As preparation for writing this, I went back and read my last Thankful posts since 2011. What an amazing thing it is to watch the hand of God on your own life over time...in pictures...in words.
But I will try.
I am thankful for a place where I can take my 3 boys, who are so full of life and so boundless, and I can let them run and jump and dig and tumble and act like little boys and I don't have to worry about them bothering anyone.
2) I am thankful for the way the sunlight sometimes streams through the clouds in rows like the fingers of God reaching down with His warmth to us. I am thankful that no matter what is on my mind when this happens it all disappears. I remember staring at those clouds when I was just a little girl and imagining that I could see just the corner of Jesus's face peeking around one of those clouds. It sounds so silly and unscientific when I put it in words, but I knew and I know that it was just one of many ways He bridges the gap between us.
He makes the most ridiculous faces whenever he sees my phone because he knows I am going to take his picture.
He holds onto me almost all night long. And occasionally I groan, but mostly I marvel at the sweetness of his body close to mine.
When he wakes up, he points out the door to the bedroom and demands that I turn on Barney...but first he takes me to the kitchen and waits patiently while I make my coffee.
Before he falls asleep at night, he always has to kiss and hug his brothers goodnight, and for whatever reason, though Aquaman is always waiting with gentle arms wide open, though Aquaman is kind and patient with him all day long, he almost always goes straight to The Dude first. The Dude who knocks him down, who snatches his favorite toy right out of his hand, not necessarily because he wants it, but because he wants to take it. But Greystoke marches up to him first and squeezes his arms around him with a look of total adoration.
It is never, and will never be dull with The Dude around, and I adore him for it.
He performs all sorts of interesting experiments, that occasionally result in disaster, like the booboo that you see in the picture below, and when he hurts himself, he usually pretends for the first 30 seconds that he is fine, and then suddenly dissolves into tears.
He breaks almost everything that he touches, and the other things, he ties into knots.
He loves school and feels very important when he has "homework", and when he doesn't, he asks for me to make him some.
He is, most of the time, so patient with being condescended by his sometimes insecure bigger brother.
He loves things like umbrellas, and tools, and fishing poles.
Soccer totally wore him out, and afterward he suggested that "for my next sport, I would like to do skateboarding, because all you do is you just put one foot on the board, and you push with the other foot."
Apparently soccer was way too complicated.
He likes snuggling as much as any teddy bear, but even his love often feels violent.
I have moments of worry about his rebellious spirit, but so many other moments of wonder at the depth of his heart. He is a giver. The one who sins much, is forgiven much, and loves much. And that pretty much says it all about The Dude.
Thankful that he is growing up so big and so independent, but that we still have moments like Monday night when he climbs into my lap in the rocking chair and pours out his heart to me. I am thankful that he entrusts his complicated feelings to me, and thankful that God entrusted this complicated child to me as well. Sometimes, talking to him is so intense, so rich and deep that I almost forget he is my child and not a friend.
And then he goes racing off pushing his little brother in a cozy coupe ahead of him at reckless speeds and I remember.
At school he is a total enigma. He reads and does math well above grade level, but he absolutely despises it, and trying to get him to do his homework, or just sit down to read a book can result in a solid hour of crying. His writing is barely on grade level, and the disparity between his fine motor skills and the rate at which his brain works causes him endless frustration. On his last interim report, his teacher said "he tunes in and out, starts his work too late and then rushes to finish it which results in poor penmanship."
His teacher has perfect bubbly handwriting, and Aquaman makes sure to scream that at the top of his lungs when he is frustrated. And I feel him, I really do, I can remember spending hours crying over my backwards J's too.
He loves to listen to Ramona books as much as I love to read them.
He has complicated dreams, and even more complicated nightmares.
He is the boy who first made me a mother, and I am so so thankful for him.
He still hugs me and holds my hand, and asks me about my day, and when I show him the first silvery gray hair, he assures me that they are just blond highlights from the sun.
He fears very very little, and mostly he fears God, and I love that about him. Even though we haven't even left the state of Florida in 5 years, life with him always feels like an adventure, just like I knew it would, and I am so thankful for that. So thankful that he lets God lead us, that he works hard where he is and he puts the rest into God's hands.
I still remember the way my dad would sit on the floor of my bedroom with a stack of books in the evenings when I was afraid to go to sleep by myself.
I am thankful for books and words and the ability to express ourselves, and the ability to lose ourselves in someone else's story, and in that to be able to rise up and be inspired to be something greater than what we are today. Books are such a big part of who I am, and who I will become.
Reality is not something we can see looking out at the world, or looking within ourselves. Reality is only found in Him and His Truth.
I love that Greystoke comes home with a sticker on his diaper that says "I was checked and prayed for today". I guess that probably seems silly, and I am sure some of the workers don't actually pray, but I bet some of them do, and that means something to me.
I love that one of the pastors is always quoting JT's trinity fitness devotionals, and that all of the sermons present the gospel, and that every week there people are being saved.
Saved from hell. That is not nothing. That is something amazing.
The school thanksgiving feasts are over, the crafts are complete, our thankful tree is made.
“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” Thornton Wilder