Friday, November 25, 2011

The Day After Thanksgiving Post


This year, I wasn't going to write a Thanksgiving post.

Usually, Mr. C. and I pile up on the bed in the library-esque guest bedroom at his parents' house and we set a camera right in front of us and rattle out everything we're thankful for, from vintage ties (Mr. C., because he has a thing for the seventies) to contacts (me, because I am blind). But! This year, we're at my parents' house, which means that we are sleeping in their library-esque room complete with huge couches and a television that takes up a quarter of a wall and, since we're sleeping in the room with the big tv, we're never alone. Did I mention that there are three indoor dogs in the house and three children four and under, all of whom are somehow under our feet?

It's chaos. We love it.
(Let's be honest, though, we are a little tired.)

And so! We didn't make a video, but then I got to thinking: I am so grateful for so many things. I'm grateful for Maxwell's chubby thighs that turn pink when he's taking a bath. I'm grateful for the way his hair feels sticky when he wakes up from a long nap. I'm grateful for the ways his little eyes sparkle and for how much he looks like his daddy. I'm grateful that he came to us so easily, even though getting him here was harder than I ever could have imagined. I'm grateful for the way he screams when I walk out of the room and the way he clings to me for five seconds when I come back. I'm grateful for how happy he is and how friendly he is becoming. I'm grateful for the way he babbles and laughs and coos and the way his whole face lights up when he's smiling. I'm grateful for how, during Thanksgiving dinner, he had to take a nap between dinner and pie because he was so excited that he couldn't stop squirming and squealing. I'm grateful for his baby room that proudly displays books and astronauts and photographs and family heirlooms and sweet little mementos and scriptures and pictures of Jesus. I'm grateful for the absolute delight it is to be his mother and I'm grateful that, even though I won't be able to be a stay-at-home mom until Mr. C. has finished college, I have a career that lets me stay home with my babe as much as I can.

I'm grateful for words. I'm grateful that words are there when images, videos, and music fail to convey a feeling. I'm grateful for the way words slide so easily off of my mouth and my fingers and I'm grateful knowing that there are people who believe in me to write the best words I can write and say the best words I can say. I'm grateful for long conversations and quick text messages. I'm grateful for the way that words can wrap up everyone's worlds in neat little boxes waiting to explode with love, happiness, drama, sadness, and peace. I'm grateful for the words my husband and other loved ones say to me. I'm grateful for the happiness that can be brought from a single phrase. I'm grateful for the way words can create entire worlds and for the way that they can transform everything we know about life. I'm grateful that words give me a voice and I'm grateful for those who listen to the things I have to say, even when all I have to say is frivolous information or the story they've heard five times before.

I'm grateful for my husband. I'm grateful for the way he looks at me in the morning. I'm grateful for how, the other night, I fell asleep on the couch and, when I woke up, he'd taken cushions off the other couch and had made a bed underneath where I was sleeping just so he could be near me. I'm grateful that he supports me and gives me advice. I'm grateful that, even though we've had our difficult times, he's always the one to say "sorry" first and that he doesn't judge me when I take a little longer to come around and let go of whatever it is I've been holding against him. I'm grateful for the way he smells. I'm grateful for the way his hair feels when I run my fingers through it. I'm grateful that he's read all the Harry Potter books and that he doesn't make fun of me when I cry during the movies. I'm grateful that he'll listen to audiobooks with me. I'm grateful that he's smart and funny and selfless. I'm grateful for the way he lets me hug him in public, whether it be during a family dinner or in the middle of a grocery store aisle. I'm grateful for the witty texts and flirty jokes he tells me (and sends me!) countless times a day. I'm grateful that he's hardworking and kind and so faithful it makes me look bad. I'm grateful that he's mine and that he'll be mine forever. I'm grateful for the way that he plays video games with my brothers whenever we come to visit and I'm grateful for how much our niece and nephew adore him. I'm grateful for all the joy he's brought into my life since January 23rd, 2009 and I'm so, so grateful that he picked me.

I'm grateful for the Gospel. I'm grateful for the Savior and for scriptures and for the fact that I know I have a Heavenly Father who loves me and my family, even when it's difficult to feel that love. I'm grateful that I'm able to be with my family forever and that Andrew and I were able to get married in the temple. I'm grateful for my sweet little Primary class and the way the yell out answers like "Help Mom with the dishes!" and I'm grateful for modern day prophets and for the talks I hear from them every six months. I'm grateful for the truths I've found in the scriptures and in testimonies and in my own life experiences. I'm grateful for the way the Gospel brings my extended family together. I'm grateful for missionaries, especially the ones who baptized my mom when she was sixteen. I'm grateful for the Atonement and I'm grateful that I grew up somewhere where my faith was a minority. I'm grateful that, even in hard times, I can read, watch, or listen to messages like this and feel more loved, more humbled, and more motivated:

I'm grateful for art. I'm grateful for the feelings I get when I look at a painting, a photograph, or a sculpture. I'm grateful for the way that art can express feelings without any words. I'm grateful for photography and how, somehow, moving camera buttons has become such a second nature to me that I no longer think about how to make things work equipment wise, even though words like "Manual", "Shutter Speed", and "Aperture" used to scare me into itty, bitty pieces. I'm grateful for how many forms art can come in and how, when a piece of art resonates with me, it makes my toes feel tingly and my heart pound a little faster. I'm grateful for the love and community art can bring to people's lives and I'm grateful that, somehow, I've become an artist even though making money from photography always seemed like too big of a dream to swallow since there was so much to learn and, now that I'm somewhat established, it's nice to know that, even though I have a whole lot to learn, I know I can push myself to do so and that, in the end, it will be worth it no matter how hard new techniques are to master.

I'm grateful for my family. I'm grateful for my brothers and sisters. I'm grateful for Andrew's brothers. I'm grateful for my parents and I'm grateful for Andrew's parents, too. I'm grateful to have siblings who are such good examples. I'm grateful for my niece and my nephews. I'm grateful for my sister-in-laws. I'm grateful that I feel as much love for all of my in-laws (whether it be through marriage into my family or Mr. C.'s family) as I do for the family I grew up with. I'm grateful for my wonderful, wonderful mother who taught me (and still teaches me!) how to mother and how to be a better person. I'm grateful that I'm able to talk to Mama C. for a few hours every week. I'm grateful for all of the wonderful blessings that have come to me through my family and I'm grateful that, even though we have family in four different continents, Andrew and I are able to stay close to everyone through calling and texting and email and blogging and facebook. I'm grateful for all of the talents and opinions and interests and experiences that we are able to share with one another. I'm grateful that I get to see my siblings parent their children and that I get to watch my parents be grandparents to all of our children. But mostly, I'm grateful for all the love that everyone shares in our families and we are so, so excited to see our extended family grow next month when Matthew marries Elizabeth.

I'm grateful for evolution. I'm grateful for the way that nothing ever stays the same and that my life is always changing. I'm grateful that I had a magical childhood, an awkward adolescence, gutsy college years, a twitterpated honeymoon period, and that, now, I'm in a period of my life that, whenever I look back on it, I'll break into a ridiculous grin because, even though the day-to-day of our lives right now is chaos (some good, some bad), this time of life is the best I have yet to experience... and I am so grateful for it that it's downright silly.