Most mornings, or at least on the ones where the stars align and all three boys spend more time brushing their teeth than battling their need to — after they (grumpily) make their beds and (begrudgingly) complete their morning chores and (ravenously) devour half of the contents of our refrigerator for a breakfast that will only hold them over for about an hour — we attempt to write entries in our gratitude journals.
Gratitude is huge for our team, and Super-Spouse and I decided long ago that it was one of the core values we wanted to emphasize and instill in our home. In our experience, it’s the antidote to entitlement. It’s the key to joyful living. And it’s that thing that keeps us grounded and, even in the midst of unideal circumstances, reminds us just how blessed we are.
So every day [that we can get all three boys in underwear before it’s time to leave for school], each boys sits down at the island counter and lists at least one thing that he is grateful for on that day.
Although they may contain similar themes, every day, the gratitude entries of the olders change.
Superhero 1 is most often grateful for sushi, books, Star Wars toys and road races.
Superhero 2 is most often grateful for animals — both ours and others — and various people.
But nearly every single day since we started journaling our thanks two years ago, the daily entry of Superhero 3 has remained mostly the same.
This little boy who was an orphan just three years ago doesn’t write daily that he is grateful for his toys — ones that work, ones that are his own. Although he could.
He doesn’t write that he is grateful for clothes — ones he no longer has to share on rotation with 30 other children in his age group classroom. Although he could.
He doesn’t write that he is grateful for outdoor playtime after coming from a large city’s welfare center that didn’t have more than a cement square and slide for the children to use for exercise. Or back yards. Or family excursions. Or trips to the zoo. Although he frequently tells us he is.
Nearly every day, this very special orphan-no-more — the one we can’t even picture outside of our arms or our home — writes or draws a picture of his FAMILY.
Yesterday, Superhero 2, who thought that Superhero 3 might just not know how to write or spell another word, lovingly asked him if he wanted to write something different in his gratitude journal.
“I’ll even help you spell it!” he offered cheerfully.
Superhero 3, pointing to the words with the thumb that, multiple surgeries and 14 casts ago used to be his pointer finger, adamantly said no.
“THIS is what I’m grateful for.”
Then he turned to me.
“Mama, can I be grateful for family every day?”
I teared up, taking in the bigness of that moment.
“EVERY DAY, baby,” I told him. “Because EVERY DAY we are grateful for YOU.”
#wecouldhavemissedthis #changetheorphanstory #operationorphanwarrior