Being Grateful for our Children

When we focus on being grateful for what we have instead of longing for what we don’t have, what we have will always be enough. I remember a time in my life when I had to learn this lesson the hard way.

One evening after we moved into our first new home, my husband seeded our front yard dirt with grass seed. The next morning, he told me it was important to keep the dirt wet or the grass seeds wouldn’t sprout. Then he kissed me on the cheek and left for work. Since it was the middle of July, this assignment was a full-time job. On top of that, I was pregnant and had two baby daughters to care for.

I stood on the front porch, feeling lightheaded and nauseated, squirting the dirt while my one-and two-year-old daughters tumbled down the steps, threw their shoes in the ditch and stuffed rocks up their noses. After days and days of constant watering, our front yard grew the biggest, greenest weeds in the neighborhood.

“This if my life,” I remember mumbling as I sprayed the dirt. “I water weeds. I feed one end of my girls and clean up the other.  Nothing I do really matters.”

A few days later, I had serious complications with my pregnancy and late one night began hemorrhaging. My husband quickly raced me to the emergency room of the nearest hospital. After the doctor arrived and slowed the bleeding, he told us our baby was dead. It broke my heart to leave the hospital that night with empty arms. When we arrived home, I found our two baby daughters asleep on our bed. Now, I’d always loved my daughters, but never quite like I did at that night.

"Thank you God," I thought with new awareness. "They are alive. It is such a miracle to have a child who is alive."

Several days later when I went out to check on our front lawn of weeds, I found something I’ll never forget. If I got down on my hands and knees and took out a magnifying glass, I could see tiny blades of grass so small they looked like green sewing thread. All my watering and weeding was starting to pay off.

I understood I needed faith and patience during the growing season. It occurred to me that all the work involved in caring for a young family was like our newly seeded lawn – a lot of labor and weeds at first. You can’t see the roots setting deep in the rich soil of parental love. Then when the tender seedlings begin to grow, they have the means to sustain them through times of drought and frost.

I also realized if I didn’t stop and notice the miracles of my everyday life, I would miss the joy in the journey. In time, my children, like the lawn, would not require my constant care - the fleeting moments of childhood will have passed.