How can I wrap being thankful up with a touch of forgiveness and living in the present all in one blog post? That’s a tall order for any closet writer but that’s what I’m feeling right now.
Yesterday was a great day! It started with making progress and ended with dinner at the diner. We got the pool base down, the oven dissected (neither finished but we’re glad we got started), ran into a crabby old woman who lashed out at my family, and got an email from someone who asked a tough question about the future… All stuff that could drag a girl down if she let it… I didn’t!
Tis true, our oven is broken… the only appliance in our house NOT covered by a Sears warranty. (In my house, we call that kind of luck, Marshall Law. Similar to Murphy’s but using my maiden name since it always rains when I camp…. literally and metaphorically. I still camp.) If something’s gonna give it’ll be the thing not under warranty or the week after I accidentally let the extended warranty expire. Personally, I’m glad it was the oven! I’m not all that fond of cooking anyway. But, Sarge got the part and spent the day with his head in the oven — with good intentions of fixing it/not ending it… and reminding me of my Dad (who always had his head stuck in something broken), in a good way. And, though the oven’s not fixed (yet), he now knows what is and isn’t working, and he knows what didn’t work. So that’s progress.
Tis also true, a crabby, creepy, mean-spirited, sorry-I’m-still-alive old woman cussed us under her breath at the diner yesterday. SHE CHOSE to hold the door open for my three excited-to-be-at-the-diner children while the Sarge and I brought up the rear. I know at least one of my children — the Old Soul — if not all of them, as well as the Sarge and I all thanked her sincerely. The Boys may or may not have done so… I wasn’t there; as I said, I was in the rear of the pack. Honestly, they’re really good about thanking people for every little thing. But, even if they did… she probably wouldn’t have understood them given their lingering articulation challenges. Nor would she likely have understood the sign language they still use in conjunction with saying thank you (fingers to chin then down, in a salute kind of movement). She apparently hadn’t signed on (pun intended) for holding the door for even the five seconds it took me to relieve her — or, perhaps, at all. Or, maybe My Boys scooched under her arm and she’d had no choice. Or, perhaps she hit her capacity for good-deed-doing for the day. After five minutes of brooding about it, I’d relinquished it to her problem and dropped it… disappointed that I let her steal even five minutes of my joy!
And, as they say on iCarly, “true chiz,” I got an email from someone who asked how The Boys were doing in school and what I thought their academic future would look like. She asked because she has two tiny-little baby girl identical twins with Down syndrome and she was looking for a glimpse of what she hoped would be her positive future. And I am positive her future will be brighter than she could ever imagine! Thankfully, I could answer honestly that, although The Boys are academically delayed, we had a great year and made significant progress. They are learning to read, write and count; making great academic progress this year (as opposed to last) as we learned more about the way they learn and how best to teach them. We are very excited about next year in first grade at their new school where they’ll be in a general education class together with their typically-developing peers, co-taught by a general ed and special ed teacher (responsible for the 5-7 kids in the class who have special needs) at our neighborhood elementary school with their big sister and all of their friends.
So, what does the future hold? Who the heck knows? Will they go to Harvard like the Neo-natologist who attended them at birth in the NICU predicted? Hmmmm, you know, I can imagine that’s possible if they implement an inclusive program for students with special needs at that ivy-strewn institution! Don’t scowl or laugh! Why couldn’t that happen in the future? Given the amazing medical, technological and social progress the world has made in the past, a person — namely, ME — can imagine that anything is possible in the future. Cures and/or remedies for whatever ails us. Acceptance and inclusion for all. It is exactly the imagining of what could be that got us all where we are today! (And, I mean that in a good, progressive way.)
Yes, it’s true! I am oh so grateful for the life I am living and all the good stuff that’s been coming our way recently. Making even tiny-little bits of progress toward whatever goals we have has a way of hitting the gratitude sweet spot like nothing else. No, my life is not without its bumps and bruises and wishes that things were just slightly different — like me losing 50 lbs, or “finishing” the house, or having a $1,000,000 rainy day fund… none of which is happening tomorrow or even next week, but we’re still making progress toward each goal.
What I’m saying is that, in so many amazing ways, my life is much less stressful than it has been at various points in the not-so-distant past. I know some people are nodding in acknowledgement right now while some are scoffing and others who know me are thinkin’ “that’s just Maggie. She always thinks like that.” True. But it reminds me of the exchange I have with the Sarge every year on May 28th in one of those rare opportunities (’cause life moves at breakneck speed around these parts) that we specifically seize to reflect on our [this year, 12] years of marriage together. Every single year, Sarge says with the most endearing optimism, “I think we’ve gotten through the hardest part now, Mag.”
Gotta love a guy with hope! LOL
And, I’m SO with him on this sentiment. Yes, there are tough times ahead, but, from our current vantage point, the sea looks calm(er) ahead, and we both know we’ve survived some truly rough spots in our following sea. The term “near misses” comes to mind… but misses they were and shall remain evermore in our optimistic minds!
Yes, I’m more than a glass-is-half-full kind of gal. My cup runneth over! Even as I spool yards of paper towels across the room to sop up the you-know-what off the new-to-us Craigslist couch, I can appreciate the abundance of laughter that defines who we are as a family and who I am as a person and a wife and a mother. (Note: I recognize this all may be a coping mechanism but it is TOTALLY working for me).
I was once talking to a woman who was referred to me for a reality check as she’d just given birth to a child with Down syndrome. As I spoke of the real joy and amazement I feel daily, just being in the presence of these amazing children God gifted me (my yelling and their fighting aside) she asked, “do you really believe all this cr*p or are you just saying it for my sake?” I’m not sure anything I could have said at the time would have changed her mind about her plight like her little boy with Down syndrome eventually did!
I swear to you as I did to her that day, I really do believe all this cr*p! I don’t think I could have defined “joy” nor explained how that emotion could possibly fit more comfortably into my life than it does now. It’s literally jam-packed into my life today. Sarge and I belly LAUGH every day at the humor, beauty and antics of our children. I’m not sure exactly how to define joy but it feels like that scene where the Grinch is poised at the top of the cliff, about to shove all of Whoville’s Christmas presents into the abyss, when he hears them singing despite being robbed of their Christmas-morning material wealth. As we look through the magnifying glass, we see his once miniscule heart grow exponentially and pop through the confines of the screen. THAT’S joy, I think. THAT amazing, all-encompassing feeling of the love in your heart overflowing your body like a bursting dam. Folks, I’m telling the truth. I feel it every day… all because of these amazing children who never let us forget what it means to love and be loved.
Scene: Yesterday, at the diner:
Big Little Man: “Daddy, love me?”
Sarge: “I do, buddy!”
Big Little Man: [processing pause] “Love you!” [and he scrunched in under Daddy’s arm, smiling a peaceful, happy smile with his eyes closed, I think to savor the moment for himself!]
As I looked on with a HUGE, mama-smile, the Big Little Man says with his hand up, “No, stop Mommy!” This is his moment with Daddy… it’s not my turn right now. But I know it will be in another three minutes… two… one…
“Mommy, Love me?”
I can feel my heart growing as I type!