Thursday, October 29, 2015


Monday was a surprise.

Just a normal Monday. Nothing on the calendar (except, of course, "The Voice").

Nothing much for dinner (except for homemade Butternut Squash Soup and some salad).

Really, nothing going on at all (except for the usual homework/laundry/Monday stuff).

Until Daughter #1 bursts through my front door all smiles (as usual) and a huge, “Hello!”

Suddenly my day was no longer just . . . usual.

She plops down on a stool at the counter and begins to recount her really terrible, awful, horrible, no good, very bad day. (It really was.)

This kid. Even though her day had cost her some serious money (hello, new brakes!) and a doctor visit, she still burst through the door as she always does—with an effervescent “Hello!”

She reminds me that I am blessed.

Daughter #1 leaves for a dinner appointment, and daughter #2 calls: “I’m coming for dinner.”

Yes you are, sweet girl. Even though it’s just soup and salad and an ordinary Monday night, you are always welcome to drop in and eat with us.

Suddenly my day is getting even better.

I quickly shout to Daughter #3 who's upstairs: “Hey, Caroline’s coming for dinner and it’s her half birthday today! Would you please run to the store to get a cake?”

All hands on deck now. Julia whisks away with her keys and my debit card.

Suddenly we’re having a party.

B comes home, the girls walk in, and just as the four of us are making our way to the table, Kate glides back in the door having just finished her appointment.

Suddenly, the five of us are standing around the kitchen island, each one talking over the other (I swear we should have been Greek, or at the very least Italian) and I have an out-of-body moment. Everyone is shouting to be heard, the noise level is just about at peak capacity--even the dog is excited!--and I realize that we are here


All five of us. 

Completely unexpected.

And I smile because I know, in that brief moment, how very blessed I am.


We have a joke in our house about the #blessed thing on Instagram. We’re nothing if not a little bit snarky and the “blessed” hashtag really brings out the full-on snark sometimes.

Got an A on a paper? #blessed

No traffic today? #blessed

Hey! Some mom on Facebook got her kid to use the big potty! #blessed

My Christmas shopping is done before Halloween! #blessed

(And also? #ihateyou)

Sometimes I feel like telling people like the guy in The Princess Bride did: “Idonotthinkthatmeanswhatyouthinkitmeans.”

But these people standing around my kitchen island all talking over each other, competing for each other’s attention, telling about our days?

That’s a stop-in-mid-sentence-and-hover-over-this-one-for-a-while moment.

I know I am blessed in so many ways, but I don’t equate blessing with material goods or my behavior or even the behavior of my kids. In fact, the idea of #blessing is sometimes confusing to me, elusive even. I’m not sure I fully get it.

I know I don’t always see it. (My sarcasm assures me of that.)

But every once in a while I am able to step out of myself and realize the greatest blessings are right in front of me—a wonderfully impromptu family gathering on a random and very usual Monday night with the four most important people in the world to me.

It makes me want to cry I am so #blessed.


Here’s something else I thought about later that night after all of my people had gone back to their respective homes and bedrooms: you mamas who don’t feel so #blessed right now.

Those of you who are scrambling to come up with Halloween costumes two days before the event. (Just one of the 1,656 reasons I hate Halloween.)

Those of you who just cannot get your three-year-old to use that big potty.

Those of you whose husbands put in long hours at work and come home tired and maybe a little bit cranky and who just might need a night off from putting the kids to bed so you step in and try your best to be cheerful about it.

Those of you who tried to scrape together something resembling “dinner” when you are two days away from payday and not much left in the pantry or in the bank account.

I get it all.

How many mamas are going to bed worn out, depleted, wondering if anyone will ever notice all the work you do or if these kids will always be so draining or if you’ll ever get a good night’s sleep?

Can I just whisper some encouragement in your ear?

They do notice, whether they tell you or not.

They won’t always drain you. In fact, some day they will thank you.

You will sleep again.

And one day, when you least expect it, on a random Monday night, your beloved ones (who are, by now, potty trained) will light up your kitchen and you’ll have an out of body experience and you’ll realize that your entire life has been one very huge, totally amazing, incredibly undeserved #blessing.


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  1. Yes, yes, and triple YES! That's #yes. Oh, Shelly, I love this post.

    I agree with you about that hashtag. . . oh, my goodness. Honestly. But oh, we are all indeed blessed, and we have within our power to bless on another, as well--a priestly function that we should not neglect.

    God bless us, every one. Love you!

    1. Oh now, THAT is a sweet blessing, too, friend. Thank you!

  2. Yes. It happens so rarely at my house because 3 of my kids live far away. But it is the best feeling in the world to all be together with all of us in our own "roles" that we know and love (and sometimes hate). It is truly blessing in the truest sense of the word.

  3. Oh Shelly that is awesome for you!! Believe me, I understand how rare and precious "TOGETHER" really is. And the difference between a #blessing, and a true gift from God. I, like you, am very very blessed. Is my life perfect, of course not? Does everything always go my way, uh nope. But God has truly blessed me in all the ways that are important. And right now, at your suggestion, I'm saying a pray for all those mamas out there who truly don't feel blessed. Life isn't easy, and it sure seems like some have it much harder than others. But God . . . . . May you have a wonderful wonderful day. I always enjoy your posts . . . especially the ones about your beautiful daughters and God's blessings in your life. If I didn't already have a commitment, I would drive to Chicago to attend your IF Gathering!!! Maybe another time :). I'd love to meet in person!! Blessings my friend!!!

  4. Wonderful, reading your post I could just picture you all around the 'eating bar' sharing life together. What a great story.