We are in the dog days of summer here, and that means little writing time. Little reading time. Lots of hands-on parenting time. Which I wish with all my heart meant that we were vacationing and crafting and swimming daily and all the the lazy things summer brings, but what it really means is that we are fighting and working on loving one another better and cleaning and stressing and counting down the days until school starts.
Baseball is over for the year as of about 6 pm this evening. I am simultaneously sad and relieved. We don’t do fall ball here, so it’s a big break until basketball starts. The girls still have therapy, piano, and dance, so it’s not like our schedule is completely free. The oldest is leaving for his very first overnight camp week in the morning, and while I am a little heartbroken over the thought of my constantly-growing (1.5 shoe sizes since APRIL!!), voice-deepening almost-teenager leaving for a week, I am excited for him to have this experience. I can’t lie, I’m also excited for a little more peace on the homefront since tensions have been high betwixt the oldest and youngest boys of late.
In the meantime, we are navigating treacherous foster care waters (more on that later), some of the biggest life and career decisions we’ve ever faced, financial restrictions, and just the general stress of long, long travel weekends topped with sick kids topped with court topped with two very long baseball tournament days – one rainy and cold, the other in sweltering heat. My body is confused, exhausted, and sunburnt.
And for all of this time, I’m still counting gifts. We are going through this study with my mama-friends’ group, and I am inspired by their newness to this practice as well as convicted to start listing things out again. There is so much power in giving things a name, and while counting gifts is a spiritual practice that I never completely forsook, the specificity of writing each one down has breathed new life for me.
With that, I’m counting to 1000 again….
20. pretty dancing brown arms
21. women to process life with
22. sparkling pool water
23. smell of the leather ipad cover
24. seeing that book I cherish in others’ hands
25. hearing those words change them too
26. catching a glimpse of a friend’s notebook beginning to fill with gifts of her own
27. “my best friend Ester” who “sat with me and stood by me and held my hand”
28. birthday smiles
29. confidence in a large crowd for my cautious boy
30. seeing my lonely-no-more children with a rightful place at the table
31. horses and buggies
32. unsolicited apologies to a stranger
33. watching my son pitch ‘under the lights’
34. tournament wins
35. front porch mornings
36. kindred spirits
37. family treasures
38. how my kids love their Uncle Ken
39. morning breeze and sunshine through the clouds
40. Here I raise my Ebenezer
41. mid-morning dance-offs, a reset for the day
42. two boys in a backyard tent
43. sister slumber parties
44. miraculous court dates
45. peace for the words to speak under oath on the stand
46. quick resolutions
47. texts from friends who understand my emotions
48. the best of sisters-in-law
49. get-well cards from nieces
50. 2nd place finishes, even amongst tears from young men who are still little boys
51. truth telling from our habitual liar
52. innuendoes and intimacies, laughter and winks (figuratively, anyway. I can’t actually wink.)
53. sunburned arms
54. generosity beyond measure from my very favorite brother