What am I thankful for this Thanksgiving? That my kids are breathing. That my unique, imperfect, delightful and sometimes challenging children are on this planet. That my kids are the rosy-cheeked, giggly little people they are who argue with each other, defy me now and then, make a lot of noise and messes and sometimes do things so completely out of character that they make me wonder whose kids they are. I am just simply thankful they are my kids. That’s what honestly comes to mind this year when I hear that question.
If you’ve followed my recent blogs, you know that a dear friend of mine lost a child since we last sat down for turkey and stuffing. A moment in the wake of that devastating loss has stuck with me like no other piece of parenting advice that I have ever received. Immediately following the funeral for a beautiful 12-year-old girl, her family and friends sat together at the dinner table she used to grace with her presence to swap stories, laugh, cry and just be together. During that meal, my kids began bickering with one another (more specifically, my son was antagonizing his older sister) and I very bluntly said, “Stop guys – no one wants to hear you arguing right now.” My grieving friend’s retort quite literally changed my life forever.
“I’d give anything to hear my girls argue one more time… be grateful they’re both here to argue.”
Bang. Straight through the heart – a shot that rocked me to my core. Her words penetrated like none that anyone has ever uttered before or since. In that moment, I realized that to truly delight in my kids, and to genuinely accept and love them unconditionally, meant to love them most when they’re at their worst. I realized that, regardless of their behaviour, I need to rejoice in the mere fact that my kids exist in my life and are with me – to hug, hold, laugh, play, sing, read and just sit and do nothing with. I need to be grateful. I am, beyond words, thankful for my amazingly, spectacularly ordinary kids.
For any of you who have lost a child, my heart is with you. I wish you strength and hope that you might do as my friends have done and reach out to the supports available to you in your community, and find some peace and comfort in the loving arms of your family and friends.
Happy Thanksgiving to all. Enjoy each other.
So – what are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? There are a number of ways to share:
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For parenting information or to speak with a public health nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.
About this blogger:
Paula D’Orazio RN is a public health nurse with the Early Years Health Program at the Halton Region Health Department. Wanna know more about her? Read her blogs! She’ll tell ya! (She kinda likes to talk.)