The Twenty-Fourth Letter: Gratitude and a Full Life

letter 24

Dear Daughters,

Life has been full.

I don’t like the word “busy.” Everyone is busy. Busy is overcommitted, flustered, multitasking, doing, and going. Busy is the struggle to find time that doesn’t seem to be there.

Full is in making time.

Making time for a full life is staying in bed to cuddle with a sweaty child who arrived in the wee hours of the morning instead of rising early to write my morning pages.

A full life is playing pingpong while a preschooler circumnavigates the table. It’s cinnamon sugar cookies for a trivia night fundraiser, campfires and s’mores on Saturday night, Sunday morning bran muffins, and a Mary Kay open house.

A full life is hot black tea with milk and sugar every morning, children who take ages to finish dinner, dealing with congestion at 4 am…getting another cup of water, dosing Benadryl, falling asleep on the couch with a no-longer-lap-sized baby breathing heavily through the timer light kicking on at 5 am. It is a de-scaled humidifier, abhorring Wal-Mart but going there anyway, and eating lunch at Chick-fil-A so often the three-year-old says “my pleasure” instead of “you’re welcome.”

A full life is a child who sings “Through many dangers, toils, and snares…” as well as “The doc is in, and she’ll fix you up…,” who asks beautiful questions about Jesus being in her belly, and says spontaneously, “All of the days I love you, Mom.” A full life is a baby who shrieks “Yay!” when I tell her that Daddy is on the way home, who “counts” for Hide-and-Seek like this: “Nine…Nine…Nine…Nine…”

A full life is leading a women’s Bible study, meat-heavy Wednesday night dinners at church though we’re primarily vegetarian at home, looking forward to Advent, gifting spray-painted mason jars.

A full life is a preschooler who says her mom’s job is “artist.”

A full life is a 12-week Artists Way class winding down, writing an Advent devotional, a poem about cardamom, getting inspired at the Peddlers Mall.

A full life is signing up to bring Crockpot macaroni and cheese to the preschool Thanksgiving feast, a child who remembers her Sunday school lesson about the Ten Commandments, who out of the blue said “Saul was good at being good” (quoting her children’s Bible), who continues to think that Goliath is the best Bible story, who can write her name and spell her sister’s name.

A full life is taking the time to go to the library, to spell out words and practice letters, to collect leaves until every window and arch is covered with construction paper leaf flags. A full life is a monthly reading group at Panera, buying fundraiser items from the neighbor kids, loving on Lulu-the-Cat, our neighbors’ pet who lives in our yard and prefers our porch to hers. A full life is scarves and gloves and snotty noses outside but going outside anyway. A full life is too dark at 6 pm to go running on uneven sidewalks covered with leaves.

A full life is the large tupperware on the toddler’s head, a homemade grape costume and comments about Fruit of the Loom, and a list of gratitude for November.

A full life is being grateful for the simple things that make up a full life.

A full life is a grateful life, girls.

A full life is gratitude.

A full life is grace.

Love,

Your Momma

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