I am standing at the kitchen counter, chopping vegetables for fried rice when it hits me: I have much to be thankful for. At the time of my realization, it is day 4 of snow days and I have just received word that Snow Day #5 is on the immediate horizon. As I am struck by how much I have to be thankful for, B and K are sitting at the kitchen counter making clay hearts to give as valentines to their classmates. I think to myself, "This moment alone was worth the hassle of having the kitchen renovated." But this moment is just one of many to be thankful for this week.
I think back to last year's string of snow days. For that set of days, I was trapped on the sofa, recovering from surgery, doing my best to take care of myself and three housebound girls. I couldn't play in the snow with them. I couldn't go for walks with them. We couldn't go sledding or build snowmen. Yet we managed. J bought valentine's supplies and the girls sat on the floor of the living room making dozens of cards with foam hearts, glittering hearts, hand-drawn hearts while I looked on from the sofa. A friend took my girls overnight when snow day #3 was announced, giving me time to rest and recuperate and giving the girls someone to play with. We managed, yes, but I can't say it was delightful. So I am thankful for my health this year: for the ability to crunch up and down the street in the newly fallen snow, to stand and chat while they sled down a hill, to be up and about, keeping up with A, B and K.
I think about friends who are going stir crazy at home with their toddlers, women who had looked forward to the return of parents day out so that they could grocery shop alone for the first time in weeks. And I have much to be thankful for. Toddlerhood was hard for me. I love that my girls are older now and I can leave A & B at home for short excursions or go upstairs to the treadmill while they are watching a movie. I don't feel constantly overwhelmed, even when they are with me non-stop for days on end. I actually enjoy them. I've enjoyed seeing how they entertain themselves, how they choose to spend their time when given a free day.
They have done much with their time this week. They - and we - have, in part:
watched movies and created a game based on the movieThis has not been a perfect week. Nearly every day, I have had to surrender my own agenda for the day, the week, the month and be more flexible, more gracious with myself and others, more willing to go where the day takes me. My house is not clean. My laundry is not done. We are all - homeschooled or public schooled - a week behind in lessons.
played on the Wii
made clay hearts
started a painting that was stalled when I realized we needed gesso
played the piano
danced around the house
created imaginary worlds populated by Littlest Pet Shop, Zhu Zhus and Zoobles
eaten pancakes for breakfast
had weekday lunch with J
visited the library and stayed there to read before heading home
turned left-over pancakes into cinnamon toast for another breakfast
watched Live to Dance together
played Yahtzee together
done a probability experiment
stayed up late
slept in late
painted, cut, glued
gone for walks
hung out with neighbors
enjoyed each other
I realized last night that part of what has been difficult is the not knowing. Had I known Sunday evening - or even Monday - that we would have no school all week, I could have formulated a plan. I could have made a quick trip to Michael's, researched and requested some books, set my children's expectations. Instead, we have all had to learn to take what comes our way. By Wednesday, my girls were disappointed to hear there would not be school the next day. On Thursday, we calculated the probability that they would be in school today. There have been lessons for all of us in this.
But for me, I am left with this: I have much to be thankful for. I like my children. They (mostly) enjoy each other and me. They are creative, imaginative, silly, funny girls. And I am growing as a mom. Would I have preferred to have school this week? Yes, in large part so that we could begin to settle into some kind of 2011 routine. But even more than routine, I want to learn to embrace what comes my way. I suppose this is part of my unfurling. Instead of being so bound to my own ideas and plans, I am more able to let the wind take me... and enjoy the ride while it lasts.
I have much to be thankful for.