As parents, Brooks and I came to the table with fundamentally different ideas about parenting. We had obviously been raised very differently; he felt quite strongly about some things and I felt just as strongly about others.

Parenting when one half of the equation is frequently gone is challenging in of itself. But then take into the equation two very young people who are trying to figure out what this parenting thing should look like and it’s extremely difficult at best. And the conversations and decisions haven’t ended, because as Brooks has grown our task as parents has gotten more complicated.

We’ve learned several things along the way, both about ourselves individually, as parents, and as ourselves as a unit, as parents. I’ve learned that out of the two of us my husband is the least to waver, regardless of the situation or circumstances. He’s an amazing Dad. He is strict, absolutely, but compassionate, understanding, and always demanding. The Boy knows what the standard is because his father never lets that measuring stick move. There are no second chances, no reminders, no “will you please” or counting or imploring. That child knows the rules and consequences and one surely follows the other.

Now, take me, on the other hand. I’m the waverer. Although I’m strict too, and never make excuses for his behavior, and nope, I don’t count, there are more than enough times when I give that boy second chances. I’m the weak one in the equation, because consistency is key. With consistency Brooks thrives. When I become inconsistent I feel that I’ve done my son a disservice because I’m teaching him by my actions that he can push the limit because the measuring stick is now precariously low.  At least in relation to where it was when Brooks is around.

Everyone parents differently. Each family is different, each child. And we know our boy better than anyone. He’s not perfect. And yet, he has a big heart, he’s funny, and creative, smart and energetic. When he is disobedient or disrespectful you won’t hear us making excuses for his behavior and we don’t accept any from him. We keep our eyes on the man we know he will become, the traits that will create an unwavering man, who stands on principle, who is kind and hardworking, who loves his family and will one day be a great husband and father.

Raising him can be tough.

It takes hard work every single day.

One of the traits that we are helping instill in him is having a grateful heart. Little Brooks has been blessed with so much. We don’t want him to ever take his blessings for granted. We want him to rejoice in all things, be they little or small. We make him save his money for large purchases, so he understands the work and patience behind acquiring those items.

Thankfulness, gratefulness, those are huge for us around here. And we’re hoping that when Brooks leaves our home he’ll carry that spirit of thankfulness with him, the gratefulness for blessings and more.

Matthew 12:34 says, “For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Those things that Brooks says, does, his interests, his passions, those all come from his heart, from who he is. So when Brooks got two recent packages in the mail I saw his mouth speak out of the abundance of his heart…

His cousins in Hershey, PA sent him the coolest hearts ever. Little Brooks raved on and on about how sweet the girls were, how thoughtful, how kind, oh look how pretty they are, we have to find the best place to put them, I have to send them something back, can we Mom, can we? And on and on and on! I loved that, how grateful and thankful and touched he was at the receiving of a package from his cousins. The look on his face was priceless.

We were about to jump in the car to San Antonio or I would have pulled out the markers and paper right then and there so he could make them something.

And then today, after getting in from Dallas from visiting my brother and his sweet family, we found a package tucked behind one of the chairs on the porch. Inside, were some super thoughtful gifts from his grandparents. Little Brooks’ eyes were huge as he pulled each item out and his grin just grew wider and wider. He hugged each item to his chest and looked each one over.

So obviously, today’s art project was going to be none other than making thank you cards, for a thankful boy in our home needed some expressing.

We settled on pop up cards and shrinky dink hearts. The shrinky dink hearts, by the way, didn’t work out so much. I’m not sure what happened but they shrinky dinked into themselves and ended up like little boats, though Brooks thinks them perfect so they will be shipped out as well.

The pop up cards were too cute, and so I don’t spoil them for the recipients I’ll just include photos of his process. They were super simple to make and Brooks giggled quite a bit when he was done making them.

Tomorrow I go in for my pre-op before my surgery Thursday. And today I am grateful for a Little Boy who is ever helpful and a plethora of willing and amazing friends who will help me out while I’m recouping from surgery. Life stays good, regardless of the circumstances.