the gift of presence: how to make a kid feel loved

Proof that physical presence is one of the most important ways to express love to a child: this entry I came across in my Uganda journal.

August 18th, 2014

Tonight at bedtime Macy (6 years old) prayed, “thank you for Tyra and Sophie- that they love us so much that they wanted to come to Uganda with us to help with the adoption.”

She knew we were loved by their presence with us. There’s something to that, I think.

Amen.

Sophie and Tyra sneak in some quality time with the kids before bed time in Uganda. These ladies are such a gift to us.

on being. thankful.

Learning this year that living with a spirit of Thanksgiving doesn’t mean dismissing painful and difficult realities or seeing everything through rose-colored glasses. That Thanksgiving and sadness, as it turns out, are not mutually exclusive. That sometimes the things for which we are thankful are also things that we grieve and miss, and things that have come into our lives with some sort of loss attached.

Attempting today to embrace the beauty and brokenness, the nostalgia and longing, the laughter and sadness that seem to be especially muddled and poignant at this time of year. Figuring out how to somehow hold them all at once without dismissing the depth and reality of each of them. Finding there, in that place of being fully present and aware of it all, a thanksgiving that is weighty and, for me, more true.

Thinking today of our Ritz-family (missing your presence around our table and the way your warm hospitality always made every celebration more savory), my grandparents in Vermont (may your last Thanksgiving in the home you have built move extra slow and be extra sweet- how I wish we could be there too!), of Cora and Elias’ family in Uganda (how I miss you on behalf of those kids and how I long to share a table and daily life with you, how I long for your every need to be met and your bellies and hearts to be full of every good thing), of our beloved Dicksons (you are loved and missed more than you know), of all those I love so much and wish I could celebrate with today, of those of you who are hurting and questioning and alone (come to our table!), and of those who have suffered loss this year and who just might be finding it hard to “feel” thankful. May all of our “Thanksgivings” today be more about embracing reality and being present in whatever situation we find ourselves and in that, may we discover the gift of today.

reality check

It’s late and I need to go to bed, but I thought it should be documented that tonight I folded my first loads of laundry for 4 kids. 4 different sets of shorts, shirts, pants and pi’s. 4 little bodies that I get to dress and care for. A bit daunting at first (SO many small clothes to sort and fold and put away), but then, I remembered: this is a milestone I have been looking forward to for quite some time, and one that I have written about on this very blog. This means good news.

Feeling very thankful as I head off to bed…