Give thanks in all circumstances knowing that this is the will of God in
Christ Jesus concerning you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
In honor of Thanksgiving, I felt compelled to write a post about how thankful I am, just as everyone else does this time of year.
But to be honest, I'm not feeling it.
I know, I know....I have a MILLION things to be thankful for.
A warm home.
Friends to look after me.
I could go on and on. But it just feels cliched to me this year. And I know, I sound completely ungrateful. I don't mean to.
And I don't mean to come across as too depressing...I've just needed a major attitude adjustment. There's been so much adjusting going on around here in other ways that I've lost sight of those typical "thankful" things. My focus has been different this year.
It's funny, for the past nearly 3 years, we've been desperate for Rylie to get here. And now she's here.....and a lot of the time, I feel neutral about it. I know...that sounds horrible. I get it. Bear with me.
It's all about expectations. Stinking expectations....
It's so easy to romanticize the process of adding a new child to your family. Whether by birth or by adoption, it's hard not to imagine what life will be like once they are here. As much as we knew bringing a nearly 2 year old into our home would bring challenges, we still had hopes and expectations. Unrealistic expectations. Expectations of ourselves and of Rylie which were fair to no one. We're not superparents but we expect a lot out of our kids. Perhaps too much too soon. It's easy to forget we've just been home 7 1/2 weeks from China. It's easy to forget Rylie doesn't understand our expectations yet. It's easy to forget she's still figuring us out...and our life, which she was very recently thrust into, without any choice. It's hard not to expect her to behave as if she is an almost-2-year-old who was born into our family. It's hard to look at her and not yet truly feel the same about her as I do about Jonah and Reagan. And I feel bad about that. And I hate to admit it. I feel bad there's been no love at first sight thing happening here. But it's the truth. I know it will come though. It will. And things will get easier.
And I will feel more thankful...because of how I feel now.
So actually, I AM thankful. For all the usual stuff, of course. But also, I am thankful for these present trials....because I know they will make us stronger in the long run.
I am thankful to have these times to look back upon one day and see how far Rylie has come.
I am thankful to have the opportunity to experience adoption and birth....to know the joys and challenges of both. Both are so awesome in their own way. What a privilege to see both sides.
I am thankful for the chance to self-reflect. To be presented with a circumstance which has tested me and revealed a lot of stuff I need to work on. A lot of stuff.
And grace. I am thankful for a heck of a lot of grace.
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ,
after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you
Today, Jonah's school had a great little Veteran's Day program. All the first graders were singing, so I headed down to the school with the girls bright and early this morning to watch. I have to admit, cheesy as I am, that I got a little teary watching all these kids sing songs about our country and wave flags! It was so cute!
When Jonah got home, we got on the subject of George Washington. Jonah studied him a little bit in kindergarten, but said he couldn't remember anything about him. Of course, I took the opportunity to refresh his memory... Reagan was happy to participate.
Jonah: I don't remember much about him.
Me: He was the first what?
Me: What kind of hat did her wear?
Jonah: One with 3 corners.
Me: A tri-corner hat. Right. He was called the Father of what?
A few weeks ago, one of our neighbors handed-down a suit to Jonah. He was so excited! He decided to wear it for picture day at school (which we haven't gotten back yet) and then made even bigger plans.
He decided he wanted to wear his suit to church (but come into the service with us, as his suit was too "fancy" for his class), and then, go to a "fancy" restaurant for lunch.
A really fancy place.....
.....The Olive Garden.
So, today, we all dressed up for church. Then, we headed to the fancy Olive Garden. I figured it was worth documenting...you know, being fancy and all.
We learned a lot.
Apparently, fancy restaurants have cool things like Tic-tac-toe.
But, we didn't feel like it was fancy enough. So, we took care of that.
Rush was impressed with the prices at the fancy restaurant.
Even the girls were thrilled to have the opportunity to experience such a fancy place.
It was an experience we will certainly remember for a long time....now that we're fancy and all.
It sounds cliched, but I cannot believe October is over. It is by far my favorite month....but with all of the adjusting we've been doing around here, it has flown!
We've had a lot of fun this month to go along with all of the trials.
There's been lots of pumpkin festivities of course.
We also took a spontaneous trip to the mountains over the weekend. This was the first year we haven't made it to a Virginia Tech football game, and we really missed being in the mountains, at least for a day or so. We were planning on going to pick apples anyway on Saturday, and at the last minute, decided to make a weekend out of it, since amazingly we both had the whole weekend off (which rarely ever happens). We were able to find a cabin in the woods that was still available. The time, the views...everything....was awesome. We had the best time. It was a much needed getaway after going through the last month of change! I wish I could live there!
And of course, Halloween....
Reagan had a party at preschool. We missed our church's awesome Fall Festival since we went to the mountains. But the kids did trick or treat when we got home and had a great time. Even Rylie LOVED it! She walked around the whole neighborhood excitedly, held open her bag for candy, and interacted with the homeowners! She was so cute.
Today was a month since we arrived home from China! It feels weird to say that, because it feels like Rylie has been here a lot longer than that. The past 2 weeks have gone really well. She seems to have learned some of our general rules and limits very quickly and doesn't push as much on those fronts. She has been healthy and eats everything she can get her hands on. She has been using her signs a lot to communicate her needs. She is playing with more toys, has been fine with the dog, and seems to be happy in general. We are really enjoying seeing more of her personality and silliness come out! It was cool to take her to vote in the election on her one-month-home day!
We also met with her plastic surgeon on Friday, who said we will likely do her cleft palate repair in February. :)