It was a rough night with Miss Hannah. She’d nurse and fall asleep but the second her body hit the bassinet, she was instantly awake. Lather, rinse, repeat.

That’s been par for the course lately, though. So have aspects of the Terrible Twos, fighting the uphill battle of keeping a newborn from getting sick when your eldest has spiked a scary fever, cats seeming to punch into their night shifts for mayhem the second the whole house goes quiet at bedtime, and the proven fact that things will sometimes be simply out of our control in this household for awhile.

And I’ve never been more grateful in my life.

Between an overall perspective that has ripened with parenting experiences as we’ve aged, a near-constant barrage of bad, awful, and dreadful news in the world, the fact that there’s a sense of finality with this third baby, and a healthy dose of holiday season sentimentality, we’re holding on tightly to that which we find dear.

So bear with me as I share with you a list of all I’m thankful for this year, in no particular order, and in earnest. I’d love to hear what’s topping your list in the comments.

I am grateful for…

…the antique cradle, passed down from generation to generation, that my daughter refuses to sleep in for any lengthy duration of time, for at least we have options and a healthy, snuggly child who’d rather slumber warmly in my arms. This won’t always be the case.

…the constantly-full garbages. They mean we can afford newborn diapers as we mull what choice to make regarding cloth and disposables. I’m grateful, in all honesty, for less laundry as our little “eats and immediately disposes of said meal” cherub maintains a productive output. So. Many. Damn. Diapers.

…all that baby poop. On the same note, I’m actually totally fine changing what feels like 50 diapers a day. Scout’s honor. If we didn’t have these poops and pees, we wouldn’t have a healthy baby…and we know from watching friends, family, and even strangers cope with terrible infant illnesses and child loss how precious a healthy baby really is. So, by all means, bring on the poop and pee and spit-up and just anything that goes along with parenthood…because parenthood, to us, is absolutely everything.

…the endless supply of toys (since I’ll be cursing them in another month or so). The fact that our children have so many options for free play, expression, and imaginative downtime is something to embrace, for so many families around the world can’t even come close to saying the same.

…speech impediments. Because if there’s one thing we’ve learned as parents, it’s that (almost) nothing is permanent, and once Hadley’s cute little w “r”s are worked out by the speech therapist at school, yet another trait to his “little boy” side will be gone. Some phases are good, some horrible, and some a bit of both, but either way, “this, too, shall pass.” Just hold on tightly while you can.

…strawberry blonde hair. We often compare our kids subconsciously. It’s not intentional; it’s kind of to just be aware of milestones, what they have in common, and what makes them unique. There are tons of differences (and a few similarities) between Hadley and Harper. Well, while I see much of Harper’s sweetness and some of Hadley’s facial features in Hannah, her light reddish hair upon birth (“Um, is this right?!” one nurse remarked…) has reminded us not to expect cookie-cutter kids from the get-go. This one’s got ideas of her own and I can’t wait to see them unfold.

…our three cats. As annoying as they may be (infuriating at nighttime, to be honest), life would simply be less bright and meaningful without them. They’re our first children, after all.

…just the right amount of digital entertainment. Basic cable, a slew of DVDs, the only occasional Netflix, and limited tablet time for our oldest (oh, and iPhones for Mom and Dad because #sanity + #interactionwithadults) is just enough to force us to get creative and teach our kids that limited choices can be an amazing life lesson. We’ll wait and see what they think when they’re 13. Until then, pop in another Monkees episode and crank up the Pandora Christmas channel!

…the time I have to spend tending to and managing this little zoo with only a brief occasional check of my school email to ease my mind about that zoo. I am truly lucky. Truly.

…sweatpants and maternity clothes. No explanation necessary. #doihavetogetdressedfortheholidays

…the fireplace. With the touch of a button I can overheat the whole family. It wasn’t always this easy to get a roaring fire, folks! But, really, there’s nothing like twinkling clear lights on a tree with a fire and hot cocoa.

…online shopping. Because sweatpants, a sore C-section wound, and crowds don’t mix. Merry Christmas, kids!

…the friends and family who get why I’ve dropped off the face of the planet the past month or so, and those who have offered genuine help (even if I turned it down). You guys mean the world to me. Can’t wait to hang out…in, like, 5 years.

…the unabashed joy of beloved traditions (and letting go of the guilt when we don’t uphold others). Dave and I are ecstatic about some traditions (cheery Christmas music and old Christmas movies!) and others (like getting a real tree) will just have to take a rest until things are less crazy in our lives. Not that we won’t miss them, but, again…phases.

…awareness (which brings me to tears at least twice daily) of just how lucky I am to have this life: a supportive husband-slash-teammate; three gorgeous, special, healthy little humans; three partially insane, partially overweight, but so animated felines; a house that’s juuust right for our brood; families that support and help us despite our weird, quirky standards and choices… Or maybe I should be thanking my hormones for all those grateful tears….

And, finally, I’m thankful for the pie this Thanksgiving. Because life’s not really worth living if there’s not the chance of pie.

You could also replace “pie” with “hope” if you felt so inclined.

Feel free to drop a few of your “grateful for”s down below. Let’s spread the appreciation!

2 thoughts on “Grateful”

  1. Beautiful! I laughed, I cried, I empathized and sighed a big sigh knowing it all goes by way too fast! It’s so nice to feel your gratitude for ALL things, crazy and calm.
    Merry Christmas cousin!

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