Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Grateful Mothering

In honor of Thanksgiving, I'm doing a small series on Gratitude. (Part 1 is here.) I'm thankful for so many blessings in life, many of which get overlooked on a daily -- hourly -- basis. In hopes that I'll remember to be more in touch with gratitude in tiny ways each day, I am turning my blessings loose to the internets. May you, also, find gratitude in the minutiae of life this Thanksgiving season.


Being a mother has been one of the most gratitude-fraught experiences of my life thus far. Yes, 'fraught'; sometimes the thankfulness is so deep and broad that it sucks everything else into its sphere. Sometimes the simple fact of my own motherhood terrifies me and forces me into places I'd never dreamed of before. But there is grace in that terror, as well. For without my children, I fear I'd be missing out on learning true gratitude.

I've experienced grace in the willingness of my body to support life. The process of assisting in the creation of a new soul is pure magic and adventure, filling my own old, cynical soul with wonder and gratitude. I am grateful that I've had the chance to be filled with such innocent and untouched life, feeling the tumbles and stretches, the kicks and prods, from the inside out. Perhaps the most shockingly grace-filled moments were when I first laid eyes on my children; learning their faces only to watch them change instantly.

Being able to provide every ounce of nourishment for them from within myself is something for which I will forever be thankful. It amazes me -- AMAZES ME --that everything they needed as infants was available within my hopeful embrace...sustaining them, sustaining me. I can't even express the joy that came with snuggling a warm, round body against my own and knowing that she was benefiting even more than I was. I am thankful for the helpful guidance I received while learning the art of breastfeeding. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to stay at home with them -- not having to worry about pumping enough milk or weaning to bottles before I was ready. Which turned out to be never, so, I am also thankful that the cost and time-consuming qualities of bottle feeding weren't ever a necessity.

As these girls have grown, I have been filled with gratitude at their wonderfully different personalities. Two unique individuals, two people with whom I can relate differently, two ways to experience gratitude in innumerable moments every day. Two separately beautiful, yet stunningly unified ways to teach me grace and humility at each new experience.

But those things are all based upon my experiences; the truly gratitude-worthy items are centered around the experiences of my daughters. It is wonderful to realize that I am thankful for their benefit.

I am thankful for the chances they have in life, for the unfolding stories in which they are unknowingly participating. I am thankful for the family surrounding them: grandparents, aunts & uncles, cousins, church friends, and friends for life. All of these people are ensuring that my children will never know loneliness or uncertainty in being cared for. I am so grateful that my children will always be loved and wanted.

I am grateful for the simple things they have access to, which so many children do not: warm beds, warm clothing, warm food, warm arms.

My gratitude turns into hope for their futures. I hope they know how much they are loved and appreciated. I hope they trust in their dreams. I hope they trust in God. I hope they find endless ways to practice gratitude in their growing-up lives.

And I hope I will never fail to be aware of all the ways that these children bless me -- fill me with gratitude -- with their very existence.

6 comments:

  1. "I am thankful for the chances they have in life, for the unfolding stories in which they are unknowingly participating." Love this, Sarah! What a great view of the big picture!

    You captured very well the blessings and thankfulness so many of us feel for the gift of parenthood. This is a post your girls will cherish someday.

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  2. Oh what a beautiful post. Thank you.

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  3. You have written a beautiful post on the blessings of being entrusted with children. As mom to five and now Nana to 4, I share your sense of awe and respect for God's amazing grace in giving us these precious babies. Thank you for sharing. (I'm not a random blog lurker. I am udubalum's mother in law.)

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  4. I always love reading about the joy you find in motherhood and this is an especially beautiful post. You really are an inspiration!

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  5. I so needed to read this today...It's just one of those days that I need a little reminder of all the wonderful parts of motherhood. I found out today that we may be having twins...needless to say I am SCARED out of my mind!!! What will I do with FIVE KIDS?! I'll find out for sure in a few weeks when I get my ultrasound. But even if it is two, I will get to enjoy twice the amount of good things, which far outnumbers the bad things...Thanks for reminding my of that!

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  6. Cortney - HOLY MOLY!! That said, you'd do the same thing with 5 kids that you do with 3 -- play, cook, clean, laugh, read, enjoy each other. Just more so :) Keep me updated, lady. I can't wait to see what happens next!!

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Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?