>Lately I am finding myself being frequently reminded about a church service we went to a couple of months ago. We don’t go all that often these days, basically because we either spend the whole time trying to control Leila or we spend the hour in the nursery because she doesn’t want us to leave her there, but a couple of months ago Cory and I decided to give it a try. We kept Leila with us, as we always try to do for the beginning of the service, and the congregation stood for the opening hymn. Those of you that know Leila know that she loves music, and church music is no exception! The song ended and everyone sat down in their pews as the church grew silent. I guess Leila really wanted to make sure that her opinion was heard because just as the silence set in she started clapping and yelled, “yay!!!” We had a lot of people turn around and give her a smile as laughter filled the silence. Thinking about this moment just warms my heart. Not because Leila is enjoying church, I am not so naive to assume that she “gets it,” but because this moment defines for me the most precious gift of motherhood: being able to see your child express pure, uninhibited joy.

I am feeling completely overwhelmed with my life. Between work, keeping my house in order, trying to cook healthy meals for my family, keeping a financial hold on things and still find time for myself to get a good nights sleep and enjoy a little me time, I sometimes forgot to watch for those moments. My new years resolutions for 2008 is to work on finding a better balance for me and my family, to work on setting reasonable expectations for myself, and to try my hardest to recognize those moments of joy.

I remember a lot about my childhood. Cory can attest to the fact that I have a pretty impressive memory. Most of the time I find that to be a wonderful gift. I remember the house I grew up in and the worn path I walked on to get from the school bus to our back door. I remember the walk though the ditch with my sister and our dog when we made a summer trip to Grandma’s house to work on a 4-H project. I remember the feeling of gratitude, acceptance and joy when my best friend from Tabor threw me a surprise birthday party the first year I had moved to a different school and had been feeling so alone. That is the good stuff; but I also remember feeling homesick and grieving the loss of my familiar life like I had never grieved before and the kids at school that made me feel inadequate and bad about myself; I remember that stuff too.

As a parent, I worry about Leila dealing with those things. I worry about her feeling awkward and hurt by potential teasing. I worry about her questioning who she is and if she is doing the right thing. When those times come, I am going to remember that day in church when she cried out in joy with no regard for what anyone thought of her.

If only we could all retain that precious gift of childhood. When the stress of my life starts to get to me and I find myself looking at those around me I just need to remind myself of that moment and take a lesson from my wise daughter.

Sorry this isn’t about Christmas; a holiday that I hate until it is happening, and then I just love so much that my cup runs over with joy. It came and went in a blur, we had several family gatherings and I loved every one of them. There is nothing in this world that means more to me than family and I had a long Holiday weekend filled with just that, so nothing could be better. I will share some pictures of the events when I have some more time. Leila had a great time and I hope you all did too.

Merry Christmas!

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1 Response to >Joy

  1. >That’s a wonderful Christmas gift: Leila’s pure joy, your appreciation of it, and the wisdom of continuing to use it. You and Cory are teaching Leila to deal with the trials when they come – better than attempting to prevent them from happening. She’s a beautiful soul growing to help us all. And she’ll soon have a cousin to accompany her. How are WE so lucky – God gifted? Thank you for all you share. We love you each. Grandpa & Grandma Karen

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