The past few months have been stressful for our family. Julie is a stay-at-home mom working part time while finishing up her master’s degree. The side effect is my promotion to primary bread winner and my monthly paycheck is stretched razor thin by the end of the month. My stress, coupled with my OCD, seems to amplify the messes and noise our kids are able to produce at an alarming rate, which usually leads to unhappy kids which exacerbates parental stress. It’s one of those vicious cycles people talk about.
Some days end with my head in my hands worried about how we’re going to pay the bills and put the next meal on the table and how these crazy kids are going to turn out as adults and how the hell are we going to pay for college and our oldest daughter needs gas money and oh no Meagan will turn 15 next year and she will want a car and then Jordan is right behind her there is no way this can work no way no way.
Yes, there is a way.
Days like that cast a cloud that overshadows everything I am thankful for, and I really do have so many reasons to give thanks. What better time for reflection than Thanksgiving Eve?
First, I am so thankful for a supportive wife. We grew up together, then lost touch with each other and spent nearly 15 years apart. Finding her again was one of the greatest gifts I’ve been blessed to receive. We have our moments of disagreement and flashes of impatience as couples do, but we always come back together. (I love you Julie).
I am thankful for my kids. Despite their broken volume knobs and the trail of debris they leave behind as they sprint through the house (always running, never walking), the kids are awesome. Jordan, Meagan, and Katheryn are so smart, scary smart, and will excel at anything they dream of if they can only focus their boundless energy. I am thankful for Zack, my oldest “kid” who isn’t a kid any more. Now a fully-grown man who struck out on his own after Christmas 2008, he will always be my son and my life is better because of him. Our extended family is another blessing. We are all so different, but those differences complement each other. If we were all the same life would be boring, and life certainly isn’t boring.
As much as I whine and stress about our income, tight budget, and all the associated first world problems, we are living the good life. We live in a great house zoned for awesome schools. There is food in the fridge, high-speed Internet access on the network, and an iPhone in everyone’s pocket. Sometimes we don’t eat exactly what we want, but we aren’t missing any meals either. Life is good! I could write all day about what annoys me or all the reasons I have to give thanks. My family isn’t perfect–not by a long shot–but whose is? I love my family with all of its dents, dings, and scratches. In the end, those imperfections are what make life memorable and worth living. For that, I am thankful.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone.