Some days it's hard to be thankful for things that don't appear to be all that magnificent on first glance. Today, on the eve of Thanksgiving, I have questioned many things that have happened to me, all within the last few hours.
Tonight, we had a family date night. We all went for pizza, prior to attending a church service/choir performance that my son was performing in. I had showered, blown out my hair, applied makeup, and dressed fairly decently. After all, it was a night out on the town!
Since it was cold outside, I went to gather my coat and gloves. Not surprisingly, NOBODY lost all the matching pairs of gloves in our house! There wasn't a matching pair to be had, let alone a nice isotoner or two! I took an unmatched thin pair, but was embarrased and irritated. I had to put one glove on one hand, and hide the other one in my pocket!! I thought “Why can't these children keep track of ANYTHING”?!
After eating, and after dropping our son off at rehearsal, we headed to the McDonald's across the street for a treat! We had a whole hour to waste before the performance. We were not in the safest part of town, and I noticed my children's eyes wandering to things that didnt seem normal to them. The kids ordered ice cream and Renee and I coffee. We found some seats against the wall, where we could see what was happening around us. The place wasnt busy, so there were ALOT of seats to choose from. The largest table was for 4, so I sat at a table by myself, and allowed the rest of them to sit together.
Not long after we sat down, an older black gentleman came hobbling our direction. He seemed to be disabled in some way. His speech was poor, and his eyes couldn't focus. He, of course, sat down directly next to me. I asked if I took his seat and he said “No, you're fine! Then he just ate his sandwich. Let me remind you, that there were seats everywhere. My children weren't completely staring, but they looked over frequently wondering what the hell was happening.
A couple of times he attempted to talk to me. He told me my nail polish was pretty, wished us happy holidays, and asked where I worked. He never asked for my SSN, so I thought I was fairly safe. The real kicker though, was when he dropped his napkin on the floor, right between us. He simply reached down to get it, failing miserably. His head was in my lap for what seemed like minutes, and finally my youngest daughter couldn't take it anymore….She giggled…. and I smiled at her. I thought “Why does this always happen to me”?!
Finally, it was time for the performance. It was a beautiful church, and I couldn't wait to see my son perform. I could just picture that little angels voice bellowing over everyone in that choir. He looked so cute, minus his short, lint filled black pants. His group was going to sing three songs during the service! Imagine my surprise when their little voices filled the church from the balcony! We couldn't even see them perform from where we sat. I started to laugh.
We weren't even planning to stay for the service. Now, not only were we staying for the service, we couldn't see our son! I thought “What is the point of taking your child to a performance that you can't even watch”?
The pastor gave a small sermon about being thankful for what we have, even if it doesn't seem ideal. We are lucky in so many ways, yet we choose to complain. It resonated with me, and it had all of my kids' attention too. They were smiling as they put money in the offering dish….all of which went to feed the needy people in our community.
On the way home, we discussed how glad we were that we stayed for the sermon. Then, I rethought the questions I asked myself earlier.
I changed my mind about being irritated about my mismatched gloves. Actually, I felt thankful that I even had gloves….and a coat…and clothes for that matter.
I changed my mind about the odd man at McDonald's. I was thankful that my children were able to witness their parents being nice to a man that was different than us. Their eyes are always watching how to act, and I hope this changed their outlook on the man too. Plus I was thankful to learn that that man had a family to spend his holiday with, he had a full belly, and he lived in a home nearby.
I changed my mind about needing to see my son perform. By not seeing him, we were able to hear their little voices fill the church, without the distraction of cameras and phones. Also, we were able to hear the message of the preacher, which is what got me to this newfound attitude in the first place.
It was so cold when we got in the car, but soon it would become warm. We were lucky to have a working car and seat heaters. We turned the heat on high, and sang together all the way home. Before we knew it, it was toasty warm in there. So warm, that we had to turn the heat down.
One last question entered my mind before reaching home. Why is it that every time the car is heated up like a sauna, does one child have to expell the nastiest, smelliest flatus…. Bad enough to induce dry heaves?
I guess I'll just stay thankful for heat! 🙂