I’m thankful for the laugh of a child

Published 12:50 am Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Every night before I go to bed, I say a simple prayer, “Dear Lord, please keep my girls safe, happy and healthy.”

It’s simple, but I think coveys the importance of the most important people in my life.

Without them, life just wouldn’t be any fun at all. It’d be cheaper because I wouldn’t have had to buy 354,987 diapers, 14,207 Happy Meals or a bazillion pairs of shoes, jeans and hair bands — but not as much fun.

When you’re a new parent, you are thankful that you’re the only one (let’s hope) that noticed when you accidentally left the house with baby yuk down the back of your shirt.

As you gain a bit of experience, you become thankful when you realize you can comfort them when they fall and that your child realizes they can always count on you.

By the time they make to toddler age, you’re thankful that you haven’t strangled them for asking “why” a billon, trillion times or for smearing grape jelly all over the walls.

Then later, when you’re a parent, you are thankful when you realize it’s okay if their ponytails are not only two different sizes but also not strategically placed parallel to each other on the head.

And you are thankful when the other people at church think it’s funny when your girls show up to church in mismatched shoes even though you told them explicitly to switch those things around before they got in the car.

By the time they make it to their early teens (and I must confess that I don’t have much experience in this area) I’d think that as a parent, you become thankful when they come to you with their problems and ask advice. I understand that this may be wishing a bit on my part, but one can hope — another thing we can be thankful for.

Once they hit 16, I would expect parents become thankful when they hear the keys clink in the bowl next to the front door and for the occasional hug their almost grown child doles out.

By the time they make it to 18, I bet parents are once again thankful they haven’t strangled that child for asking, “Can I have some money?” or “Can I borrow the car?” a billion trillion times.

Finally, when it’s all said and done and the nest is empty, we, as parents, can say we are thankful for every wonderful, crazy, off-the-wall, sweet and infuriating minute spent with our children.

And as this day of giving thanks fast approaches, I would encourage everyone to take a moment and reflect on everything we have to be thankful for — a roof over our heads, food to eat and a family to love.

And besides, I’m sure that before it really is all said and done, those kids we’ve got will give us grandchildren.

Then we sit back and laugh and say, “Thank goodness for it all.”