This week I feel a surge in gratitude for the following:
A) Girls' Night Out with good friends. The relentlessness of summertime parenting at my house makes a GNO outing to Zupas and the Megaplex make me feel like I've sampled manna and briefly experienced nirvana. I didn't even need that wacky milky/waxy spa treatment-thing Charlize Theron demonstrated in SWATH to feel renewed and rejuvenated (but not exfoliated). Conversation with two darling friends effectively hit the reset button for me to go home and try again at this child-rearing business.
B) My parents, who every summer take Henry to Yellowstone so that he can join in on the fun and memory-making of campfires, hikes, geyser-viewing, and wildlife-watching with his cousins. One of these summers, when we have effectively solved the toileting issues and the other behavior problems which currently beset us, we are going to be able to take all of our children on a full-fledged family road-trip to our nation's oldest and best national park. Until that happens, thank heavens for Lynn and Shirley for including our eldest child in the good times.
C) A handful of wonderful therapists and sitters. I alternately think of these sweet young ladies as "support staff," "adoptive family members," "angels," and "tender mercies." They fill all these rolls, and they effectively enable our family to function. Best of all, they do it with enthusiasm and love for our boys. They don't realize how much I love them for the cheerful service they render to my family.
D) Jack's excellent car behavior. He is buckling his own seatbelt and keeping it on, my friends, which means that he is no longer dancing around the van whilst we streak down the freeway or mooning other drivers when he decides to remove his pants.
E) Truman's overall demeanor. My sister Sarah once said that my family is like a puzzle with each family member possessing different strengths and qualities, which nevertheless fit together perfectly. I love this analogy, not only because it references the autism/puzzle piece connection, but because it really sweetly recognizes that while we are all over the place in terms of age, personalities, and abilities, we are all in this together and somehow it is working. Thankfully, baby Truman fulfills the peacefully sweet and tolerantly flexible piece of our family puzzle.