Family and Gratitude

“Do you know what you are Matt? You’re an ungrateful whiner.” – my mom (many years ago)

As occasionally happens, one day I was feeling sorry for myself.  I was living far away from “home,” I was struggling to provide for my young family, and we weren’t getting much sleep with a newborn in the house.  I did what seemed perfectly reasonable – I called my mom.

She patiently listened to my frustrations as I continued to vent.  I went on … and on … and on.  Finally, she had enough and made the announcement above.  I apologized.  She apologized.  We laughed.  Somehow, life seemed better.

Almost twenty years ago, Katie and I promised each other that together we would travel through the valleys and ascend the peaks of this life.  I have been blessed to feel the sunshine on my face more days than I deserve.  Largely because of Katie’s daily influence in my life.

We have four children.  Each wonderful and unique.  We are not immune from the challenges of life.  The kids don’t know their own strength, their courage, or the height of joy they bring to my heart.  That’s my fault.

I found myself thinking the other day about Paige’s graduation in seven months.  I was thinking about how proud I am of her and all she is doing.  I tried to imagine when she’ll leave for college.  Then I realized I was crying.  I’m excited for her to have new experiences and find her own path through life.  I just hope there will always be a spot for me along the way.

James plays the drums in a room immediately below my office.  I marvel at his talent – he didn’t get it from me!  Occasionally, when he plays enthusiastically, I can feel the vibration through the floor.  Sometimes the smallest things in life, like a little vibration in the floor, are the sweetest.

Thomas giggles.  His laugh is cute, innocent, and infectious.  He can lighten the mood of the entire house.  A few weeks ago I looked at him with a simple request, “Thomas, don’t ever change.”  He will – but hopefully he’ll be laughing along the way.

Annie is the youngest – perhaps I have a soft spot in my heart for her because she’s the youngest, or maybe it’s just for her.  She’s cute and hilarious.  She’s responsible for many candid, fun moments in our family.

This Thanksgiving I’m grateful for the abundance of blessings I’ve received.  I’m grateful for my comfortable surroundings, and I’m grateful for good friends.  I’m grateful for the opportunities I have to try and be helpful to others in our community.

Most of all, I’m grateful for my family – they make the tougher times more tolerable and the good times sweeter.

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