Monday, November 26, 2012

An Embarrassment of Riches

Thanksgiving was quite pleasant this year.  Mostly because I didn't expect too much of myself being that I am in my ninth month of pregnancy.  We spent all day Thursday at Brian's parent's house.  The cousins had a grand ole time and the adults laughed until our sides hurt well into the early hours of the next day.

And then Katherine and I went home on Friday while Brian stayed on with the older kids.  I just needed my own bed and tad less chaos in order to get through the rest of the weekend without a hormonal meltdown.  Everyone understood.
Before the turkey was carved, we sat all the grandkids down to get a picture.  We are missing two: a newbie from Chicago and the one in my belly.  That's a grand total of 12.

This is what I think when I look at this picture: We have an embarrassment of riches.

One recent weeknight, after an especially difficult bedtime routine, Brian and I sat on the couch daydreaming about what life might have looked like had we decided not to have kids.  We'd sip coffee every morning at the finest cafes.  I would write all day.  He would play music.  Then we'd hit up happy hour at the local pub.  And we'd finish off the evening with a sushi dinner.  We would travel wherever our hearts desired.  And we'd live in a posh brownstone in the finest part of St. Paul.

We sat for a little while thinking of what could have been.  And then Brian broke the silence.

"Well that would have been boring!"

And it's true.  As much chaos and headache as the little ones bring, I know deep down they are the true treasures in life.

At Christmas I remember my Grandpa, now gone for seven years, used to sit in a recliner on the porch watching all his relatives come and go.  He just sat there and took it all in.  He'd partake in conversation from time to time but mostly he just sat there with a smile on his face.  Sometimes I'd wonder if he was sick of it.  Were we invading his space?  His routine?  Did he want us all to leave so he could go back to reading the newspaper or the latest bestselling novel?

But no, he didn't.  He was at the end of his life.  And he knew it.  Instead he sat there in awe of all he had created.  His children.  The spouses they found.  The children they birthed.  And then the spouses they found.  And the children they then birthed.  All of them.  All there because he started it.

I shared this story with Brian the night we daydreamed about our hypothetical kidless lives.  I told him how one day we would be there.  Free of responsibility.  Just the enormous privilege of getting to behold the fruits of our labor.

"And that," Brian added, "must be why old people are so grace-filled at the end of their lives."

I hope you had the happiest of Thanksgivings wherever you were and whomever you spent it with.  And I hope each and every one of you can also say you have an embarrassment of riches in your life.

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