The quality of being thankful: readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
It’s been a whole month since I’ve had any photos to share in my gratitude project. But today I have a few things to express gratitude for, it’s been a full few weeks!
School wound down last week for the boys, and on the final day of school our youngest son had his awards ceremony for the year.
We knew he had earned honours in his first year of junior high (which we were very proud of), but little did we know he was also selected for a much larger award.
They came to the part of the ceremony where they select the most outstanding students in each grade. Our son goes to a JH of about 800 kids, so this wasn’t anything we expected for him, it just wasn’t even on our radar. As they started describing the most outstanding male student in his grade I started to think, ‘hmm that sounds a little like our son’. They described someone who is involved in a lot of activities at school, has a great academic standing, is involved in athletics, is always helpful and has a great sense of humour’, and then they called his name. We were all floored. And of course, I start crying as I’m walking down the aisle to take pictures of him receiving his award. Not even little tears, those sort of embarrasing tears where your shoulders are shaking. I had such a sense of awe and also this huge sense of joy and pride in our youngest son and the impact he’s making at his school. I also had this deep sense of stewardship of this beautiful boy that God has given us and imagining where God will take his unique influence in life. We were overjoyed. I hope you hear that I say that not to brag that I have such great kids (even though I think we do!), but to express my gratitude for seeing how their lives are taking shape. Each of our kids is so special and unique.
And yet, even as we were celebrating, all of this was tempered in my mind because another young boy our son knows from school was laying in a hospital bed in a coma after a horrible incident, which has shaken many in our community. His mama, watching him lay in that bed, likely no less proud of her boy is still wondering what the long-term impact of his injuries means for his life. We don’t ever want to take any moments for granted with our kids, even though we’re human and sometimes we do. This young boy has been constantly on my mind and in our prayers even as we celebrate.
Here is our older son and my husband as coach, after his team won the championship in ball hockey last week. After 9 years with the team they finally earned a gold medal. This is such a great group of boys! We’re so proud of them.
Which leads me to the next thing I am grateful for, sport! I did not grow up playing sports. My brother did, and yet I did not. I just don’t think it occured to my parents that I might want to, after all, what I loved was anything artistic. But, then all these years later, I married a collegiate athlete and was given a daughter who tried sports and didn’t love it (music was her thing), and then was given these two boys who were born for athletics. From the time they were small they have loved being involved in any sport they could. We always have tried to balance life in a way that didn’t make sports take up too much of our focus, while still allowing them to play, learn and love it.
Sports have taught our sons so many things. They have experienced many wins and probably just as many losses. They’ve been chosen for teams and cut from teams. They’ve been the all-star and they’ve sat on the bench. They’ve been given favour from coaches and refs and also been overlooked, or unfairly targeted. They been given fair calls and unfair calls, had some amazing days where they felt like a star and horrible days, where they felt like the loser. Their involvement in sports has given them so much experience and has been full of life lessons. It’s been an opportunity for them to develop their skills and abilities, to be coached by some really wonderful (and even sometimes not so wonderful coaches). Through it all, they’ve had some awesome teammates and have built some really wonderful bonds of friendship. The meaning of teamwork has really impacted them. And they have learned what it means to persevere and not to give up.
It’s given us the chance to cheer for them, to console them, and often times instruct them in what it means to play with all you’ve got and to also to play with character and integrity. I have loved being the loud cheering mama on the sidelines - win or lose, and I try really hard not to yell at the refs, and cheer for their teammates too! :)
This was our younger son playing on the JH softball team after they lost in the playoffs. A much more subdued team, and yet, it was such a good experience for them. I am proud of them no matter what the outcome. It takes courage to get out there and learn a sport, develop your talent and be willing to thrive or fail in front of others. And then, to get up and try again. Great life lessons to be grateful for.
Thanks for indulging me today as I express my gratitude for the beauty of this life! Enjoy your Sunday!