Monday, September 13, 2010

Gratitude

On Saturday, we took the kids to Lake Calhoun. While the kids played on the playground, Ruanita and I discussed our dilemma about whether or not to enroll the twins in kindergarten next year or wait until the following year, as our pediatrician suggested we consider. I must admit, I was initially very much ANTI- waiting another year to enroll the kids. I don't know why. I guess I have trouble admitting that Nicholas is not ready. And on a selfish level, I was looking forward to them starting kindergarten next year to give us a bit of relief. Since I first became pregnant with the twins almost five years ago, Ruanita and I have worked opposite shifts. I have bemoaned the difficulty of our schedule in numerous posts since started this blog. While we would likely still work opposite shifts once Sophie and Nicholas start kindergarten, it would be a welcome relief to have kid-free hours during the day to get necessary tasks accomplished, make appointments, take a nap, breath, etc. The thought of putting off that respite another year really did not appeal to me. However Ruanita, being the ever-present voice of reason, made me see the benefits of waiting another year. Of course I do not want Nicholas to start school behind. Of course I do not want him to struggle. Of course I do not want him to be labeled "diffcult." Of course I want him to be successful in school. Ruanita helped me to realize that it may just mean starting Sophie and Nicholas a year late to afford him every opportunity for success. Like it or not, it may be the only decision we can make.

After our discussion, Ruanita, Sophie, and Lucas walked down to the beach to watch the sailboats out on the lake and collect rocks. Nicholas wanted to remain on the playground, so I stayed with him. I sat there watching Nicholas play and lamenting the state of my schedule, my life, and my world. As I was absorbed in my own thoughts, I noticed out of the corner of my eye a woman walking by pushing a stroller. As I glanced up, I realized that it wasn't a stroller she was pushing. Rather, she was pushing a frail-looking little boy in a wheelchair. As they walked by, the little boy's eyes were fixated on Nicholas, who was hanging upside down from the jungle gym at the time. The little boy turned his head practically backwards as they passed by, his eyes filled with obvious longing, to watch Nicholas playing. Nicholas was happily oblivious to the scrutiny. At that moment, I was overcome with a feeling of gratitude like I have never felt before.

Who cares if Sophie and Nicholas start school a year later than expected? Who cares if Ruanita and I work opposite schedules for another year? My children can walk. My children can run and jump and scream and giggle. They can play soccer. They can dance. My problems seem minuscule compared to those of a person with a medically fragile child. I have been blessed in enormous ways. I had a difficult pregnancy, marked by bed rest and weight loss and preterm labor and pre-eclampsia and an emergency c-section and two tiny premature babies. At any moment during my pregnancy or childbirth, something could have happened to one or both of my twins. I could very easily have been the woman pushing the wheelchair around the lake. Rather, I have been blessed with three healthy, happy children. I have been blessed with a partner that loves me and supports me, regardless of rarely seeing me. I have been blessed in ways too numerous and too awe-inspiring to even describe.

After the woman walked by with the wheelchair, Nicholas and I walked down to the beach to join the rest of our family. I sat shoulder to shoulder with Ruanita in the sand, looking out over Lake Calhoun. We watched the sailboats go by. We watched the the sunlight dancing on the top of the water. And we watched our healthy children, the legs of their jeans rolled up, splashing around in the lake collecting rocks and accumulating childhood memories.

Life is good.

2 comments:

Jessica said...

Wonderful post.

Meg said...

You will never regret that decision. They have their entire lives to be adults but only a short time as children. What a wonderful gift you will be giving them!!!!

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