Letters to Taylor: On Gratefulness
You’ll never know how grateful I am for you.
You’re sleeping now, though it’s noon, and it seems that’s all you’ve done lately. Next week is Thanksgiving and I’ve been working on the menu and shopping list. It might seem silly, but I remember how well you ate the sweet potato casserole last year. I’m excited to make it again for that reason. Maybe it will put a twinkle in your eye if I can get you to taste it.
I suppose to some folks, it might seem hard for our family to celebrate Thanksgiving this year. As disease continues to ravage your body and brain without any treatments to stop it or even slow it down, it’s tempting to feel like there’s just nothing to be thankful for.
In an effort to combat that attitude, for months, I’ve looked around your room and told you how grateful I am. For the gift of another day, for continuously-needed medical supplies, for your sweet brothers and sisters who love on you and hang out in your room, for your daddy who works long hours to provide well for his family, for your aunts who encourage and hug both of us, for friends who help in so many practical ways. The list could go on and on.
It’s interesting how as your time to breathe on this earth appears to be dwindling down, the list of things to be thankful for diminishes with it. Things have very little importance. What I’m most thankful for really has nothing to do with actual things. Relationships are all that matter. People and God.
In all the reminders I’ve mentioned to you on giving thanks, this one is especially important to me and I have to be sure I say it directly.
I’m so thankful for you.
I understand what Paul was saying when he wrote “I thank God upon every remembrance of you.” You are precious and loved and every single memory I have of you causes me to give thanks.
I’m pausing to laugh amidst the tears. Because some of the memories you’ve given us are crazy.
Like the time you grabbed a girl’s pizza slice in Sam’s Club and her mother got so angry at you she couldn’t see straight.
The time you climbed on top of the kitchen counter and ate a chocolate pudding cup with your hands. You were covered head to toe in that stuff!
Oh, and that year, while I was in the shower, you opened all your Christmas presents that were under the tree. Oh, girl.
I wish I could explain how much influence you’ve had on my life. How much strength you’ve developed in my mind. How much fire you’ve fanned in me. You, my sweet girl, have made me a different person than I ever was before you came along. I am so drastically different than I ever would have been without you. I owe you so much.
You opened my eyes to see the needs of those who struggle.
You fueled my soul to fight for the less fortunate.
You encouraged my spirit to embrace a vital dependence on God.
You inspired my heart to love people for their uniqueness.
I can never thank you enough.
While folks have told me dozens of times that you’re so blessed to have a mom like me, the truth is:
I’m the one who’s blessed to be your mama.
I love you,