Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Rerun: Grateful Mothering

Originally published November 24, 2009


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.

2 comments:

  1. So exquisitely stated, Sarah. Me too.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Perfectly said. For all of us. I hope your Thanksgiving is wonderful, and thanks for reminding me to appreciate my blessings too!!

    ReplyDelete

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