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a grateful heart

January 1st, 2004 · No Comments

I’m posting this tonight in hope that it will encourage other readers, moms and dads out there, anyone wondering if what they’re doing has any effect….

Through the past week I’ve encouraged the girls to write thank you notes for the holiday gifts. Since they like to be creative with paper, I’ve let them do what they want to do. Abigail has made some fancy ones, folding over the paper to hide other creations inside, using lots of tape – a new toy – too. I gave her the names to copy and she wrote the words on her artwork. And Michaela has done a good job scribbling, even writing some letters, on papers in her gratitude.

I was lazy, though, and let these artistic thank you notes accumulate into a nice sloppy pile on my desk. Tomorrow I am thinking we might make it to the post office – if it doesn’t snow again – and so I thought I should try to get the thank you notes organized. I sat down, pen in hand, along with my address list, envelopes, stamps and paper to write my own thank you notes to accompany the girls’.

Please let me be clear: I am very grateful and thankful for all the gifts. It’s my own fault I was trying to do them all at once, putting myself under unnecessary pressure. I should have put the girls cards into envelopes when they were making them. Instead I found myself overwhelmed amidst a sea of colored paper cards, trying to coordinate Abigail’s with Michaela’s with mine, copying addresses, and composing my own notes. Since I am not used to writing a lot with my hands anymore, my pinky finger got sore from rubbing on the paper – it used to have a callus when I was a kid in school – and my hand began to ache. I was running out of time, too, before I had to get Elisabeth up from her nap. I was feeling frustrated.

Then suddenly, Abigail came over to me and handed me this note.


I can’t remember another piece of paper from Abigail that has been so precious to me. Here I had encouraged the girls to write thank you notes, but I was getting crabby trying to organize and finish up mine. Yet Abigail, on her own initiative, had quietly sat down in the corner and written a thank you note to ME. Looking at it brings tears to my eyes.

Wow. I felt encouraged. Convicted too, of my own crankiness and bad attitude. But mostly I felt amazed. For years I have been trying in different ways to teach the girls to be grateful. To say thank you. I’ve tried to show them by my own example what it means to be thankful. And Abigail through her writing and spontaneous gift to me revealed the gratitude growing in her heart. Like a boomerang it went from me to her back to me. Or it’s like tending a garden, working hard, preparing the soil, weeding, watching, and then later getting to taste the first little fruit that ripens. Like picking those first strawberries in June: how sweet! And I feel grateful. Thank you God. May more fruit grow.

Tags: motherhood