Real Life Mama: Taking time to be thankful

Life can be broken up into many seasons. There’s childhood, teenage years, college, 20s, 30s, 40s etc. Sometimes, they can be broken down even further – the first part of our 20s, losing a loved one, or having a baby – all different seasons.

A memory and a feeling — sometimes multiple — usually connect you with each season, regardless of how long or short it was. Sometimes, it can be a scent – like the pear body spray we were obsessed with in 6th grade. Sometimes it can be a sound – like hearing Kenny G taking me back to all those Christmases of wrapping presents with my grandma. Regardless, most seasons spill out internal emotions that place you there and yet, we usually do not realize it until the season has passed.

For a few years now, in a not so hot season of my life, I longed for a feeling of stability – normalcy, if you will. Like I knew in my heart that one day, I would have that again, it just seemed too far away. Like I had to constantly remind myself that we just needed to get through this day, week or month and a sense of “normal” would find us again eventually.

Then one day in the last couple of weeks, it hit me, and it hit me hard; I was no longer chasing stability and normal – I was living it. It was truly like I woke up one day and remembered that I was no longer longing for it, begging for it to just feel “right” again, because it already did! I received the feeling that I had been (probably impatiently) waiting for.

And this week, as I was thinking about Thanksgiving coming up and all the material things that I am ever so grateful for, I couldn’t stop counting how many blessings I have that are immaterial and truly taken for granted so many days of the year.

Yes, I am so thankful for God, my baby girls, my parents and sisters, Lee and bonus babies, my house and car and all the toys that drive me crazy. But, more than ever, I am thankful for the peace of mind that I have in this life that I am living and delivering to my babies.

A life that I am proud of – that I feel like I belong in. One that doesn’t feel like climbing mountains every day and figuring out how to muddle through. A life that may seem repetitious and boring but oh so lively and entertaining. A life full of love, opportunities and well, normalcy and stability.

A life for my girls of being cared for, loved on, and shown the glory of Jesus day in and day out. And while those things never stopped in our last season of surviving the in between of seasons together, that thought of “surviving” has surpassed.

We are no longer surviving, we are thriving. We are home. In the same home that we have been in their entire lives, and yet, more home than ever.

And so this Thanksgiving, amidst so much to be thankful for, I can honestly say that I am most thankful for this new season of life that we have turned the corner on. There’s clarity and calmness – peace and hope. There’s knowing what each day will look like – even with chaotic schedules between dance, basketball and church choir. It is all familiar again – no longer just going through the motions – but actually allowing ourselves to feel again.

And it feels good. So so good. Just like our God.

As we head into the busy holiday season, I invite you all to also not just look around at all that you have or desire to receive but instead look inside and really see what is there – maybe something you longed for, prayed for and never realized you received it because you just forgot that you longed for it.

You know, it’s like when you have a cold, complete with a stuffy nose and you just wish for it to go away – and one day you wake up clear, and well, that’s normal so you forget just how miserable you were with that stuffy nose. Those kind of things. What are your stuffy noses that are now clear?

This season that my girls and I have walked into – this stability and normalcy – this is my cleared up, once-stuffy nose. This is a season that I will not soon forget how badly I longed for. This is a season that I will celebrate, breathe in fully and remember.

But most importantly, this is a season that I am, already, ever so thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her daughters and writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.