My favorite Sunday of the year is Testimony Sunday, the Sunday before Thanksgiving.
This past Sunday was that Sunday. After three New Lifers shared their very different stories of gratitude and hope, Pastor Rich told us that being grateful, simply saying “thanks,” is different from living a life marked by gratitude.
He shared this definition of gratitude: *Gratitude is a knowing awareness that we are the recipients of goodness.*
As Thanksgiving and my firstborn’s birthday is upon us, I wanted to shout out Olive, who is a living, cooing reminder that we have received a tangible outpouring of goodness Memorial Sunday 2017:
Dear Olive Hope Kim,
Thank you for being Thanksgiving personified for our family this year.
During tough times, choosing to be grateful all the dang time was a challenge, a challenge I wanted to rebel against. Other times, it is too easy.
This year, you make it too easy. When I think of you, see you, smell you, hear you, let you sleep in my armpit when you creep over from your crib, you mark me with gratitude. Even now, you are perched on your tummy on your playmat next to me as I type and when we meet eyes, you beam at me.
I just saw a picture on Facebook from a few years ago, a picture of our family of four, when you were just a fantasy I thought I needed to put to bed because…c’mon now!
Thank you for joining us. Thank you for allowing us to experience baby joy all over again. Thank you for filling our cluttered household with awe, even with the overstuffed diaper bag that your dad went from saying, “Never again. It is finished,” to “Do we have enough diapers in there?”
When I see your brothers surround you, joke with you, hold you, my hands raise to the heavens as a reflex. Thank You, thank You, thank You, Lord.
Thank you for making it seem like there was never a time before you. Thank you for reminding us that there is still good and blessing in this world as I watch terrible current events unfold. While I was watching news about the Vegas shooting on 10/2, the morning after your Ellis brother’s 5th birthday, you rolled over for the first time. What a contrast: the evil that lurks everywhere and a still-pure you, rolling over in the safety of our cozy apartment.
Watching you grow into a real human will be one of the top five periods of my life I will reminisce about in my old age. Sure, I’m tired and now that it’s cold, I’m carrying All the Jackets and I can’t get past the tables at the library or in the aisles of T.J. Maxx.
Some days, especially from school pick-up through bedtime, I want to yell or actually yell at your excitable brothers who seem to have hearing problems when I speak. Then I’ll catch a glimpse of you lying around in some corner of our living room, beaming like we are celebrities, or searching the room with your bright eyes, moaning for somebody to come poke you in the belly or just pay you some mind, and then I’ll be back at Thank You, thank You, thank You, Lord.
Right now, there is no separate Olive and Mommy. You are an extension of me wherever I go. Even at church, when Daddy asks to hold you, I miss you and I want to feel your warm body back in my arms, gazing at me and punching my chest as you nurse.
Your precious infanthood is already almost halfway done and it isn’t hard for me to cherish every moment, as the cliche goes, because I now know all too well how fast it goes before I’m chasing you at the playground and trying not to say something I’ll regret.
Under a Friendsgiving tarp this past Sunday, with the rain beating down, your dad decided to dance with you while he was holding you. He told me that he got teary-eyed as he imagined dancing with you decades down the line, Lord willing, perhaps under a tarp with loved ones, and you still beaming at him.
I’m done typing now so I can hold you, our Thanksgiving star. Publishing now before our laptop crashes again.