On any given day, there’s not a whole lot I can be sure of. I don’t know if I’ll blow a fuse over another in a long line of glasses of spilled milk or lose my cool because I’m being touched too much or the whining short-circuited my nerves or my blood sugar is low. I don’t know if I’ll blame a child for something that was my fault or lash out in resentment because I’m too focused on myself and not enough on the souls who have been entrusted to my care.
But this I know for sure: every prayer for patience, every apology I offer my children with hugs and a fist wreathing the heart, brings me one step closer to Heaven.
On any given day, I don’t know if my toddler will have a tantrum or eat his vegetables or let me work or conk his head right before naptime, causing me to wonder if he’s sleeping or falling into a coma.
But this I know for sure: at some point, he will bowl me over with cuteness so irresistible that it steals my breath for one perfect moment.
On any given day, I don’t know if my kindergartener will break a toy or knock his brother into the wall or infuriate his sister by getting in her face and roaring.
But this I do know for sure: at some point, he will grow thoughtful, and when he opens his mouth, I will catch a fleeting, spine-tingling glimpse of the mysterious realm of his vivid, intelligent imagination.
On any given day, I may be overwhelmed by the number of basic uncertainties about my chromosomally-gifted daughter’s future: if she’ll be allowed to participate in music and the arts, if she will be made fun of, excluded or abused, even if she’ll ever actually learn to talk.
But this I know for sure: in those rare moments when she throws her arms around me and squeezes tight, I know it doesn’t matter if she can talk; she can tell me everything I really need to know without any words at all.
On any given day, I don’t know if my kids will keep the faith, if they’ll resist the cultural pressures of drugs, sex and self-gratification. I can’t be sure that my marriage will weather the storms yet unseen, or that we’ll reach old age together. I can’t know if the words I type will ever have an impact beyond the hundred hits a day on my blog and a few magazine articles, essays and liturgical songs. I can’t know if I’ll ever lose those few extra pounds I’ve been layering on with every baby. I can’t know if I’ll sleep well, if my back will hold up another day or seize up into pain that makes me cry out at the smallest exertion.
But this I know for sure: nothing lasts forever except that which I have in abundance.
And that is cause for gratitude, indeed.