In our hallway is a bi-fold closet door which holds our winter coats and a basket of shoes, along with other weather-related items on the top shelf stored until use. I close this closet door numerous times throughout the day because not a single soul in this house closes it after they use it to get what they need out of it. Let’s not forget to mention that the shoes are usually scattered all over the bottom of the closet and not actually in the basket they’re supposed to be in. It can be seen from the front door, should anyone come knocking, and it always has loose dirt from our shoes in it, plus the shoes often spill out and require a kicking to be put back in so that I may close it.

It’s such an eyesore. A thorn in my side, if you will. One of those things that gets under my skin, making my blood boil, usually. Not today. Not ever again.

Let’s back up a bit to earlier this morning. I jumped awake at almost 7am to realize the alarm didn’t go off at 6:30 as planned. Some how, though, whenever that has happened in the past, to include today, we all seem to rally quite well and we left earlier than scheduled, even- without a hitch.

With the school-aged children off to school, being driven by my husband, my newborn sleeping soundly, my toddler eating a waffle at the table, and my 4 year old not yet awake, it’s at this point I sat down and start muffling through emails and blog posts to read. I came across this one over at Our Daily Big Top that moved me beyond words.

Make moments matter. Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? I read more, and clicked the links and found something I’d seen before that moved me. Today it was begging me to click it, I needed it- Nie Nie’s blog, her sister’s blog, and their story. If you haven’t heard of them before, you’ll want to make time to read it all. Don’t skim. Read. It will bring you to tears, both good and bad.

It wasn’t long before I delivered my youngest that I was introduced to the Kids Protection Plan Kit and how it came about. It took my breath away. The idea that one day, one or both of us could go out for an errand, a date, an appointment or something and that’d be it. Our children would be parentless. No one wants to think that way, but it happens. With my pregnancy hormones, I kinda lost it. I couldn’t stop hugging my babies and couldn’t stop the emotions from flowing along with my tears.

Today those tears started again while reading. No, those children aren’t parentless, not permanently, but they are away from their parents. Those parents are without their children while recovering. I can’t imagine parting from my children to go to the store on my own let alone for how long they’ve been and will continue to be apart from them.

It made me think. And feel. And cry.

Who cares about the paint left by my 4 year old yesterday while he was creating masterpieces? It marks that he was there. Who minds the pen marks my toddler left on the front door, or the crayon on the cabinet door? It marks that she was there. What about the juice spilled or the plates not brought to the sink? Crumbs and wet towels left on the floor? Who cares about them? It marks that they were there, that they are alive, and in my arms. Do I care about those messes? Or how about that eyesore of a closet door? Not me, not anymore. Not to the point I did, anyway.

(Ask me again in a month, and I might care a little bit, but not like I did, like it ruined my day or life or something. But if I ever answer that it does, point me back to this post, pretty please.)

After reading all of these this morning, I went upstairs to make beds to find laundry not brought downstairs as asked, was I angry? No, I was grateful. Grateful I was the one to pick it up and wash it. Grateful that I’m not away from my babies. Grateful for another day of life, of another day to spend with them. I had time left.

It is their story, and other posts I’ve read today that I realize how lucky I am. How lucky we all are, and yet, it’s little daily happenings that keep us from realizing that luckiness, the blessings we have and are given. Happenings that bog us down and make us forget, distracting us all the time. Who cares about the closet door anymore? It isn’t about the closet door, it’s about them. We are so blessed.

Last week I began my Budget Challenge. My husband and I scoured our old grocery receipts, compiled a master list of prices on everything we buy and found ways to trim so much off of our almost unbelievably high grocery bill. We then took those prices and budgeted out just how much, to the penny, each meal we cook costs us to make it. We realized some meals were extravagantly high, and some were undeniably cheap. While doing this, we were learning to trim down not only items on our budget and meal plan accordingly, but to cut down overuse and misuse as well. I actually found myself talking myself out of snacking on this here, or taking that extra portion there, instead of overindulging. I might be trimming my budget and my waistline with this challenge.

