Ten years ago this month, we became parents. We’d barely finished renovations on our farm house when it was time to bring our firstborn into the world. Just a few weeks earlier we’d learned our child was breech which meant a scheduled C-section delivery.
Our Missouri family came and celebrated Thanksgiving in our home. My mom cooked most of the meal in Missouri and brought it down to us. I don’t know if it actually counts as the first Thanksgiving dinner I cooked. We were happy our family came. My sister stayed with us through the weekend to help me finish up things that I was certain HAD to be completed before bringing a baby home.
On the Monday following, we went to the hospital and delivered a healthy baby girl. Surrounded by our family, the world declared us parents. Since then, we’ve been blessed with three more children and they are growing up way too fast.
Family is important to my husband and me. Some of our family is nearby and most of our family is out-of-state. My childhood vacations were typically spent driving to Iowa and South Dakota to see relatives. My parents didn’t take off from work very often but for a family wedding, special event or a funeral, we found ourselves on the road headed north. Road trips. Looooooooong road trips.
One of my favorite places to visit as a child was my grandparents’ farm. It’s a century-old farm in northwest Iowa. Hog barns, bean and cornfields still surround the area. The original farm house still stands today. I love it. It’s probably my favorite structure in the world.
Today a third-generation (my uncle and aunt) runs the farm. The farmhouse is filled with their children and grandchildren. Our kids have grown to love visiting this special place too. They love their cousins, aunts and uncles.
This month, we took our children back to Iowa. Another looooooong road trip. During our visit, my husband took our oldest son on his first pheasant hunting excursion. They both loved it and cannot stop talking about when they can go back and do it again.
The highlight of the trip was a surprise party to commemorate my grandfather’s 90th birthday. We all loved watching him take in all the faces of people who had turned out to celebrate his milestone. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit with aunts, uncles, cousins – first, second, third and twice removed! With nine children, 25 grandchildren, and I’ve lost count of the great-grands – my grandparents have a huge family.
When I think about all the ways I’ve been blessed, I start with my family – grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, nieces and nephews. We are surrounded by good friends and are blessed with good health. We are fortunate to live on a beautiful farm in a home that was built for sharing. We still live in the land of the free and the home of the brave and we serve a sovereign God in our household. My hope is to instill in these children of ours, a grateful attitude.
I don’t know if my grandfather’s birth story from 90 years ago is as dreamy and romantic as the story we tell about the birth of our 10-year-old. I cannot fathom the hardships farm families endured during that time. I am glad his parents persevered in farm life so a family tradition could be preserved for nearly five generations.
I have a lot to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving, neighbor!


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