this beautiful family and our health and our (knock on wood) happiness and ability to live out our dreams; but in addition to that, I am thankful for these little specifics today:
- how my kiss fits right inside the space between my babies toes and his foot
- watching my oldest son dance like no one is watching when he really likes some music
- the constant hum of a chattering four year old girl
- the way my middle son’s smile really is as bright as the sun
- the morning kiss while I am still sleeping from the farmer after yet another night where there are babies and kids in between us in bed
- the way the Oregon skies in fall and winter tuck around me like a warm (albeit cool) embrace
- the feel of wool and knitting needles in my hand
- almost any of our yummy vegetables tossed in olive oil and sea salt and oven roasted, any time of the day
- the blessed and beautiful way our friends have made us feel how many connections we have made in our new home as they helped us welcome this new little baby
- how many wonderful people we have met and learned from through their support of our farm, from those who have been with us from the dark days of our beginning to those we met this year and shared our lovely produce with
- and a grandma and grandpa in the same town!
There are really loads of these little things, and they really are what make life rich. In a year when some friends have suffered immeasurable loss, and I have watched as other friends have worked to help the people in a place like Haiti where things are so devastated, it doesn’t always seem fair that we are unscathed by any huge struggles nor right to worry about the little things that do seem like a struggle for us. My hope is that those who are really suffering right now also have a few of these small things to brighten their days from time to time. Sometimes it is the little thing that can carry us through in times of pain or remind us to take the time to appreciate it all in times of ease.