Sunday, November 11, 2012

Filled to overflow

I fear that my posts have been rather thin these days, lacking substance.  I hope to remedy that soon enough.  In the meantime -

For many years now, our family has created a Tree of Thanks each November.  But this year, the idea of the tree felt old and stale. I wanted something new.  Inspired by the Trick or Treat banner and influenced by the letter-centric world in which both Leo and Pax exist, I thought of an alternative. 

I cut out 26 different colored leaves from cardstock, and labeled each one with a fancy gold letter at the top - A through Z.  For a week and a half during dinner conversation, we went though each letter and named the things for which we were most grateful, letter by letter.  Some were amusing, others, poignant, others still, tender and true. 

I hot glued each leaf to a long satin brown ribbon and hung the banner low enough in the dining room to both read and to add to as the month goes on and our gratitude grows.

P.S. May I just add.... this idea did NOT come from Pinterest, thankyouverymuch.  While I probably saw something like it, months ago, resulting in a simmering-on-the-back-burner effect, this came from my brain.  It felt refreshing and encouraging to have figured something creative out all by myself, for a change....

Highlights of the letters include many adventures and appreciations we've shared this year, including corn mazes and baking brownies and keyboarding lessons and gymnastics and speech therapists and ice cream.
Predictably, A included many names - Adam; Anne; Aunts; Aidan.  However, when Leo added "Apple Baby" to our A-list gratitudes, I was undone.  Apple Baby is the nickname he gave to the baby we lost before we had our Leo.  Perhaps, in some very deep and unconscious part of his mind, Leo will always hold appreciation for our Apple Baby, because without her, there would be no Leo Gabriel - our Leo "Good News."  His willingness to bear witness, out loud, to her life in utero always makes me take a deep breath, filled to overflowing with gratitude and love.

Filled to overflowing with gratitude and love - that pretty much sums it up.  For even when I am exhausted, annoyed, angry, upset - even then - I am grateful.  For them. 

For Aidan:  This morning, he snuck down the stairs before Jeff and I were up, fed the cats (even though it makes him gag), and fixed breakfast for himself and his brothers.  He cut Pax's toaster waffle just how he likes it - some in strips, some in pieces - and added syrup carefully as a Sunday treat.  He carefully spiked his hair for church and asked Jeff for another lesson in tying a tie, loving how much he looked like Dad today in pinstripe shirts and blue ties. 

For Leo:  Who, when asked at dinner what his favorite animal was, responded, "I love ants, because they always work together as a team and help each other out."  Who showers his affection and tender care on his friends and his family, who has transitioned more beautifully to kindergarten than I could have ever hoped or dreamed.  

For Pax:  Who never stops talking.  Who never. stops. talking!!!!  We're in the process of rearranging pictures and photos all over the house, rehanging and reframing right and left.  I brought down a huge framed Matisse print from our bedroom and stashed it in the kitchen, hoping to coax Jeff into swapping the five naked dancers for a proud, tall rooster poster we'd stored behind the Matisse.  When Pax asked why the frame was in the kitchen, I answered, "There's a rooster in here that Daddy is going to frame."  Later, when my mom visited, Pax took her by the hand, led her to the frame and announced, "There is a rooster in here." Furrowing his brow, he added, "But I do not hear him inside here....?" 

And of course, for Jeff.  Without whom none of this would be possible, or funny, or fun. 

No comments: