April is, without a doubt, my favorite month!
The past 30 days have been, without a doubt, my least favorite April in many years.
However, when you are an optimist by nature and you see you're at the final day of your favorite month and you would truly like to finish said month on a high note, you reach for the rainbow to record. (Longest run-on sentence in the world. If any of my former students are reading, I apologize.)
So I thought I'd share with you a few moments from this month where I sensed joy and fulfillment. With such a big family, it's not difficult to find "smile moments." We just need to be careful to notice and record them so they don't slip away like a wisp of wind.
Noah got a new style hair cut for Easter and is very pleased with how grown up he looks. At three and a half, he's quite the little man. "Noni! Noni, do you yike my heya?" Huge grin followed by a coy turn of the chin to maximize Noni's viewing of the special, new style.
"I like it very much," and I reach to touch his white blond head. He suddenly bobs and weaves like a boxer while shouting, "No, don't tosh it, Noni! It will mesh up." Then he squeezes me tightly around the knees and runs off to catch his cousins.
It was my privilege this past week to be part of John and Joy's bedtime ritual with their children. (Joy needed an extra set of hands for bedtime as John was working late and Ava takes up a lot more energy these days.) Joy directed while Noni helped change a diaper, locate pjs, monitor teeth being brushed and so on. I even got to read the Bible story.
My favorite part was "Thankfuls." Just before prayers, everyone says what they're thankful for from the day. "I'm thankful I gotted to go on my feeld twip!" (Abby- 4) "I'm thankful Ava stayed put one more day." (Joy - 38 weeks pregnant) "I'm thankful we got to play outside." (Spencer - 6) "I'm thankful I got to be with you tonight." (Noni - 110 in childhood's eyes)
The children were so quick with their responses and totally natural. It was easy to tell this is part of every bedtime for them. What a wonderful habit it would be for us all as we wrap up each day. To purposefully shift focus from ourselves and to remember that no matter what the day held, there was something to be grateful for.
One of my favorite moments from this month actually happened at the memorial service for Dad Hawley. Grandma had asked our girls to sing like they did for Grandaddy while he was in the hospital. So they put together a hymn medley and practiced while driving to NC.
Cody, Kristin's husband, drove while the girls sang, slept and shared funny memories. By the time they arrived, he felt like he knew everyone even though it was his first visit to Dunn. (The other two husbands stayed home, worked their jobs and took care of the children in order to make the trip easier for their wives. Good men all around!)
The medley was a lovely arrangement of three hymns and during the sound check everyone's voice was strong and clear. But when they started to sing for the memorial, Joy realized they all had cried at some point except Kristin. She had been too busy taking care of everyone else.
They sang all the way through Great Is Thy Faithfulness with rich tones. But just as Kristin started the lead of, "We shall behold Him..." her own tears began to flow. Meagan had stepped away from the microphone to sign that portion of the song. Joy had already started with the harmony notes.
Without missing a beat, sitting in the pew right behind me, Cody started softly singing Kristin's part. It was almost as if he was willing her to have the strength to carry on.
You have to understand that Cody doesn't normally sing. He's the tech guy. The one who puts words on the screen; balances the microphones; creates graphics. He doesn't sing.
It was his heart rushing to the side of his bride in her moment of need. He couldn't physically stand beside her but he could whisper the words and timidly catch matching notes while reaching to encourage the one he loves. And sure enough, after two or three lines, Kristin was able to step back to the mic and continue.
The girls finished strong. Words and melodies from time-honored hymns bringing comfort to the hearts of all those present. And this mama had yet another reason for loving her newest son.
It's true. 2017 didn't bring my favorite April of all time but there were moments in it for me to rehearse with gratitude. And so these are my Thankfuls!