And then I realized how totally stupid and fatuous that would be, when I have so much to be grateful for. Especially reading other people's blogs and e-mails and hearing about their work troubles, family troubles, health troubles, friend troubles: some of them just incredibly painful and frightening situations. I've had a few deeply upsetting experiences in the past myself, admittedly, and I'm not expecting that the future will be smooth and trouble-free either. But I still have to consider myself incredibly blessed.
For one thing, when I hear about so many broken and messed-up family situations, I can't help but think of what a loving and godly home I grew up in, and what a wonderful example of marriage and parenthood my mother and father both set for me; unlike so many people who have good cause to hate and resent their parents, I have a terrific relationship with both of mine and love and admire them deeply. If I could, I'd clone my parents and give a pair to everybody I know.
And there's my husband, who is almost nothing like the kind of man I expected I'd marry, but about ten times better than anything I could have expected. We've been married three and a half years and never had a single serious conflict -- which is not to say we never differ or never have times when we're feeling grumpy and unreasonable, but that by the Lord's grace we've managed to handle our problems without taking them out on each other, or holding grudges. I've no doubt of his love for me, nor (as far as I can tell) he of mine for him -- even though it's a very comfortable and low-key sort of thing that, while far from dull, would never play well on television.
Then there's this cute little boy sleeping in the next room as I write, who sometimes drives me to distraction with his general toddler-ness (including the inability to leave Mommy alone for more than 5 minutes at a time), but whom I still love and enjoy far more than I ever imagined possible. I never was keen on children for their own sake, especially not babies and toddlers. I used to joke that I wanted to give birth to teenagers, because at least they are capable of understanding reason. But really I thought to myself that if I found out I couldn't have children at all, that would be perfectly okay. No dealing with diapers and drool and sleepless nights -- fine by me! I had a hard time imagining myself as a mother, particularly a good one; and I used to say to my own Mom, "I have no maternal instincts." Needless to say, Mom mocks me endlessly about that one now. :) I'm still not gushy or even particular about other people's children, but I'm so glad that I had Nicholas, and I wouldn't trade him for anything. (We will reserve judgment on the baby-in-progress, although I think it's safe to assume that I will feel the same way about him or her once he or she arrives.)
Anyway, thinking about these things (and so many more besides) just reminds me that I have nothing, absolutely nothing, to complain about -- and indeed a great deal to be thankful for. So here I am, being thankful. And hoping it doesn't sound like I'm gloating over the people I mentioned before, who are really suffering and struggling at the moment, because that isn't how I mean it at all. It's just that when you hear so many stories of sorrow and pain, sometimes it helps to hear that there are other stories out there as well.
Or at least I hope it does.