A return to gratitude.

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What we lack is not so much leisure to do,
as time to reflect and time to feel.
What we seldom “take”
is time to experience the things that have happened,
the things that are happening,
the things that are still ahead of us.
– Margaret Mead/Rhoda Metraux

It was a long drive home. There were no ballgames worth listening to on the radio, and I am not a fan of radio preachers, country music, or infomercials about the latest healthkick in a bottle or retirement/real estate/investment seminars.

Since it was a Sunday, the traffic was flowing nicely, and it was such a beautiful sunny day, I found myself enjoying the quiet and the Oklahoma and Kansas landscape without the noise of the radio. I found myself counting as many as I could, those blessings that seem to become blurs and blips if I neglect to count them one by one. The time alone allowed me to reflect on the week I had just experienced…

  1. Returning from small town USA to find a stack of mail that included birthday cards from Linda and Geri and Jeremiah and Alex and two packages, from Delores and Katrina. What a fun welcome home.
  2. Hearing that three of my granddaughters were very ill and headed to the ER in Texas.
  3. Attending the morning session of the US Figure Skating Championships with my sister, her birthday gift to me, and SO. MUCH. FUN. What I enjoyed the most? Walking around the Sprint Center before the session began, just talking to my sister.
  4. Dinner at Panera with Sam and Dad after driving to three other restaurants to find very long wait times.
  5. A new baby boy who arrived on Saturday night to Paul and MJ.
  6. Listening to my pastor once again and feeling so content to be back in my church.
  7. Finding out that my youngest granddaughter, six weeks old, was in the hospital.
  8. Once again having to tell Sam goodbye for the week as he headed back to small town USA and I stayed behind to work.
  9. Dealing with instability and unknowns with my job status on a Monday morning.
  10. Making the heartwrenching decision to drive to Texas to help care for my daughter’s family while she and her husband took turns staying at the hospital.
  11. Having the privilege of talking to a few dear friends on the way to Texas, knowing they would pray for our little Aynjel and her family.
  12. Rocking a very sick child in the quiet of the night.
  13. Getting a running/leaping hug from happy littles when they woke up and discovered I had arrived.
  14. Giggles, arguments, crying, coloring, singing, hugs, laughter, stories, handwashing 101, teeth brushing 202, playing Simon Says, Ama-style homeschool, tears, laundry, cleaning, baking, kissing boo boos, praying, bath time, reading, dancing, pancakes, pretend grocery store and restaurant, bedtime books,  scolding, time outs, candy math, medicine giving, wiping noses, lap time, and more rocking. Ahhhh, it’s so good to be an Ama.
  15. Watching another granddaughter go to the hospital at the same time the youngest was released to come home.
  16.  Experiencing SnapChat with my daughter for the first time ever.
  17. Just being with my daughter, one of my most favorite things to do in the whole world since ever.
  18. Standing by while my daughter and son-in-law had such burden on their shoulders as they took turns holding vigil at the hospital for not one child, but two. So proud this Mom was, watching co-parenting at its finest and most difficult of circumstances.
  19. Dear friends’ text messages asking for updates and offering advice on keeping the sickness at bay.
  20. Being trusted to care for my grandchildren in their parents’ absence.
  21. An email from my friend Linda, who remembered my Mom’s passing date and knew it was an emotional day for me in the midst of busy childcare.
  22. Seeing church friends step up to the plate and deliver meals for the family.
  23. Wishing I could do more for my daughter, wishing I could hold her on my lap and rock her to sleep once again.
  24. The whole family back home again, chaos intact, and all is well, within reason.
  25. Singing our breakfast prayer on my last day, thanks to Curby’s family for teaching it many years ago: “Oh, the Lord is good to me, and so I thank the Lord, for giving me, the things I need, the sun and the rain, and the appleseed, the Lord is good to me – Amen, Amen Amen Amen, Ahhhhh-men.” And then finding an appleseed in the middle of the apple and Anissa insisting it must be planted. Right this very minute.
  26. Having to say goodbye and trying to keep those little voices in my ears for as long as I possibly could…

Yes, it was a long drive home.

To be continued.

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