Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Very Happy Thanksgiving

Today was Thanksgiving and Todd's family (parents, brother, kids and ex-sister-in-law) came over to my parent's home along with my brother and Michelle for a feast! Each year we alternate Thanksgiving between the Fredeen's and the Matos' so that we can always be together. This year was incredibly bitter-sweet. We were all more thankful than ever before, but it was all sprinkled by a tiny bit of sadness.

Everything about today was lovely. Everyone behaved, the food was incredible (my mom and dad are amazing chefs!!), the pies were delicious (Todd and Sharon always bake the best home-made pies!!) and the conversations were happy and marked by a refreshed sense of gratitude.

Nina had a hard time sleeping last night and was up this morning from 2-5am. As I lay beside her, tickling her back, I began to think about all the things I am thankful for. There are so many things... the list could go on forever, but I've decided to narrow it down to my top 10.

10. The amazing love and support of family and friends. Without this, we would have not survived all the trials we have been through and may have to go through even more.

9. The kindness and generosity of acquaintances and strangers. We expect love and support from our friends and family but sometimes what we get is more like cruelty and betrayal. What is more astounding is when mere acquaintances and even strangers step in and show a level of compassion that one would have expected from the closest of friends. I am so thankful for all our new friends and for all of our deepened relationships!

8. The miracles that are named Teddy & Nina. They are my life, and every struggle I have had with them is worth it!!

7. The love that Todd has for our children. Todd was made to be a father and our children are beyond blessed to have him as their dada!! I am beyond blessed that he is their dada!!

6. My children's disruptive behavior. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine I would be thankful for their tantrums but I am!!!  I am thankful for all the "stink-eyes" I have gotten and each and every tantrum, fussy, and melt-down. I know this sounds strange and trust me...when I am living through one, gratitude is NOT what is flowing through my mind! But once it is over and we have come to a resolution I have found myself lately thanking God for these opportunities to shape my children's lives and for the "normalcy" that disruptive behavior is. Fatigue, silence, unresponsiveness is not normal for a 5 year old....talking back, crying, pouting, and the all encompassing "stink-eye" is and I am thankful!

5. Adelae, Silas, Teague & Sosie. No one brings more joy and happiness into Teddy and Nina's lives than their cousins and I praise God for the love they pour into each other! It is awe-inspiring and breathtaking! Tonight, when it was bed time, Addie lay next to Nina and tickled her little cousin's back, arms, and face for over 10 minutes until Nina was sound asleep. That is love!! Pure and simple!!

4. Laughter!!! Nothing is more precious than the laughter of my children. I have always appreciated their laughter but now it has a magnificence about it that is indescribable. When I hear their laughter, happiness pulsates through my veins. When I hear their laughter, I swear I can feel Heaven's blessings pouring over me. When I hear their laughter, everything is right in the world...even if it is only for a millisecond!

3. A most precious friend's reminder that everything else in my life can stay in limbo for now...that the only thing that matters is being with my family and memorizing every breath, smell, touch, freckle, laughterr, stink-eye, smile, movement, word that is my honey-girl! My life is completely falling apart all around me....every aspect is being decimated! However, I felt the most amazing peace and liberation when I was told this because it is true. Every time Teddy hugs me or kisses me I find myself memorizing the sweetness of his face. Every time Nina reaches for me in the middle of the night and nuzzles her chubby face tightly up against mine, I find myself memorizing the cadence of her beating heart and the rhythm of her breathing. Each of these little things are miracles and I am so, so very thankful!!

2. Forgiveness! I am incredibly thankful for "Forgiveness"!! I struggle with doing the right thing on a daily basis, hourly basis, sometimes second by second basis and I would have to say that perhaps one of my biggest struggles and sins in life has been arrogance. This journey with Nina has taught me many things, however, one of the greatest lessons I have learned so far is the astounding and humbling experience of forgiveness. Today, as I hugged my former sister-in-law Shannon goodbye when she left Thanksgiving lunch, I was overcome by the amazingness of forgiveness!!! I fall short every day of my life but God is always ready to forgive me and love me, just the way that I am, faults and all!!! If God is willing to do this for me, why shouldn't I be willing to do this for others??? Consequently, this year I am beyond thankful for the gift of forgiveness!!

1. Unwavering love!! Most of all....I am thankful for unwavering love!!

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