Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanking My Blessings

It's Thanksgiving Day here in the US and I feel truly blessed.

I am blessed that both Kara and DD are a part of my life. This is our year to be with Kara on this holiday and she's been at the top of her form. Kara recently turned 8 and we celebrated her birthday this last weekend. It was fun, but also difficult in spots because of the way one of our guests was treating both of the girls. Without going into complete details, DD (Kara's 10 year old sister) ended up in tears, great wracking soul-wrenching sobs of pain caused by the words and actions of said guest. While it had been simmering throughout the party (without my knowledge), the outburst happened as I was trying to corral the kids together to light the candles on Kara's cake. (It's amazing how complicated a child's birthday party can become. Oy!)

So today, four days after the party, Kara and DD were talking about their feelings about this guest, who has been one of DD's closest friends for the last few years. While doing so, they realized they appreciated each other more because of what had happened over the weekend. To explain this to me, they first announced that this friend (who has also had a sleepover with DD the previous weekend) was no longer a part of their band.

Yes, band.

Apparently, said friend had been critical to Kara while they were rehearsing. As I understand it, said friend felt that Kara wasn't singing a song correctly and then proceeded to demonstrate how she wanted it sung...which was, to both Kara and DD's ears, exactly the way that Kara had sung it. DD told her friend to give her sister a break. "After all," she said, "She's only 8 and can't be expected to sing like an 11 year old."

I was so proud of DD for standing up for her sister.

We talked about how they felt about this friend's behavior and DD told me that, when talking to her friend later, her friend admitted that she (the friend) was embarrassed by what had happened. The girls and I talked about how, sometimes, it was hard for people to admit their mistakes and that they did all sorts of things to avoid taking responsibility for them.

And, bless her little heart, Kara held up her her hand and then said, "Like I do."

I was so proud of Kara for being so emotionally honest.

I told both girls what I felt about what they'd just said and all three of us talked about what we each felt about that. (Yes, I'm one of those rare men who speaks about emotions and feelings. Good thing I live in a house filled with females.)

Now, DD and Kara sometimes find themselves at loggerheads, which is (I'm told) to be expected between siblings this close in age. (I was an only child and am directly observing this dynamic for the first time.) In fact, before this weekend, DD very clearly expressed her frustrations in dealing with her little sister. They've been at odds a great deal the last few visits and today's détente was a huge departure from their usual dealings.

Now, I warned them that I wanted to go around the dinner table today and talk about the things that we're thankful for. Oh, I know. It's cheesy, schmaltzy, and totally clichéd. Nevertheless, I feel that this year, of all years, we should think about the things we are grateful for and share them as a family.

Without prompting, Kara said she was thankful for the sister who stood up for her. And DD, without further prompting, said that she was thankful for her little sister. They each spoke about their individual talents and they each spoke lovingly and appreciatively of their individual uniquenesses.

I'm so pleased that DD stood up for her sister. I'm so pleased that Kara recognized behavior in herself that she didn't like to see in others; furthermore, she connected to the fact that she might need to change that behavior. And you know what? I think she'll do it. Not because I pointed it out, but because she recognizes the negative impact it has on others and because she chooses not to inflict such pain.

This is probably the most authentic (as in aware and emotionally honest) thing I've ever heard her say.

DD, on the other hand, has a habit of seeking authenticity, of finding a centered place, and of being emotionally honest with herself...and with us.

And I'm so very blessed because both of my daughters recognize each other as more than just sisters of cicumstance, but sisters in truth, sisters in heart and spirit.

As a father, their connection is very rewarding.

I am also blessed because my wife has truly become my best friend. She openly takes emotional risks with me and she bares her heart, her soul, and her hopes to me. I am blessed because she is emotionally honest with me. She speaks to her happiness and she also shares her pain. She shares her innermost dialog, knowing that I support her completely and love her unconditionally.

Furthermore, she allows me the same freedom...and openly listens to whatever is in my heart or on my mind.

As a husband, my connection with my wife is very rewarding.

I'm also blessed because I have two kitties that are loving, each in their own way, and each loves to spend at least a little bit of time cuddling with me. One wrestles; the other snuggles. They're very cute.

I'm also blessed by the "mooch pooch," who thinks he's (at different times), a kittie, a daughter, and a lap dog. He's a very affectionate pup and would purr, if he could.

I'm blessed in my work because I have a job I'm good at and I enjoy, plus I earn enough to pay my bills, meet my obligations, and still have just a little left for myself. (No, I won't say where I work and I pray that those who know will respect my decision to keep that information outside of this blog. It's not germaine to this work...which is about my life outside of work.)

And I'm blessed because I'm finding a new support network within a larger community, developing relationships and friendships with people who read my words (as well as those of my wife) and comment to keep me honest. Thanks to all of you who have openly commented and my thanks to those who've silently lurked.

I am truly blessed to be surrounded by souls who, like me, strive to treat each other with respect, strive to learn to be the best individual that one can be in this life, and who strive to develop genuine, honest relationships of depth and integrity.

I am truly blessed. Thanks to all of you.

(By the way, today's picture shows a pigrim Kara made in school this year. Oh, sure, it's one of those art projects such as a child makes. But that's what makes it so very special to me.)


Blogger Jane Poe (aka Deborah) said...

Thank you for putting a voice to your blessings and the blessings we share. You are such a lovely person and a wonderful partner. I love, honour and treasure you. x...x, d

7:15 AM  
Blogger The Michael said...

In our Wiccan tradition, I wish bright blessings to you, my friend, and truly enjoy reading of that which brings such light to your life.

Enjoy them while you can......adolescence is right around the corner......hehe.....groan......

4:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's wonderful to validate children by appreciating their efforts. It's one of the things that are so (harking back to the 80's) awesome about you.--Pet

5:37 PM  
Blogger paris parfait said...

What a wonderful, life-affirming post! It's wonderful to hear that the sisters are making necessary adjustments and appreciating each other. As for the rest of you, it's lovely to read about a happy family, with many blessings! Thanks for sharing your lovely stories.

10:02 AM  

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