Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankfulness

I know I've been complaining/venting a lot lately. Jacob's behavior issues have certainly been at the forefront these days, consuming my thoughts a good portion of the time. I don't know why he's being so difficult, what might be causing it or where we may have gone wrong, and I'll admit it's making me a little crazy. It's like when your child is sick--you just want to take away their pain and fix everything. And until you do, you feel a little helpless. You keep pondering what might help and do everything you can in the meantime to make things better. But oh, if only Tylenol could fix this one...

However, despite my frustrations, I know that we are still incredibly blessed. Maybe that's frustrating me even more--that everything else is so good, but this one big issue is dragging the rest down. And I do know that our situation could be so much worse, in about a million different ways. We could have a sick child, no home, or be unemployed. We have none of those issues, so regardless of everything else, we are blessed. Here's what I'm thankful for:

1) Two meals - While having two meals just hours apart on Thanksgiving isn't the easiest thing to stomach (literally), it is really a special thing. Not only is the food fantastic at both meals, but having two means that we have two sets of family members who we get to spend time with. Some people won't even have one meal on Thanksgiving, and we have the opportunity to stuff ourselves silly at two. And we're certainly lucky to have two families within a reasonable distance of our home and each other so we can spend time with both of them in the same day. We don't have to travel far, nor do we have to choose one over the other each year. Every year we have with our families is a blessing, particularly as everyone gets older. I think of all of the holidays past with family members who are no longer with us, and I know that I should savor each and every holiday while everything is as it is. It's special.

2) A healthy child - Yes, Jacob's behavior is driving us nuts and may be indicative of bigger problems. Yes, he has a cold right now that will probably usher in his perma-cough that shows up all winter, every winter. But he's alive and well, running around and talking up a storm. He's smart, he's passionate, and when he's not being a crazy child he can be really sweet and fun. And he's a good sleeper, which does a world of good for my outlook on life each day. When I'm tired, the whole world is a few shades darker. Overall, we're just blessed to have him. There are so many people out there who can't have children or who have lost children. They'd probably give up important body parts to be in our position right now.

3) A beautiful house - We went through so much craziness in the last year, deciding out of nowhere to sell our house and trying like crazy to find a good one. And we did, on both counts. I never thought I'd survive the selling process or the moving process, but somehow I did. We had great family that came out to help with the move, and all of it got done (with the help of movers as well) in a matter of hours. Well, the settling in process took considerably longer, but eight months later we're happily settled in our home. As I've mentioned before, there are so many things about our house that make it absolutely perfect for us. A fall without leaf raking and a front porch conducive to trick or treaters are just two of the newest discoveries. And the mere fact that (knock on wood) we don't have any pressing repairs or improvements is such a massive load off our minds. We have a lovely home that we can enjoy for years to come, and we won't have to worry about cramming another baby in when the time comes...there's plenty of space now.

4) An extra year to enjoy our lives as we know them - Yes, in my grand plan I wanted to be pregnant right now. I wanted to be well on our way to having two kids three years apart. Well, that's not how things have worked out. I'll admit it's been a little hard to watch people who had kids around the same time that we did move on to another baby. I can think of four off the top of my head, actually, and part of me really wishes that I was one of them. However, it's just not a smart move financially right now, and we're hoping that by this time next year we'll be in a better spot. We do have reason to hope, but that may still be a long way off. It's looking to be a smart move as well because of Jacob's current issues. The stress alone would be bad for a growing fetus, let alone the physical struggles of dealing with Jacob right now. We can use this year to hopefully get him figured out a bit, and enjoy our last bit of time where he's the sole center of attention. Maybe we'll even have the time and money to take a fun trip somewhere cool. Or maybe Craig and I will have a chance to get away alone for a bit while there's just one child to ship off to the grandparents. There are plenty of things to fill the year, including getting Jacob potty trained and adjusted to a big boy bed, and to start getting our spare bedroom ready for him to move in someday. The time really isn't a bad thing.

5) Two jobs - With so many people losing their jobs around us, it's nice that both of us have managed to keep ours. While we'd both like to be making more, and while I still have my dream of working part time, at least for now we're both employed and bringing in enough money to live comfortably. And I'm extra thankful that there's a true prospect for improving things...in the short term and long term. More on that later, if anything comes of it. And while we both have our share of difficulties with our jobs (who doesn't?), we both have a lot of things that we like about them. Craig is fulfilling his dream of working in sports, and I have a job that has turned me into a Microsoft Excel nerd :) And it pays me better and demands far less hours than my previous job, which did have the benefit of fulfilling my dream of working in sports. I also got a husband out of the deal, so that wasn't bad, either ;-)

6) We're still happily married - We probably don't get to hang out or talk to each other as much as we'd like, since by the time evening hits and Jacob's in bed we're both too spent to do much more than watch TV, but when we do have the time to hang out, we still enjoy each other's company. And despite the stresses of work, parenthood, and home ownership, we're still happily together. And that means that much more this week, after hearing about marital infidelity by a friend of ours. It was disappointing and pretty shocking, and makes me that much more grateful that we've made it this far without feeling the need to resort to stupid, selfish behavior like that.

7) A special month - Earlier this month Craig's Nana turned 91. Saturday my grandma turns 86, and Sunday my parents celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. It's truly a blessing to have those things happening in our world...from the fun stories Nana shared during dessert today to the great example my parents have set with their marriage. I still remember my grandparents' 40th anniversary party, held under a tent in our old backyard. I was nearly four years old at the time. Looking back at pictures, my grandparents already looked old, but despite being in the same general age group as my parents are now, I think my parents look so much younger! Scary to think I'm pretty much the age now that my parents were then! I also know a number of other people with birthdays this month. Seriously, I think almost every day I had three or four friends on Facebook with birthdays. Something special about this month, I guess!

8) Anticipation for a great holiday season - I'm excited to decorate our new house, excited to see how Jacob reacts to everything this year (please God, don't let his current issues ruin everything!), excited to have 10 days off of work, and excited to see my brother and his family at Christmas. We talked with them today on the webcam (primarily to reveal my parents' anniversary gift), and it was awesome to see my niece Kate being such a big girl--talking, drawing, looking adorable--and I can't wait to see the two kids together. They're probably actually really close in abilities right now, so it should be fun to see if they talk to each other or play together. Let's hope it's all good! Regardless, it will be so good to see everyone together for the first time in a year and a half.

9) Potty training - While the whole process still freaks me out a bit, I'm excited that it's getting started earlier than I thought. We still have a long way to go, but it's a start. And amidst all of this frustration with Jacob, it's given us a little bright spot of pride every time he manages to go n the potty. Little victories, folks.

10) This blog - For nearly three years it's been a constant in my world, documenting my thoughts, feelings, and happenings for posterity. The blog has had its moments, but I really do appreciate it's presence in my life. I like looking back and seeing how we've progressed and what we've done. It's the most in-depth baby book possible, and I am grateful for the way it has documented our lives. It can be a great place to vent or sort through my feelings, a great creative outlet, and the cheapest form of therapy there is. And just one glance through it reminds me how lucky we are, how blessed to have so many good (and not-so-good, but life-enhancing nonetheless) experiences filling our world. And on this Thanksgiving, I am grateful for them all.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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