This week has been ubercrazy with lots of swim practices and meets, the start of basketball practices, Halloween parties, and the week-long visit of two of my nephews. Still, I have had some interesting (or is it stranger than usual) thoughts about what to include in my Sunday Gratitudes:
1. I am grateful for black licorice. Now, before you say "Ick!", read the explanation. I always grab a big bag of RedVines before a road trip. In this case it was to meet my sister halfway between her place and mine to pick up her kids. As I was eating black licorice I started to think of my Grandpa. He loved black licorice. My sister and brothers and I would save the black jellybeans from our Easter baskets for him. We hated the stuff and he acted so happy to get it. But the lack of taste for black licorice changed for me when I was a teenager. Grandpa received a box of black licorice toffee. The box said it was Imported from England. I was a foodie even then and anything exotic, unusual, or imported really intrigued me. Grandpa noticed me reading his box and asked if I would like to try it. I took the smallest piece he poured into his hand. The stuff looked like coal. But when I popped it into my mouth I was surprised at the taste. Smooth, creamy, and good! Grandpa smiled that crooked grin as he watched my face and offered me another piece. That afternoon, he told me stories about his youth. (The one about being Cupid in the school play was priceless!) I think we ate the entire box. It was the first time I really listened to Grandpa. Now whenever I eat black licorice I think of him. He has been gone since 2001. I miss his smile, his Pinto yell (that is another story), his corny jokes. I miss his telling me his New Years resolutions, the only person I knew who kept them (one year it was to obey the speed limit exactly.) I miss watching him ride horses in the summer parades. I miss listening to him pray. I think a lot about his prayers at Thanksgiving and Christmas when he was always the one to do it. I grew up listening to that voice. Now do you see why I love black licorice?
2. A the swim meet this past week, I was sitting in front of some of my sons team mates. They were acting obnoxious and loud. It was a bit tiring and gave me a headache but I could stand it so we didn't move. Then a girl in the group yelled at one of her friends "Quit being so Retarded!" Those of you who know me well know that I would not let that go. I turned around, look at the offender and said, "You mean 'stupid' ". She stopped mid sentence and stared at me and asked, "What?" Right then, DD chose the perfect moment to look over my shoulder at the girl and say hi. The girls eyes got big as she saw DD (and no doubt noticed that DD has Down syndrome) and she started to apologize. I told her no worries, just change her vocabulary. The girl was quiet for the next half hour and her team mates ran off as if they were afraid I would include them in the conversation. When I told DS#1 what I had done and said that I hoped I didn't embarrass him he replied that he would have done it himself. I am grateful for all my sons because they correct anyone who uses the words retard or retarded when they mean to say stupid. We try not to correct in a mean or offensive matter, but just to point out that the words they are using are offensive and ask them to change.
3. I am grateful for a noisy house. With the cousins here, DD and DS#3 are having so much fun. DD doesn't not have playgroups very often so having this many friends to play with for so long has been good for her. She is learning to share and take turns. She is also learning that boys play much more rough. So she will leave them and come be with me until she can stand to try again.
4. I am grateful for a quiet house. After all that noise, having every kid asleep and peace to write my gratitude list is pure heaven.
5. I am grateful that DS#2 has the opportunity to play basketball this year. He has so looked forward to starting practices. Now that it is finally here he loves being able to play with his friends on the team and working on his skills. It has been great to see him set goals and achieve them.
6. I am grateful for all the people praying for us to help sell the house. There are so many of you out there. The house has been on the market for six months now. My faith is still strong. My daddy taught me that Heavenly Father likes us to be specific in our prayers. I keep reading the scripture about wearying the Lord with our petitions. Please keep the prayers coming. We need every single one of them.