Friday, November 28, 2008

Exhausting Thanks

"I am thankful for family and friends. I am thankful for my blessings. I am thankful for..."

I feel like I may be the only one who is so exhausted from the self-examination that seems requisite for this holiday. I recognize FULLY how blessed I am. At the risk of becoming one of the masses, listing out my blessings, I will go ahead and share what I consider the blessings that are closest to my heart:
1. I am married to a wonderful guy. He's not perfect but, after talking to many friends and reading many blogs, I realize that he is better than a lot of the ones out there.
2. We carry no debt except for our house. We are blessed to have retirement savings in the bank. I am so fortunate that my spouse and I have matching expectations and goals when it comes to finances. I count myself lucky that he supports me and encourages me to stay home with our children full time, even though it means a lot of sacrifice.
3. I still have both of my parents and both of my parents-in-law. My children still have 4 grandparents and one great-grandparent.
4. Rather than this year being financially hard for us, we have actually been blessed. My husband took a new job that increased his pay (quite a bit) and improved his benefits. Plus, it is a very stable job and does not have a risk of being downsized.

Now, that said, I have to say how hard it was for me to make it through this day. On one hand, I know how blessed I am. On the other bigger more dominant hand, I feel like the Israelites in the desert, knowing I'm protected by God but saying, "Are ya kidding? This is it? Because your provision? It kinda sucks." (As I'm typing, I'm waiting to be struck down dead momentarily). I enjoyed making the Thanksgiving meal, but I could not stop focusing on all the crap going on, especially since last year.
1. We moved hundreds of miles away from family and friends (losing and/or straining many relationships).
2. My faith life is suffering.
3. We used up all our savings (except for IRA's) to buy our house.
4. My husband's car is beginning to really break down and mine isn't far behind.
5. Health for the Texan Family in 2008 - not exactly the best year for us: Lyme disease, miscarriage, migraine headaches(3), stomach flu(6), ear infections, molloscum, root canal, cavities(4), allergies(2), plantar warts(2), bladder infections(2), and dry skin. The numbers in parentheses means the number of people in the family who've had that problem.
6. Linus is still wetting the bed at night.
7. Our furniture is all second-hand, or outdated, or mis-matched.

I know it is just easier to complain and say, "My life sucks" than it is to force yourself to put a smile on your face and say, "Today isn't so bad! Let me see... I have lots of great things in my life!" While it IS true that I have many great things in my life, I wish I were at a place where the great things are what I am constantly reminded of and the bad things are what I have to really think about to recall, instead of the other way around.

Being upbeat? And smiling? And pretending that you LOVE to hold the baby for 50 minutes of every hour? And insisting that doing chores satisfies you? It is all so exhausting. Completely, utterly, exhausting.

Have you ever realized how hard it is to be fun, when having fun is just too much trouble? For example, I could play cards with my kids, but then a fight ensues about the rules and the baby swipes all the cards off the table and ruins the game (or whines until I pick her up and walk around the house with her). Or, we could all take a walk. But then I have to find a coat for each child because they swear they can't locate one for themselves. And I become the shoe AND sock police. And, NO you aren't riding your bike because we are all walking together and we are going to have a nice conversation, DAMNIT. Or, we could do just about any activity in the whole world, except that the counter isn't going to get germ-free by itself. Those dishes aren't going to jump into the dishwasher on their own. The floor isn't going to de-stickify itself. Someone - the someone named "Mommy" - needs to do those chores. And, after the kids go to bed she usually has 5 other chores to do, 3 of which won't get done again. So, no, she can't save all those extra chores up till later.

So, you all maybe were wondering if any Thanksgiving pessimists lived out here on the fringe. I'm not exactly on the fringe of society, but I guess I'm in the minority today.


jori-o said...

Amen sister! It is hard to focus on the blessings when the wants/needs are staring us down from an inch away! And oh, what trouble it is to have "fun" with a gaggle of kids...

♥ Becky ♥ said...

I totally know how you feel. And like you I try and focus on the good things we have in our family. But those "other" things seem to always out weigh everything else. With all the struggles that I have been going through lately having fun isn't always the easiest thing. :-)

Lisa@verybusymomwith4 said...

"I wish I were at a place where the great things are what I am constantly reminded of"

I think EVERYONE even Bill Gates and the Pope dream of this place. We just have to keep trucking through. Things we don't like will happen. Someone will always appear to have it better.

We just have to make the daily, hourly, minute choice to be positive and look at the bright side. And that can be very hard to do!

Happy Thanksgiving!

stephanie (bad mom) said...

I can't begin to imagine what life would be like with twice the number of children I have now -except when I teach, and some days I count the minutes through gritted teeth, so maybe that's what your life is like? :)

I pray for peace in your world. And many days off for good behavior...