My children teach me perspective every day. They have a way about them that not only exudes joy, but focuses on happiness and thankfulness over the little things. And oh do they express gratitude, in abundance. Their prayers thank God for food and flowers and their family, paper and scissors and colouring pencils, oh my! Each meal is met with “thank you, Mama, for this lovely supper” and enthusiasm “look, avocado, ooooh, avocado. I love avocado”. And I sometimes look at their lives before this adoption and see all they experienced – abuse, neglect, trauma, broken attachments and abandonment and marvel at how they embrace the here and now, the positive, the joy. My daughter was eating dinner last night and told me she was so excited to go on her first vacation (courtesy of Grandma). My mind went to the vacations the family previous to me (not her birth family) took and she wasn’t included in – the vacations she waved them off on (siblings and all), while she stayed with a sitter. In fact, when I first asked her if she knew what a vacation was, she said “yes, you will go away with everyone else, leave me with a baby-sitter and bring me back a present. Mummy I will miss you, I don’t like vacations”. Oh how my heart ached for her, and my mum, an incredibly stoic woman (and Irish, northerner), cried her eyes out when she said something similar to her on the phone . And yet, even with all that sadness, her focus? Gratitude, excitement, joy. Maybe one day she will ask those very tough questions (rightly so!), somehow though, I think she will always find a way of finding the good. Last night, as I tucked my very tired girl into bed, she turned to me and said “Mama, I’m so happy vacations in this family are for me too! I waited my whole life for someone who wanted to take me on vacation. Thank you, Mama. I am so happy”. As I watched her eyes close, I felt God saying “choose joy, live it like them”. And I will, oh how I will.
Before motherhood, I held the hands of the dying, wiped the eyes of the weeping, kissed the untouchables and saw beauty in it all. Now, in my front room I live with the same type of learning, though perhaps I allowed the worry to overtake what I know. And what I know is this: there is beauty everywhere. In life, in death, in joy, in suffering, in good days and bad, in abundance and depletion. When I see: flowers, bright colours, animals, plants, books, art, smiles, patterns, grace, kindness, compassion and love, I see the beautiful, real heart transforming beauty – beauty not reliant on money, or excess, or perfection. When I hear: songs, laughter, chirps, gratitude and giggles – I feel love. Love which costs nothing to give, or receive. Love which has more impact than fame or fortune.
My children teach me perspective every. single. day. I may have changed their world by adopting them, but I have the feeling they will change the world. One positive, grace and gratitude filled thought at a time.