During this trimming and talking myself out of eating extra, I realized how lucky I am to have the choice to cut back, to have the ability to even eat at all. There are some that don’t have full cupboards or fridges, or money with which to feed themselves or their families on a daily basis. It was still fresh on my mind from having blogged about poverty here. No, we may not “well off” or “well to do”, but we make ends meet, my kids have enough to spread about their rooms in chaos, and I generally consider our needs ‘met’.

We are just so very lucky. I need to start remembering that more often. Today was my uber reality check.

Leave it to my youngest, the last to be born to our family, to be the hardest and most challenging. His birth was by no means a normal one, but it’s really no fault of his own. But since it’s been a series of neverending happenings; the hospital staff feeling they needed to test his blood sugar since they felt he was “big” at 8lbs 13 ounces; my son developing an infection from his circumcision which wasn’t healing properly, requiring the doctor to rip off the plastibell (and the small piece of skin still holding it onto him… I kid you not,my husband nearly passed out); his irritableness and inability to pass gas well enough to not leave him hurting daily. He needs constant rocking, soothing, bouncing, dancing, and absolutely hates to be worn in a wrap or mei tai, which leaves my arms sore and my husband’s legs (since he bounces from his legs) aching and our bodies screaming at us by day’s end. Let’s not forget there are 5 other children we’re raising and caring for amidst this.

Despite the absolute exhaustion of it all, he is the most beautiful thing imaginable. We are all so ridiculously in love with his sweet face, his chubby cheeks and smooth skin, his boyish grunts and noises and the cute way he sneezes and almost speaks to us.

We are so lucky we were blessed to create him, birth him, and bring him home to our family to share and enjoy as long as we live.

We are so lucky to have our toddler, who, despite the hurricane temperament she seems to have, like the Tazmanian Devil wearing pink, creating a whirlwind of messes around and behind her as she spins from room to room, her sweet smile, her baby words, her smushy kisses and giggles and overall yumminess genuine to her, we are so blessed to have her and share her and love her.

We are so lucky to have our brilliant four year old who, despite his baby-like tendencies in expressing his anger (aka, whining and screaming like a banshee when something happens he dislikes), his blonde curliness, his gestures of love and cuddles and huge bright eyes which melt you in less than a millisecond, his way with mispronounced words and wild imagination and story-telling, blessings abound with him.

Our 8 year old daughter- being sweet enough to give you a toothache- with her wavy blonde tresses and her way of being so pink, so girly, yet attracting dirt like PigPen faster than a speeding bullet, her craftiness and eagerness to please and love and always this happy ‘way’ about her, her huge love for us and fondness for her siblings and need to help with any and everything, I can’t count how blessed we are to have and enjoy her.

Our son is like Superman in an 8 year old’s body, super fast, super smart to the point of being gifted (we think), neverending imagination, naturally good at everything he tries, loveable, caring to a fault, emotional yet boyish at the same time, crafty, yearning to learn and explore, sport-minded yet will pick me flowers, we are beyond blessed to have him in our lives.

Our newly turned teenager – who we are SO lucky to be somewhat child-like still and not wanting the older-teenaged things most of her peers are interested in (boys, clothes, cussing, hating their parents) – exudes a quietness about her, reserved, compassionate, loving, somewhat clumsy but so very girl-next-door-ish, smart, funny, artsy yet can’t put matching clothes together to save her life, the ultimate older sister and destined-to-be good mother, luck isn’t word enough.

Last, but in no way possible, the least – my husband. My beautiful, compassionate, charming, romantic storybook-kind-of husband who is like a dream I don’t want to wake from. His ability to be so sweet and yet go to work as a soldier, to then come home and snuggle his children in a manly yet tender way. He is my my rock, my breath and life, I am not whole without him. Without any of them I would be a shell of myself.

It might not have been something I had thought about everyday, how truly thankful I should be for how much I have, but it will be now. I will never forget it, I might just need a little reminding once in a while.

And in the meantime, I will stop viewing the messes as the children wanting to see mommy sprout more grey-hair and realize it’s merely a reminder of their presence, they’re existence, their need for me and our guidance to teach them the right way.

I won’t huff and puff and clench my fist and look up and wonder why. I know why, and I’m thankful. Thank you for them, their messes, laundry, dirt and all.

And for the open closet door.

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