Gratitude Challenge – Week 3

gratitude challenge

It’s week three of my gratitude challenge and the focus this week is on why I’m grateful for family.

I think the biggest reason I’m grateful for family is because no matter where I’ve gone or what I’ve done, I’ve always known they’re thinking about me, praying for me, and are there if I need them.

four kids
Pardon the oompa loompa-like skin on my two brothers. It’s what you get from a 1970s Polaroid…

My parents mistakenly thought they were on the brink of being done raising kids. My oldest brother had graduated high school and was gainfully employed. My other brother was a senior in high school. My sister was fourteen and fully bedazzled by The Monkees, Elvis, and The Beatles.

And I came along…

There were times growing up I felt like I had three sets of parents instead of just one, but I know how fortunate I was to have a family that cared enough to keep an eye on me (constantly, as in all the time!).

Seriously, though, I am thankful every day for growing up on our family farm. For the experiences I had that shaped my future. For the lessons I learned that helped me grow into the person I am today.

All that is because of my family.

snow day 1

And while I’m feeling grateful for family, I’ll extend it beyond my immediate family. My mom came from a family of seven and my dad from a family from five. Family gatherings were big, boisterous, noisy, and awesome. I don’t remember a single Christmas growing up that I wasn’t surrounded by oodles of cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents, good food, and fun.

Most often, they came to our place because we had a house big enough to accommodate everyone, plus all the cool toys like a hill for sledding and a pond for skating. Of course, the mean, green John Deere snowmobiles were a big draw, too. That’s my dad in the ballcap and my brother is standing behind him wearing what appears to be irrigating boots. Huh – bet those were warm… (And that would be my John Deere green and yellow snowsuit at the back of the crowd.)

Sometimes growing up with so much family around was a real pain. I could be at the store buying something and my Mom would know what I purchased before I arrived home. (True story, not kidding!) On the flip side, I always knew there was someone around to watch over me (should I need watching) and I didn’t have to look far to find someone who cared how I was doing.

After I met Captain Cavedweller, I got another set of family to love.

All laughsHis family dynamic was so different from mine.

To put it into the proper perspective – His grandmother graduated the same year as my mom and dad. His mom is the same age as my oldest brother.

But I’m so grateful to be a part of their family. You haven’t had a really good hug until you’ve received one from my mother-in-law.

And they laugh, a lot. As you can see from the photo above, we have a lot of fun together. I don’t recall exactly what had transpired, but from the pathetic flower stem Captain Cavedweller is holding, it no doubt had something to do with one of his Mom’s prize tulips.

Okay, so the point of all my rambling is that my family (and that encompasses the family I knew growing up, the family I joined when I wed, and the people who’ve come into my life and become so dear to my heart) keeps me going, makes me laugh, brings me joy – and loves me no matter what.

And I’m very, very grateful for each one of them.

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