Tuesday, September 17, 2013


We'll give thanks to You
With gratitude
For lessons learned in how to thirst for You
How to bless the very sun that warms our face
If You never send us rain
~Nicole Nordeman, Gratitude

The other day, I got a little brave.  Okay, maybe I was feeling a little soft.  But after buying Maelynn all her dance things, I really wanted to get the boys something cool.  I know, I know.  We're not the let's-buy-a-toy-simply-because-we're-in-a-store-and-you're-so-cute parents.  That one day, we really wanted to get something for the boys, since Maelynn got all her new dance things.  

Weak logic, but meh.  

Anyway, I took the kids... all three... into Target after Ryan's first therapy session of the semester.  Maelynn knew she just got her dance stuff and was prepared to realize that was her treat.  The kids knew, via what I like to call verbal social storying, that we would look at some things mommy needed first, then head to toys.  

This kind of trip is not easy.  Worthwhile, usually but not easy.  I agreed to let Richie and Maelynn get one of those giant carts that drives like a semi, because they're so nicely encased and mostly together.  Then I just have to keep Ryan from knocking people over.  He's not trying to be rough and destructive, but slight motor skill issues combined with lack of knowledge of common social conventions like personal space, and things get interesting.  

So I'm doing battle with getting the tractor-trailer cart around the corner through the picked-over back to school aisle, and he gambols clunkily around the corner and almost into another lady's cart.  She was kind, smiling and doing her best to move out of the way as I apologized.  I would have backed up had she not offered, but hey... take help where it's offered, right?  

Just as something like "excuse us, so sorry" or one of its brethren began to fall from my lips, Ryan said, "Do you feel sick?"  

Uh oh.  But not a real uh-oh... he tends to use this as a stimmy phrase.  So to tell if it was a stimmy phrase or a real need to do something, I asked back if he felt sick in his tummy.  

The response nearly made me cry.  

"Mommy, I'm hungry."  

HE. TOLD. ME. HE. WAS. HUNGRY!!!!!!!!!!!!

I almost exploded with joy and pride!  He was hungry!  He processed that feeling and told me!  Okay, so his delivery was a little stunted through his brain going, "Okay, do we feel sick?  This seems like sick... uh, wait... this is hungry! I know hungry!"  

I wanted to grab that lady by the shoulders and say, "Do you realize what you just witnessed?!?!  My son is eight years old and has NEVER ONCE told me he was hungry!!!  Not in those terms!  You are witnessing history, ma'am!" but I didn't.  Okay, so I was a little worried about being banished from Target for frightening the other patrons.  

Instead, I praised Ryan in every way I knew I could.  "Yay!"  and "Great job!" and "Wow, son!  You told me what you were feeling!  That is awesome!"  came first.  Then, because I'm the mommy, I promised to get him a snack on the way out.  

The poor lady in the aisle who was just trying to be nice and get out of the way wound up backing out of the aisle and away from our excitement, which is cool.  I have no idea if she knew, as those of us who have been around kids like Ryan just KNOW by the way they behave.  But I know this... I was not expecting a breakthrough in Target.  My feet hurt and I was ready to go home.  I was annoyed and a little frustrated that I couldn't get Ryan to stay by the cart.  I was trying to keep my cool, stay positive, and get us out of there with another successful trip to a store under our belt.  

I haven't dreamed of my child saying he's hungry all my life.  

I dreamed of things like having children, my own home, my husband, success in my career, and so on.  My dreams and hopes were not at all along the lines of having my child be able to tell me he was hungry.  As a matter of fact, if you went back even ten years and told me I'd be so excited about this, I would not understand.  

Sometimes only desperation breeds true gratitude.  

Being without something you didn't even know you could be without makes that thing the most sought after, precious gift in the world.  Without an adjustment in perspective, the ordinary looks... well, ordinary.  But when it is truly brought to your attention that the things you walk around doing every day are not ordinary at all, but are specially placed gifts, perhaps even upgrades to our lives that are to be treasured.  

Think about what you're doing right now.  Your eyes take in the words.  The words from complete, coherent sentences (I hope).  The intricacies of the mechanics of grammar, coupled with literary nuances convey the message.  Your brain processes those words on a page to thoughts and thoughts to feelings, and maybe you turn to your friend next to you (or maybe your dog... it happens), and you can turn those thoughts and feelings to words.  Maybe you can also add personal experience to the mix, process the thoughts and emotions around that, and turn it into words.  I know I can.  

Thanks to the gift of my son, I'm thankful for that ability.  I'm truly thankful, now, for so many things I never gave a second glance in the past. 

Thanks be to God for lessons learned in hunger. 

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