I'm grateful my children demand I talk to them when I don't feel like talking, feed them when I'm not hungry, and change their diapers even when I'm all dressed up and ready to go somewhere special. I don't think I'd discover the world outside my own needs without them. I'm grateful my children haven't learned how to hold back their tears when they're sad, laughter when they're happy, or screams when they're frightened. They constantly remind me that emotions are for sharing. I'm grateful my children have broken nearly everything in my home and used a crayon or ink marker on the rest. They've taught me that things aren't important, but people are. I'm grateful my children start out small and helpless so they don't become aware of my incompetence until they're teenagers. By then, we've both grown so accustomed to each other, we somehow manage to make it through the rest of life together. I'm grateful my children get their pants dirty, pick their noses, burp without saying "excuse me," and quarrel in public so I'll never be able to get too arrogant, proper, or judgmental of other people's children. I'm grateful my children sometimes call me names like "weird" because sometimes I am "weird," and it helps keep a person humble to be told they're "weird" when they're acting weird. I'm grateful my children occasionally miss the bus at the precise moment I've stepped out of the shower, contemplating the well-planned, organized day ahead of me. Experiences like jumping into the car after throwing on whatever's handy and racing to school have a tendency to loosen rigid plans into something better known as spontaneity. I'm grateful my children always need new shoes, piano books, prescriptions, haircuts, fieldtrip money, tuition, food, toothpaste, and underwear. That way, I don't have to waste my time thinking about a new sofa. It's difficult to get wealthy and think about luxuries when you have to buy toilet paper and milk by the truckload each week. I'm grateful my children know how to play. My five-year-old asked me to come downstairs so he could "teach me how to play" with his plastic animals. While Jacob demonstrated the subtle techniques for sinking a rhinoceros into couch cushions while pretending it was quicksand, I realized my young son was right. I really do need someone to "teach me how to play." I'm grateful my children question my every command and giggle when I get angry. It's difficult to feel too powerful or self-righteous with kids around to remind you of how funny you look when you're pointing your finger. I'm grateful my children insist I hug, kiss, rock, or put my arms around them often. Otherwise, I think I'd forget how the sense of touch is so healing. I'm grateful each of my children is unique when the same strange, inexperienced mother raised them. Somehow they don't seem to let me ruin them much. And lastly, I'm grateful for the gift of children in my life. God willing, I'd like to fill the rest of my days with those interesting people who call me Mom (yes, and sometimes "weird") but eventually "weird grandma." ****** From Families Who Laugh . . . Last by Janene Wolsey Baadsgaard.
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