Two years ago we were spending Thanksgiving in the pediatric intensive care unit. Mia fell down and then suddenly had a huge hematoma. Before her eyes we watched her body be covered in unexplained bruises and dark red spots. At the hospital we found out that she had no platelets left. Over the course of days they diagnosed her and worked on treating it. This all happened the day after we arrived at our new duty station. So we found ourselves with a sick child in a new city with no friends or family celebrating Thanksgiving and just being grateful that our children were alive and we were together.
And so at this time of year when we are being grateful for our blessings, I think back to that scary time and to the lessons I was reminded of during it…
I am thankful for my faith. Riding in the ambulance with lights flashing, Mia looked up at me and said, “Don’t worry, I’m not scared. I know that God is with me.” And she was right. As our minds started to fill with panic our hearts were filled with faith. God doesn’t make us sick and He doesn’t necessarily heal our body, what God does is walk beside us, loving us, giving us strength and preparing us for the way ahead no matter what it might be.
And I am thankful for the love with in our family. Zoe would not leave Mia’s side. When they wheeled Mia up to her room, Zoe rode next to her hugging her. She laid in her bed, played with her, brought her food, and cried when Mia screamed in pain. She was everything a sister could be. I am proud of both of my daughters. And I am proud of the family we have created and the love we all share for each other.
I am thankful for our friends and family, for all those who love me and love my children and love my husband. People may be far away at times but our lives are filled with loved ones who will pray for us during our sorrows and celebrate with us during our times of joy.
And I am thankful for the generosity shown to us by both friends and strangers. That Thanksgiving one of the doctor’s arrived with his family and a Thanksgiving dinner for us. It was an act of such pure kindness I still tear up thinking of it. But I am grateful not just for grand gestures like that, but for every time a stranger held the door open for us, gave my family a smile, picked up a dropped cup. People are kind and we need to remember that.
I am thankful that my daughter is healthy again, yes. But I am also thankful that our family survived the challenge and that we have learned and loved through it. It has been a reminder to me of all that we should truly be thankful for–faith, love, friendship, and kindness.