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I Choose to Give Thanks


TheHomeSchoolMom: I Choose to Give Thanks“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Thanksgiving. We’re supposed to give thanks. And of course, I am thankful. So, yeah, we’ll give thanks. Let’s see… I’m thankful for…”

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That was the approach I’ve had many a year. Sort of a laissez-faire approach to gratitude, if you will. But after losing my child three months ago, just 4 days after his birth, this year thanksgiving is not a mundane kind of thing. No, this year I have to choose to give thanks. It takes effort, it takes energy, it takes focus. Whereas in previous years I gave thanks out of a sense of sufficiency, out of a feeling that those things for which I was grateful were sort of a “given”, this year I give thanks with the new awareness that what I have can be taken away.

Thanksgiving means so much more this year.

Thanksgiving doesn’t come for me, this year, as a natural flow out of living in a season of abundance. Instead, this time, it must be squeezed, drop by drop, out of a desert of loss. But the desert makes each drop so much more precious and worthwhile. And this year, I am so much more keenly focused on the source of that gratitude – my God, the giver of all blessings – rather than on the objects of my thanks. And while I certainly do not give thanks for everything, I am learning how to give thanks in everything.

So this year I choose to give thanks. I do it consciously, intentionally, even painfully. But by doing so, I learn to see the good even in the midst of pain, the blessings that can come from difficulty. And that’s a lesson I certainly want my children to learn in our homeschool.

  • There are pencil marks on the table. I choose to give thanks. Because my 4-year-old made them while focusing on writing her letters correctly, rather than focusing on keeping the table pristine.
  • We can’t afford to go out to eat as much as our friends. I choose to give thanks. Because we don’t have an excuse to do rushed dinners on the road, and so my kids grow up with family dinners each night.
  • The girls are arguing (again) over who gets which doll. I choose to give thanks. Because their closest relationships get to be with each other (with all of the ups and downs that come with that), instead of their closest relationships being formed with same-age peers from school.
  • I don’t have a big house for homeschooling. I choose to give thanks. Because it’s less space to have to clean, and because it’s a mansion compared to the homes of the people in South Africa our uncle just visited.
  • I have to eat gluten free. I choose to give thanks. Because I get to avoid many of the carbs that otherwise would make me blow up into the size of a house.
  • The girls are complaining about doing their math. I choose to give thanks. Because I get the blessing of experiencing firsthand the ins and outs of my kids’ academic preferences and progress.
  • My laundry looks like a soda frothing over the side of the can after having been shaken too hard. I choose to give thanks. Because we have so many clothes to wear, my biggest struggle is how to get them all put back in the closet.
  • My children left their clothing on the floor again. I choose to give thanks. Because now I get my basement floor vacuumed (their consequence for leaving out the clothes).
  • I have to drive to the other end of town for our homeschool group. I choose to give thanks. Because when we’re stuck in the car together, we have some of our most meaningful conversations.
  • Both of my children want my attention at exactly the same time. I choose to give thanks. Because they both really want to please their mama, and come to me as their major source of affirmation and approval, rather than the approval of others.
  • There are dust bunnies under every piece of furniture. I choose to give thanks. Because when there’s only so much time and energy to go around, we focus more on our character being good than our house being clean.
  • I have exactly two pair of pants that actually fit. I choose to give thanks. Because this body is what gave me three beautiful children, and it (for the most part) works correctly.
  • My daughter can’t seem to stay on task. I choose to give thanks. Because her spontaneity and ever-racing mind keep me from being doomed to a life of disciplined inanity.
  • I don’t get to do “date nights” with my husband as much as I’d like. I choose to give thanks. Because hiding outside on the porch, so the kids can’t find us while we attempt to talk alone, makes the two of us feel like we’re young and living on the edge.
  • I never seem to have enough time. I choose to give thanks. Because I’ve had to learn how to prioritize the truly important over the insignificant.
  • I now have a gray hair in my eyebrow. I choose to give thanks. Because the years that have brought on that gray have also brought on wisdom.
  • We were supposed to have a 4-month-old this Thanksgiving, but we don’t. I choose to give thanks. Because now I am able to be thankful for the family members I have left with a depth that I’ve never known before.
Rebecca Capuano

Rebecca Capuano is the stay-at-home mom of three children (one of whom is in heaven) who also makes attempts at being a homeschooler, writer, photographer, scrapbooker, and truth-seeker. She earned her Master of Social Work degree from East Carolina University, and has worked in a variety of capacities (including group homes, day treatment centers, and public schools) with at-risk children and staff, including developing a therapeutic and educational day treatment center for delinquent youth in Wilmington, North Carolina. She currently resides in Virginia, and has written on a variety of topics for both and Home Educators Association of Virginia. Rebecca believes that family is created by God as the most fundamental institution in society, and she is dedicated to helping families nurture their children to become responsible persons of character and integrity.

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  1. Sharon

    I just read this piece and can fully empathize with you. I had a miscarriage over Thanksgiving weekend of 2011. (What is there in that to be thankful for?!) My third little one would have been 1 year old July 4th of 2013. It is not an easy road to travel and I thank you for your frankness in giving the “sacrifice of praise” as the previous commenter mentioned! God honors praise from the lips of a broken heart!

  2. Becky

    Thank you. The sacrifice of praise is indeed what you are experiencing. Just lifting our heads up, just lifting our hands in praise, can be such an effort, a sacrifice, when you’ve suffered a loss as you have. But know that in your praise, your needs will be met, your broken heart will be comforted, and you will be one step closer to healing.

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