The day has been long.
Grievances pile up, worries crowd corners, frustrations needle sore spots.
In the morning I sing of His love, but in the evening I despair of it.
I wonder where He is, where is the grace promised, the mercies new, the strength and the bright hope?
Boys wrestle on carpet and I grapple with faith.
We gather round scuffed table, pull up to plates of hot food and glasses of cool drink.
Hands linked, we give thanks for the day, thanks for the sustenance provided.
I struggle to find reasons for thanksgiving.
I alternate bringing food to my mouth and offering food to her. She squeals with displeasure when I linger too long over a mouthful. I remind her to say “please” and her hand finds her tummy again.
I praise her simple act and, grinning mouth full of peaches, she claps chubby hands together.
It is her newest crowd-pleaser, and our enthusiastic reaction does not disappoint her expectations.
Someone says something silly, and the boys collapse into heaps of laughter. She is sure they are laughing at something she has done, and she squinches up her face and laughs along, quite pleased with herself.
She raises her hands above her head, so big!
She smears graham cracker in her hair, behind her ear, on her cheeks and smiles proudly.
She bangs silver on tray and sings a tuneless song to her own percussion.
Over and over she makes her mama, heart full of fear and hurt and irritation, come back to this now, and laugh.
Later we bring out the notebook, record each evening of blessings received throughout the day. When it is my turn I do not hesitate. She has been my blessing tonight, pulling me to her young and joyful side, making faces, smiling, laughing, clapping hands, showing off newly discovered skills.
She is amazing.
The doubt and fear, they still linger. No bundle of chubby girl can take them away– only the One who cares for us can do that.
But in this moment, I am reminded that there are always reasons to give thanks– to consider myself blessed.
And this I unwrap.