Archives for posts with tag: gratefulness

I find myself grateful quite often. I’m a glass half full kinda gal and I think it makes life much easier to bear, and more enjoyable, when we continually count our blessings. I love that my frequent and verbal outbursts of gratitude are rubbing off on The Boy. I find him lately making lots of verbal notations of not just stuff, but “things” that he is grateful for. Even when I broke the news to him earlier this week, that although, yes, we were going to enjoy fun in the snow but then dive into a full day of school, he responded that he was grateful that not only would he be able to play in the snow (he was most excited about the possible promise of a gnarly snowball fight and the construction of a fort, to boot) but that our school would only take a few hours and he knew that was markedly less than if he went to public school.

Yesterday when he learned that one of his most beloved friends would be coming over for a sleepover the joy was clearly evident all over his face. It’s the kind of joy you wish you could bottle up for a rainy day, the kind that makes you grin from ear to ear, it’s that contagious. Typically on Thursdays we do a half day of school (which really entails focusing on the main subjects: language arts, math, science, history, etc without all the other stuff we normally do) so B wondered if perhaps we could double up on lessons so that today he and his friend could sleep in, play with abandon, and pretty much make merry.

And again it came, that gratitude that is easily slipping his lips and hearts these days: “Mom, I’m so grateful we can do this and that my friend can sleepover.” And then he looked at me and relayed that leaving his friends behind in Texas was the hardest thing he’d gone through, except losing his beloved JayJay (our sweet natured and irreplaceable boxer of only four years, who had stolen his heart and filled him with enough memories to last a lifetime). He followed this sentiment with the gratefulness that comes from understanding how blessed we are when really and truly we’ve done not a thing to deserve such amazing things: that he was so grateful for great friends here in Virginia.

I listen to these two and my own heart swells with gratitude. The funny thing is that as Brooks has created these incredibly meaningful relationships over the years I have found myself loving these kids myself, relishing in their accomplishments and joys just as much as if they were my own. More so than that, I am grateful for the lessons learned from these friendships, lessons this momma wouldn’t have been able to teach all on her own (especially with no siblings with which to teach lasting lessons of the heart).  The other day when his friend was over they got into the first “disagreement” I’d ever heard them get into. It had something to do with minecraft but the thing that got me most was how they disagreed with each other. They weren’t ugly, they didn’t raise their voices, they weren’t selfish or defensive. They stated how they felt, they listened to each other, and then they made light banter and soon they were both in peals of laughter, their disagreement behind them, nothing big to fuss over.

What I really wanted to do was run upstairs and hug The Boy. His poppa and I are extremely strict with him. We don’t take to any foolishness and typically let nothing slide. Sometimes I wonder if we are being too “much” but then I remind myself that we aren’t doing him any favors by confusing him or allowing bad habits or a hard heart to develop within him. One of Brooks’s earliest friendships blossomed quickly and then turned into constant battles. Brooks wanted to be right, always. He wouldn’t listen, wouldn’t see things from his friend’s perspective. It was maddening. It led to countless and repeated conversations. I refused not to repeat myself because I’d already said the same things a bazillion times. We read through books, did Bible studies, etc. etc. and still there was always someone in his life he cared about deeply but  couldn’t just deal with disagreements in a loving manner.

This last year was a turning point. I could see little things, I could see when certain kids, even friends would irritate him. LB was handling these situations with grace and love. He was keeping his cool. He wasn’t trying to be right. He wasn’t getting loud and overemotional. When he was wrong he was apologizing. When he wasn’t, he wasn’t pointing it out or judging others. He was simply moving on. And then came that disagreement last week. If he can go through life exhibiting that with those he loves and cares about most, how much richer will his life be?

I’m raising a little man who will court his future wife. Who will treat her with the respect and love and patience and gratitude she deserves. Who will see disagreements not as gateways to strife and anger and bitterness and division but as opportunities for understanding and love and even respectful disagreement.

So I find myself grateful for the friendships that B has developed. For the character traits he looks for in his friends. For the lessons learned that go beyond the pages of a book and play themselves out in life as moments to be remembered. I am grateful for the ability to allow him to nurture these friendships. And I know later today, after his friend is no longer with us, I have a feeling the first thing he’ll relay is how much fun they had and how grateful he was for the day.

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.