We don’t pray before every meal, but we do pray before dinner. I go down the line, to each child, asking what they would each like to pray for – the boys generally include the cows and bulls sometimes throwing in the grandparents or tractors, and the little lady always starts with herself and then moves to her siblings and Bray and me. Then, after assembling the requests, we say a prayer and eat dinner. The prayer starts with “Dear God or Dear Jesus”, and then we thank God for the day and the food, and then move into the individual requests and conclude with an “Amen.” Just last week, my dear nanny texted me after she was moved to tears when the baby told her at lunch, “pray Mari, pray,” and proceeded to say, “God, safe cow, safe drive tractor daddy, safe mommy work, thank you.” Putting God first, making his requests in earnest, and then offering thanks. Well no wonder it moved her to tears, it did me too.
Watching your kids grow up enough to offer thanks to God makes you feel pretty grateful in your own right. I felt similarly overwhelmed with gratitude over this past weekend with my family and friends. It wasn’t anything most folks would think about. But it was the kind of a weekend that I dreamed about families having after my parents had split up and I’d see parents running around the city with their kids. Friday night I spent with some of my sweetest friends at KSBJ’s Girls’ Night Out and sharing a glass of wine afterwards. Saturday was all family all day – we started the morning at the zoo where we zipped through all the animals and took the kids on their first carousel AND first train ride. I wish I could have captured the little lady’s face as she rode on that zoo carousel and her animal went up and down and round and round. It was this combined look of joy and nervousness and pride at what a big girl she was. It was a glimpse into her face 10 years from now as she proudly enjoys new achievements. We split in the afternoon so Bray could take her to the Tractor Supply Store, and I could take the boys for haircuts and shoes. Then after the kids bedtime, Bray and I got to have dinner at the home of a new couple friend of ours. Sunday was similarly perfect with only a minor snafu. Sunday morning church was slightly sidetracked because we couldn’t leave the kids in Sunday School due to overcrowding, so needless to say we didn’t get much church in with three two year olds. But from there we went to feed the ducks, an ingenious idea of Bray’s, we all took Sunday afternoon naps, and we had a late afternoon fish fry with family friends at the house.
Doesn’t it sound simple? But I have to tell you, it was perfect. It was crazy because it was a family of five with young kids, but it was still perfect. And I’m learning so much from my kiddos. I went to bed incredibly grateful. I didn’t have a lot of requests in between, but I know that at night’s end I started with “God” and ended with “Thank You!”
|Daddy with the boys on their first carousel ride
|Mommy with her proud little bit on the carousel
|Our first zoo train ride!