Sometimes I think social media is like the question, “If a tree falls in a forest but no one is there to hear it, does it still make noise?”. In other words I think that sometimes people think you’re not feeling, believing, thinking, or doing a certain something unless you’ve announced it loud and proud on some form of social media. Take November for instance, where many people list their thanks almost daily for the entire month on their Facebook walls. Which is GREAT, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE reading all the sincere gratitude and it spurs me on in my own journey. I’m just not very consistent in the daily “Thanks-vember” exercise. But I have been keeping a list and here are a few of my favorite things so far in November:
1. Roof over our heads
2. When I first wrote this list I wrote “a husband who knows how to build/make stuff better than someone “in the business” (or maybe he IS in the business, but just doesn’t know it yet)”. But then I thought about it more…..it’s not just that he knows how to build stuff and that’s what I’m thankful for; it’s HOW he even came to know how to do ANYthing. You see, he’s not from a family where you fix your own cars, or even do light maintenance type things around the house. His dad just wasn’t that kind of guy, so when I met my husband, he literally couldn’t change the oil in his car; now he replaces serpentine belts (and every other type of belt under the hood), brakes (including rotors and pads), runs diagnostic codes, and in general does his best to keep everything running smooth. And when it came to inside the house he couldn’t do much beyond changing a lightbulb; now he can build houses including in-floor heating systems, staircases, tile design and installation, light electrical, framing, wall-board and custom mill work. So aside from this being just a huge “brag list” on my husband, I guess what I’m truly thankful for is that he was WILLING to learn all this stuff. We all come from different backgrounds and family situations, and even though he didn’t know squat about fixing, creating or repairing anything when we first got married, he’s become an expert in everything he learns. In fact a local contractor was over a few weeks looking at the basement bathroom which will need the plumbing rearranged (and it will involve jackhammering–something my husband is NOT willing to do) and he was blown away by the craftsmanship in the basement, which my husband is rebuilding by himself.
3. A church where our kids are truly valued for just being themselves. We never set out to find a church with “special needs programs” or even for a church where there are other families with kids with special needs in attendance, but in this church our kids are truly welcome, and there are a few other people with developmental disabilities. Our daughter, who is on the autism spectrum, immediately took a huge shine to the pastor, and all on her own, created her own “pastor’s notebook” that she has filled with sermon notes, all of her own volition. She’s also volunteering in the kindergarten class and is loving it. Almost every week someone whom we haven’t met yet comes up to me (our kids require that we sit in the SAME place every week, so I don’t necessarily get to meet as many people as I’d like) and says that watching Hayden every week makes them smile from ear to ear and they’re SO glad that he’s in church.
4. A neighborhood where children (including mine) regularly race their bikes up and down the street with Nerf rifles slung over their backs
5. A pediatrician who “gets it”. She not only wants to be our kids’ doc, she’s actually interested in finding out the “why’s” of things (and we have a few “why’s”!!). If you don’t have a child with a disability, this particular point may be foreign to you but many doctors do NOT want the extra work required by a member of the health team of a child with disabilities. It’s not simple or easy by any stretch, and many would rather just not deal with “those types” of kids.
6. That my husband is not only finally coaching, but that he’s doing it with other Spirit filled Jesus loving men who regularly pray over their athletes. He’s forgotten more than 95% of what most of us will ever know about baseball and he loves sharing his love of the game. His guys really love him and I’m so thankful he has that in his life.
7. That I can talk to my best friend on the phone again (for over a year in our previous living arrangements I wasn’t allowed to use my cell phone inside their home). There really aren’t words to describe how I feel knowing I have a life line out there. She may be too many states away to count, but we’re back in constant contact and grateful doesn’t even begin to describe what that does for my mental/emotional health.
8. Our dog. If you’re not a dog lover that’s cool, and you may not totally “get this”, but I hope you have some sort of pet in your life. I truly believe that God created animals to serve us, not only for labor, but also for emotional health. For me it will always be dogs, and we are now fortunate enough to own a Newfoundland, a dog like no other (and we used to be owned by Westies–be still my heart, I love them SO MUCH), so that’s saying something. Having a dog in the family makes ours whole.
9. That we truly have excellent health care for a medically involved child, who in some places not only outside the US, but even in some major cities within America, wouldn’t be treated as fully human because of his disabilities. Things are not always smooth, but right now we have excellent practitioners with whom we have excellent communication.
10. That during our son’s most recent major ear surgery (number eleven), the super big skin-overgrowth-infection wasn’t there. They did however find another antibiotic-resistant infection present. This is NOT good news, but I am thankful we found it, and maybe in the early stages. Again, I’m thankful that his ENT doesn’t treat Hayden like he’s sub-human; he’s going after this infection and doing everything he knows how to do to put an end to them so Hayden can have a great life, simply because he’s Hayden.
11. That we had (have) hundreds of people all over the world praying over our family the minute I ask for it. Prayer works and I’m SO thankful God hears every single thing we tell Him. EVERYthing. I’m grateful that our God wants to be a part of everything in our lives. Nothing is too mundane or trivial for Him.
12. I love technology!! Especially, audio books I can download to my phone/tablet while I knit. This probably seems so lame, but little snippets of mental health go a LONG way in this life.
13. That I have made some amazing “REAL” friends through social media that are there for me in a minute if I ask.
14. That even during these past couple of weeks where we’ve been on pins and needles because of the possible severity of Hayden’s mastoid infection, God has brought “family” to us to support us. Of all those people, only one fits the traditional definition of “family”, but still God brought support and love to us through people HE has chosen for us, for our comfort. I’m grateful that this adoptive family continues to grow through people God gives us.
15. Yarn. Yummy, fun yarn! “I knit so I won’t kill people” is a popular bumper sticker. I think I need it!! No seriously, I’m really grateful for a creative hobby where I can focus on something entirely different from home schooling, disability, the current state of world affairs, and if the refs are going to ruin the Seahawks chances again in the SuperBowl, and all the while make pretty, fun, and practical stuff for my family and friends.
16. Hayden’s continued growth and development. Everyday he shows me that he IS learning, he IS paying attention, and he IS trying on many, many levels. And then he acts like a “typical” (what is that anyway?) teenage boy. He makes me smile.
17. Delaney’s heart. She’s a good, good person who tries really hard to navigate this confusing world and she never gives up.
18. I like to cook. I’m glad it energizes me to peruse cookbooks and try new things.
19. That our family recently went to a great concert here in OurTown and we rocked out together. It wasn’t the Hollywood Bowl, but on the other hand, it was MUCH less hectic and crazed than the Bowl, and maybe that’s just what our family needs right now. I’m grateful for fun.
20. I’m thankful that I can take a day to recharge. Yesterday I hit some sort of wall and I couldn’t move my head or think a thought without overwhelming pain. I personally know many women who wouldn’t be “allowed” to be sick because their husbands would be angry with them, or they would be just completely helpless in being a single parent for the day. When I need it, it’s completely fine with the universe that I’m not firing on all cylinders, and I’m very grateful for that.
21. I’m very thankful that we have someplace to go on Thanksgiving. We are going to be with people who have been extremely supportive and gracious to our little family. Our kids are always welcome in their home for weekly Bible study and they’re extremely comfortable there. Again, I’m grateful for the family that God provides for us.