Thursday, November 3, 2011

Be Here Now: Empty out the Sponge of Thankfulness.

It is that time of year again. 
Everyone is bracing for the Holiday season—we are planning meals and road trips, we are on the lookout for deals on wintry foods and early Christmas presents, and perhaps we are packing on a few pounds of winter padding thanks to all those delicious seasonal lattes.
Last year there were several great posts and reminders circulating blogdom with various ways to commit this season to thankfulness. Thanksgiving is a special time; we enjoy fellowship with our families, we eat great food, and the weather is normally gorgeous. I love everything about this season.

We are hoping to approach this Thanksgiving with a true air of thankfulness. Now that my kids are getting older, I'm hoping to impress on them the importance of being thankful and grateful for our daily blessings, especially while the crisp air is thick with reminders of thankfulness.  

I was thinking about some advice that my grandma and mom often repeated for us, and I think it's applicable to Thanksgiving. The premise is that if we aren't giving back to others, if we only receive blessings and hoard them inside without pouring them back into the lives of others, then what good are they? If we soak up our many blessings into a virtual sponge but never squeeze them out for others, then what is the point of receiving blessings at all?

Sometimes I feel stressed about my lack of “squeezing out” the sponge for others. I honestly feel that in some ways I am in a perpetual “squeezed out” state since my days are spent picking up the goldfish and wiping down the noses of little ones and literally squeezing out the dirty kitchen sponge for the 500th time each night. And although it is hard to imagine that the whispering voice at 2 a.m. telling me about his bad dream will ever quiet or that the infinitely growing laundry pile will ever end, ever.... it will. Very very soon this brief chapter will pass; kids will not want to have long chats before bed or ask me to kiss an invisible boo-boo to make it better.
This year, I hope to show my kids that I am thankful for them NOW. I don't wish they were 18 and I don't wish they were little swaddled babies. I love the questions they ask, I love the crazy morning hair and the dirty fingernails. I love the sand they bring in from the sandbox and the way they scream with excitement when I announce we are having a family favorite for dinner. I'm thankful for a little brother who is in love with his big brother. I'm thankful for a sweet girl with earnest desires for sparkly nails and floor-length hair.   
My kids are far from perfect and our life is anything but glamorous, but we are all where we are meant to be for NOW.  A part of my role (as mommy) is to be thankful for them, even when things don't work out according to my plans and schedules and even when I feel like there is nothing left to be squeezed out of this tired, filthy sponge.  In showing them I am thankful for their sweet hearts and their little games, can I pass along a true spirit of thanksgiving? Let's remind our kids that although we are thankful for the fun things that overflow the toy room and the pumpkin pies and hot cider, we are especially thankful for the true blessings we have NOW in our homes--each other!

Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” — William Arthur Ward

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for noting be thankful for our children NOW. That is the very thing I try to keep formeost on my mind in all my responses to my children. Our oldest is already 1/3 of the way to 15. I am going to laugh about these messes one day and miss them, so why not see the humor now? I am still human though and sometimes override my good intentions (like today when half the new gallon of milk flooded the floor). After pointing out that is one reason it is important to stay out of the refrigerator, I let him know I still loved him...Really I probably should have sat on the floor and laughed. Each day seems so brief once they are in bed... and they are already one day older. Yes, I want to enjoy them NOW.


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