Measuring Thankfulness

Earlier this week, I smiled to myself and thought, “This. This is what I wanted so badly.” On the couch, Turkey-Man was snuggled between hubby and me while we watched “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.” Cuddled under our blankets, I smiled more at how much he was enjoying the show rather than the actual humor I found in it.

As we lay there I started remembering what it was like trying to describe infertility loss to someone who had never experienced it. There is no face, no name, no being to the heartache. There is nothing tangible to gage it by. If a memorial was to be held, I am not sure how anyone would exactly explain the core of the grief or what should be written on the tombstone.

There is no measure to it because it is a loss of a thousand dreams. If cornered, I could pin it down to sadness over having no children to celebrate holidays with, no one to play in the sand with at the beach, no one to hold in my lap and read books to. But, even in typing those words, they terribly miss the mark in describing what I was really longing for. Although each of those are awesome moments in time, they fail to capture what motherhood really is.

The attempt to explain the loss only highlights how difficult it is to measure the thankfulness I have for the life I live. How does one explain what it is like to hear your son struggling and succeeding to read or what it is like to have an unsolicited kiss and “I love you!” from your daughter?

Even now, it is the moment by moment snapshots that help me understand what exactly it was that was missing in our life before children. When my son slips his hand in mine, something lights up in my soul. When I see the light in my children’s eyes when they accomplish something they were struggling with, my heart swells with pride. When I see them being kind, I get so excited to get to be the one to affirm that yes, Mama was watching and she is very impressed!

Motherhood is hard, way harder than I ever guessed. I assumed it would come easily since I had longed years for it, but it doesn’t. It is a day-by-day, decision-by-decision, prayer that I am doing the right things. Then, I step back from the individual tasks and look at the picture as a whole. I get to play the role of mother in the lives of these two children that God has entrusted me with. I am not sure there is a word in the English language to explain how that feels.

This weekend as we focus on what we are grateful for, I will utter the word “Family” but it really does not capture the degree to which I am thankful. Just as there are no words to explain the depth of the loss that occurs with infertility, there are none to describe that gratitude.

I know I am among the lucky ones. My infertility story eventually ended with children. Not everyone can say the same. I know the heavy price that was paid, the loss incurred that resulted in my ability to parent and it is one that I will never forget or ever stop feeling a deep sense of gratitude for. I also know just how blessed I am that this is what God willed for my life. As time goes on, that only grows as I see the moments that I longed for fulfilled. They stack together, only building with time.

I know I say it often, but I am amazed at the life I have today. Watching God at work in my life leaves me in awe. He has given me peace and hope. I have learned many valuable lessons along the way. Beyond the children I have been privileged with, I have received so much more than anything I have ever deserved.

There are days I would love to stand on the rooftop and shout all that I have seen of God working just in my life. I want everyone to know the peace, hope and joy that I have, not in the sense of wanting them to know my peace, hope and joy, but to experience it in their own lives. It is breath-taking, amazing and beautiful, more than I ever imagined. When I say this weekend that I am thankful for my family, these are the layers that I cannot explain easily. It goes beyond just the three other people I share my home with. I am grateful to God for all he has done in the creation of our family!

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