gratitude: a girl + 3 boys
There will never be a list of thankfulness that doesn’t include this girl and these three boys. They are my heart and my soul and my joy and my treasure. Though I remember life before them, I can honestly say there was no true happiness to speak of. But since they became part of my life, every day has been filled with thoughts of them and prayers for them and mindfulness of how our lives affect each other. And the coolest thing of all is how individual our relationships are. I am aunt to every one, but we all interact in completely different ways. With the Kiwi girl it is about dreams and encouragement and reminders of how God works in every tiny little thing that occurs in life. It is also about the 80s. Kiwi is obsessed with the 80s and tends to know more music than even I, who lived through the 80s. Obsession, in fact, just might be one of our greatest shared traits; it helps us understand each other and makes for good times.
With her cousin K2 the conversations center around shared interests in baseball and the Yankees, in pop culture and the crazy things that happen in life. We find lots of laughter in mundane things, and we have such a laid-back relationship that nothing at all has to be planned when we hang out together. We can just “be.” This is not the case with his brother, however, the youngest of the kids. Dyl Pickle is high maintenance, high energy, high on life and extremely sensitive to all that goes on around him. And he wants to be involved… all the time, with everything and everyone. There is no relaxation with D around, not for me, anyway. He wants activity. He wants conversation. He wants constant attention, and I resolved early on to give him that. The Pickle is unique in very specific ways and requires a different kind of finesse than his three elders. But the reward for all that effort is priceless. Joy emanates from Dyl. And it lights the room.
Then there’s the W. Actually, I suppose it’s more apt to say “Dubya.” He’s country, through and through. Football, hunting, puppies, and friends. And a passion for Star Wars and Legos beyond any I’ve ever seen. Star Wars was our first shared connection, a long time coming, so that is usually his starting point with me. But as he matures we find other small interests that sync up. Dubya and I are still finding our footing, still searching for that intense connection (mostly due to lack of time together since we live in different towns and he’s not yet online like his sister), but the fact that we are still developing our relationship is actually half the fun. It means we’re open to discovering new things together. And of all the kids, W is the one most like me in his desire for knowledge and his penchant for obsessions. That’s going to serve us well in the years ahead as we develop a deeper bond through experiences.
In this life I’m most grateful for these four. They keep me balanced and they make me whole. Parents always say how surprised they are that children can make such a difference in them, and I can see how that is true. What’s especially awesome to me is that I don’t feel any void at all in not being a “parent” myself. I’m privileged to be part of the village that’s walking these children through life. They feel like my own, too. And that’s the greatest gift I’ve been given.