Thanksgiving… Normally a time to surround ourselves with a congregation of family and friends, will undoubtedly be a bit different this year. However, the richness of this season of gathering isn’t completely lost as we pivot as a community in an effort to take care with one another. Several of our writers took a moment to write down their experiences with gratefulness even during this year of uncertainty. Happy Thanksgiving!
As we press into this season of gratitude, let’s take a moment to pause, to reflect, to embrace the gift of friendship that fills our lives. Whether you’re awaiting motherhood, a brand new mama, or you’ve been raising littles for years, I encourage you to press into the practice of gratitude for just a moment. Close your eyes, think about the friendships that have come in and out of your life, how they’ve blessed you, taught you, encouraged you, grown you, and been there for you through every season. While motherhood is a beautiful, lovely, soul-filling adventure, it is also heavy, mundane, and exhausting work; work that we were never intended to do alone. As humans, and especially as mamas, I believe that we were created for connection, with a deep need to be seen, known, and loved.
Our darling son is almost four months old, and with the start of my own motherhood journey, this gift of friendship has filled my heart in countless ways. It has created space to celebrate joys, walk through many trials, welcome all the tears and laughter through the rollercoaster of emotions that motherhood brings, and has allowed me to simply embrace the gift of being understood by the hearts of women who have cared so deeply for us and our story.
With this start to motherhood, these friendships have already begun to change and evolve, friendship looking different from years past, with less time and less energy, as our hearts are devoted to raising littles. I’m learning the art of embracing the gift that each friendship holds, whether it’s daily text conversations, playdates every few months, video messaging apps, or reaching out just when we need a little extra prayer, encouragement, or wisdom during hard seasons. Each friendship has the ability to gift our hearts uniquely, whether it’s connection, grace, encouragement, laughter, celebration, or simply being.
The Gift of Connection
Here’s to the friends walking through it all with us, to those who have gone before us, and to the friends who are following after us as we share in all the highs and lows of motherhood. Whether it’s exchanging conversations about diaper rash, learning how to catch a “let-down” while nursing, becoming homeschooling teachers in the midst of a pandemic and sending that quick “how do I teach long division?” text, or sending teens off on their first dates. We are all in this together, doing the very best we can. I promise you there are mamas who are walking in your same shoes; mama, you are never alone.
The Gift of Grace
Here’s to the friends who are constant in their love and quick to forgive, because we are all learning and growing in this journey of motherhood. Whether it’s showing up 30 minutes late because “baby time” is a real thing, venting too long about our frustrations in a difficult season of parenting, or completely spacing a Facetime call we had with a long-distance friend. Our hearts are blessed beyond measure when a friend responds to our “I’m sorry,” with a simple “I love you;” mama, you are deserving of grace upon grace.
The Gift of Wisdom
Here’s to the friends who offer us insight, wisdom, and abundant encouragement when we are struggling to find answers. Whether it’s wondering about our child’s development, trying to find a solution to a new normal in motherhood, sharing insight about sleep training, nursing, temper tantrums, or teaching our children how to be kind, brave, and full of empathy to the world around them. We are grateful for the friends who share their stories, and gently offer us the opportunity to learn; mama, we are in this together.
The Gift of Laughter
Here’s to the friends who lead us to laughter in the trenches of motherhood, who show us light in the darkness, who cause us to pause, breathe, and find the little joys in this wild adventure of raising our children. Whether it’s sending pictures of baby blowouts, sharing stories of bath-time conversations, or reading aloud a child’s writing to a friend. We are all in this together, raising littles who are always unpredictable and never allow our lives to go according to plan; mama, there is joy in the chaos.
The Gift of Celebration
Here’s to the friends who celebrate, embrace and share in our victories, to those who walk alongside us, cheering us on every step of the way. Whether it’s celebrating a newborn sleeping through the night, a baby taking their first steps, or our child winning an award at school for showing kindness to a friend. We are grateful for the mamas who enter into the fullness of our story and celebrate our children without reservation; mama, the work you are doing is worthy of celebration.
The Gift of Simply Being
Here’s to the friends who love without expectation, who welcome us in with every ounce of our mess. Whether it’s showing up with our tear-stained cheeks, clothes covered in spit-up, and three-day-old messy buns, or to those who never judge the screen time, snack pouches, and toddler tantrums that fill our days. We are learning, and growing, and trying our best; mama, you are welcome to show up, just as you are.
In learning to embrace each friendship in my own life, I truly believe the best gift that we can give, to both their hearts and ours, is the gift of not expecting every friend to hold every one of these gifts in our lives. When we can embrace our friendships, just as they are, setting all expectations aside, we can embrace the gifts that each friendship uniquely lavishes on our life. It’s work to step back, to fully embrace the “as is,” to choose contentment with the way our friendships change and grow. But, it’s in this practice of gratitude, of no longer wondering what could be, and embracing what is, that we find that contentment in every friendship set before us. Each friendship is a gift, and serves a purpose in our life, for a season, a reason, or a lifetime. We begin to find freedom to let our friends be fully who they are and we allow ourselves to be fully who we are in every one of our friendships.
Let’s embrace the practice of gratitude and cherish the gift of friendship that fills our lives.