This has been quite the week. This year for the first time since the schools went traditional we have had the kids home all week. Canyons district needed some budget cuts, so they cut out a few days of school. I am actually ok with this. Now normally I would be tortured by the fact that the kids were home all those extra days, but as of late my heart has changed. Read this summers posts and you will see. Things are different now. So here they all are, home all week, indoors due to the bitter cold, playing wii, making messes, playing in forts and eating everything they can get their hands on; and I am ok with it all.
This week always holds a torrent of emotion for me though, and it's not just this year, it's every year. I love Thanksgiving. It's a simple holiday, no more fuss than to just bake and bring yummy food to our parents homes and eat it. There can be no better holiday than that. I personally think this is what Christmas should be, but just with a few holiday jingles and a service project added. We went to my mom's house this year for Thanksgiving. It's truly beautiful there this time of year. The ponds they have in their backyard are nearly frozen, with just a few patches of clear ice to see the trout through. But the waterfalls are going strong and it reminds me of being in the mountains near a stream during the winter. The icicles are hanging all around your head near the waters edge while you peer down trying to get a glimpse of the fish. The pine trees are huge and majestic and seem to have always been there. Like watchtowers over the yard and home. During the summer my kids make homes in the branches, climbing higher and higher. Yet, those trees don't scare me the way the ones in our yard do. The branches of the pines are strong, they don't sway like they do in the maple and cottonwood trees. They seem to have been created to be there for kids. My kids. I have many pictures of my kids amongst these trees.
After dinner we played games. My kids are finally old enough to enjoy this with me and Jon. Jon and I are huge game players. We have had many couples over the years that would play with us on a friday night as opposed to going out. We have dozens of games and have spent many hours playing them. With the kids though it's different. We laugh till we cry and there are no hard feelings, no arguments, no criticisms. We just play, laugh and spend time together. To be honest I do not remember the last time I laughed that hard. But then it was time to go and we went. Home to digest the good feelings, the warm food and the day of fun.
Then friday comes. I do not like black friday. It is a constant reminder of what I don't have and I admit I am trying so hard to put it out of my mind. Black friday has been created by the industry to bring in revenue, money and business. Christmas people...come and buy your gifts for Christmas...spend money, more money and then money you don't have. I am trying to rise above it, move away from it. We have nine kids and I have never regretted having those nine kids. But, with one modest income it can be so hard sometimes. The kids often go for weeks with holes in their shoes, until we can buy new ones. That is just one of the many things that living in a large family comes with. I struggle between loving and being grateful for what I have, and wanting to be able to do more for my kids. I struggle between the world and the spirit. The world has so much that I want to give my kids, but he spirit has everything.
This year is different than most years, I admit though. I don't feel angry at the season as it approaches like most years. I feel at peace. This year instead of coming up with money to go shopping, we took the kids to a movie. Time together was so much better spent than using that money for a few gifts. I don't think the kids will get much this year, but I am not upset or nervous about that for the first time in years. We will get enough, but I want my kids to give. We are talking about what we can do as a family for service. We have plans to go to Primary Childrens Hospital to give some of the kids there are few gifts. I want my kids to understand the beauty of that place, while knowing and understanding the heartache and pain of it too. I want my kids to understand what they have, not what they feel they don't have. I am so humbled every time I spend time there and it is my hope that my children feel the spirit there the way I always do.
This year is different. I have come to peace about so many things in my life this year. As a family we have gained more love and more understanding of each other. We have spent time together and we have loved every moment of it. We have lost babies this year and have cried together and had hope together. My children have grown this year. They are different people, more compassionate, more aware of those around them. I think I might be doing something right...maybe a bit. I pray I am.