I’m grateful my kids’ toys aren’t neat
and their shoes litter the floor.
It testifies – no less, no more –
that they have hands and feet.
I’m thankful that they don’t come home
the moment playtime ends.
It tells me they have good friends
within a few yards’ roam.
I’m even glad for muddy floors
and grubby, smiling faces
and dug-up garden places
for they love to be outdoors.
As costly as they seem,
I pay for jerseys and the Y
– and gladly, too. Need you ask why?
It means they’re on a team.
For practices that run too long
and games in cold and heat,
I’m thankful even when they’re beat,
for they’re healthy and they’re strong.
I’m thankful though my children view
a bit too much TV.
It says to me they hear and see,
and want to know what’s new.
I’m thankful for the homework check
I must conduct each night.
Though answers are not always right,
I learn when I inspect.
I’m grateful when my children’s grades
are not quite up to snuff.
It shows me they try hard enough;
like mine, their memory fades.
I’m glad to see a teacher’s note
with praise or warning there.
It proves their teachers care
and my kids’ learning isn’t rote.
I’m grateful for each curious rule,
and each fund-raising drive.
Though wits and wallet won’t survive,
it means they have a school.
I’m thankful though I am accused
of never being fair.
My role as judge is always there;
I’ve never been recused.
I’m thankful when “Let’s go to the park!”
they goad – though other matters task.
I go – and hope they’ll still ask
four decades down the road.
I’m thankful that they think of me
as worth much of their time.
(Though “Hi, Mom!” is what they would mime
on national TV.)
I’m glad to see their reams of art.
Stick-figured Mom and Dad
in colors wild – the fun they’ve had
while drawing from the heart.
I’m grateful though the lyric’s wrong
and when they sing off-key.
For it means all the world to see
their hearts are full of song.
I’m thankful though my children fuss
and fight with one another.
It means they’re sis and brother,
and I know they’re part of “us.”
I’m thankful when they flip their lids,
as well as when they sing.
Because, as much as anything,
I’m thankful for my kids.
(first published in the Abilene Reporter-News)