Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Short, mostly unedited: Gratitude

This morning at my children's school, the wind suddenly picked up, rushing toward me...well, like a movie moment.

I lifted my face and watched the trees, and I was suddenly very grateful. It never fails that a strong wind reminds me of the presence of God the Holy Spirit. And so I thought, Thank you Father for my life, for my health, for Matthew my husband, and Berto, Analisa, Gabriella and Daniel Samuel our children...even though I am having trouble being happy right now, I am still so very grateful...

Thank you for everything. Please keep doing what you're doing. And help me be happy.

When I reflect a bit, I am awed by the fact that I get to know my children - four beautiful, kind, talented, intelligent children. Maybe I'm amazed, in the words of Paul McCartney. I hear their praises often. I'm not surprised by the admiration they receive, even though they behave better for others usually, but I am struck by the great gift of having had a part in bringing them into this world, a not unsubstantial part. Nevertheless, when people stop me to tell their impressions of my children, I want to say simply, it's God. I try, but he made them what they are. I have a part in it, but I would not do it nearly so well devoid of his grace and guidance or lacking the courage to keep going and working at motherhood even when I think I am not doing it well at all, that I'll never learn how to be a truly great, on-task mother.

I want to complain about the incessant work of a larger family sometimes. I want to ask my husband and children if they realize what I do, if they notice, if the kids will ever listen about putting things back where they belong instead of leaving them littered about our home. If they're thankful. I want to cry, Look at me! I'm doing a lot for you here! But I also want to shut my mouth, to not say it, to not demand the recognition. Shouldn't I appreciate what others do, too? Anyway, when it is demanded, it is always given grudgingly, and these tasks are my job, even when they spread into the evening hours as they perpetually do.

So, thank God for my vigor, that I can do every day what needs to be done. I am very grateful.

And there are great little things that bring me joy right now. For instance, the smell my tomato plant's leaves leave on my hands after I have pulled them between my fingers. They started as a mushy tomato on my counter, a tiny vine curled in its heart. I sliced it open and submerged it and its juices in my rose planter. And now, look, it has grown so tall in a few weeks!

Similarly, I took a moldy, sprouting sweet potato several weeks ago and buried the whole thing in an empty planter. It grew wildly within a few days, so much so that we wondered if it would take over our house, climbing up the stucco columns to eventually smother the whole structure.

I have trimmed it since, but its vines seem to prefer to trail the earth anyway.

These plants, as well as my red roses, make me happy, simple pleasures, because I seem fated to kill green things. Yet here I am succeeding, and I love to stroke my living greenery, grateful that I have made things grow through my care.

My own life has grown tremendously through my efforts and with the presence and love of others since I became a wife and mother. It's growing still, swelling with blessings and experiences and lessons learned after countless mistakes and a few frightening, startling intervals. I cannot fail to be grateful for it.

Sometimes I just need a little reminder, like feeling a refreshing wind pick up on a cool September morning.


  1. Before I die, I intend to live, once again, where I can have a garden.

    1. You have a great knack for it. I wish I did, but just look at what's surviving! And that's not even counting the succulents on my back windowsill.


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