There are some people to whom I owe thanks. In this crazy world of diapers, children tugging on clothes, and toys getting flung everywhere, it can be hard to hang on to my peace and sanity. I don't write as much as I want to--as I need to. I don't eat, sleep, or shower as much as I want to. Conversations with other adults are minimal, usually restricted to five minutes or less snatched with Matthew before someone hollers my name and I must clean up pee, fix a snack, let the dog in, break up an argument, or become a human jungle gym.
I know a lot of this is common to stay-at-home parents, so they will understand what I mean when I say that most days I feel like I'm teetering on the edge of a breakdown. I fantasize about white, sandy beaches and turquoise water, with not a soul in sight, and blessed, blissful silence except for the gentle sound of the waves. I'm hanging on to that dream, and someday I fully intend to whisk Matthew away to an island paradise for a week or so.
For now, however, I'm in the trenches, and there are certain people--quite a few, actually--who make life so much more enjoyable. I want to publicly recognize them, so they know that I see and appreciate them. In no particular order, here are the people who, at this point in time, most frequently help me to smile and laugh:
My parents. You are so welcoming, so thoughtful and inclusive; you treat my stepchildren with the same courtesy you extend to all your grandchildren. You offer to babysit even when you've had a long day and you really should rest. You are generous, offering to pay for so much. You are witty, mild-tempered, gracious, and fun. You love adventure, which is surely where my children got it from.
My in-laws. You have welcomed us in your home, which I know you insist is our home, since we're all in it together. It's never easy to share space with another set of adults, but you have made it enjoyable. You often fix breakfast and coffee for us; you watch the children while I go grocery shopping so I don't have to drag my children through the store. You stay up late listening for small children so Matthew and I can sneak out for a quick date. You take Rowan on excursions to see train shows. You play Candy Crush with Henry, who delights in that special time with you.
Savanna. You are my sister-by-choice, godmother to my children and willing babysitter. You are one of the Very Few non-relatives I allow to watch my children. You snuggle Henry and allow Rowan to pet your hair. (Believe me, I know how difficult that can be.) You bake cookies with me and help me deliver them to UPS. You take on projects so crazy that I can't help but laugh and join in. You write, and help can pears, and then write some more. You are a Slytherin by nature. Shall I go on?
My sisters. I was going to list each of you individually, but I feel like I'd be repeating myself in every paragraph. You are so fun, so adventurous; you make me laugh when we get together. I wish it happened more frequently. You jog with me; you write with me; you have adorable children whom my own children adore. Rowan often asks about Baby F and Baby P. You watch my children when you can, and allow me to watch yours in return. You share pictures and funny quotes, allowing me to share in the joy of your lives even when we don't see each other often.
Julie. You call me, you text, you send cards in the mail. I don't reciprocate nearly as much as I would like to. You show genuine interest in my life and give sound advice. You start me reading really good books like The Sword of Truth. My children adore you with good reason!
Katy. I so enjoy your wit and humor! You make me smile; you let Rowan and Henry snuggle you when you're here. You post videos and memes that brighten my day. You let us borrow your daughter frequently, which is lovely. You share fantastic dragons on my wall.
Noah. You work with a will, even when it's work you'd rather not be doing. You wrestle with Rowan and let me take pictures. You help me in the kitchen and you make really good taco meat. You find hilarious and/or cool videos and share them with me. You also have excellent taste in music.
Richie. You have very strong opinions but are cautious in expressing them. You think before speaking. You brighten Noah's day, which in turn makes me happy. You eat the cookies I make and ask for more, which is the highest compliment a baker can get. You find and play fabulous piano music for me.
Fletcher. You speak with enthusiasm about Transformers, Star Wars, and Skulduggery Pleasant. You drink tea and eat the food I put in front of you. You take Rowan to the park for lightsaber duels, sometimes lasting two hours. You are willing to work when the opportunity is presented. You sit and chat and keep me company while I'm working in the kitchen. You have become an integral part of one of my trios of friends.
Matthew. I had to save you for last, dearest, because I am the most thankful for you. You brighten my days and warm my nights. You retain your fabulous wit and humor in the midst of crippling pain. You text me love notes across the room. You make tea for me in the mornings. You kiss my hand like I'm a fancy lady. You read with Rowan and Henry. You surprise me with Roald Dahl books, then get the audio books from the library. You walk to the pub with me for date nights, even though it's increasingly difficult for you to stand and keep your balance. You compliment me to make me blush like a little girl.
There are so many more people I could mention; ones who chat with me in the park or post humorous things on Facebook. I am thankful for all of my friends; if I had no reason to be thankful, I probably would not stay friends with them! These are the ones who particularly make my life pleasant, when the stresses of the day make me want to curl into a ball and hide for three years. They help me feel alive and human again. When I'm upset about Matthew having to go on disability from work, or all the laundry piled to the ceiling, or trying to reason with my autistic children, or any number of things--these people are my de-stressers. I love you all so much! Thank you for being a part of my life!