Early in the season I bought a small decorative “gratitude tree” at Target. I thought it would be a great way to emphasize thankfulness with my littles during the month of November. Each day I ask, “what are you thankful for?”, and I write it on a leaf and stick it to the tree. As the kids are 5 and 3, I didn’t expect their initial responses to be thoughtful or profound. I assumed they’d just say “Legos”, or “toys” — I did not expect them to shout “butts” and “toots!” I redirected quickly and said, “being silly, that is a great one!” As we’ve considered thankfulness more, Brother has given more thoughtful answers, but Sister stands by “being silly”, and both kids giggle uncontrollably every time she says it.

For my own study in thankfulness, I’ve been reading Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts. In it, she challenges herself to write down “one thousand gifts”, or 1000 things she’s thankful for. She writes that spending time each day identifying and acknowledging the gifts in her life has changed her for the better. Inspired by her example, I’ve taken on the same challenge. Thus far, my list is simple:

2. Healthy kids

3. Little boys with red curls

10. My favorite autumn candle

25. Quiet mornings

30. Reading aloud with Brian

Recently, I was watching the kids play out the kitchen window. I couldn’t hear their what they were saying, but I could hear their giggles and thought about how much I love that sound — what a gift it is to hear them laughing together. I quickly wrote it down:

55. Littles giggling together

Then I thought about something Dr. Laura Markham writes in Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings — “Laughing releases oxytocin and endorphins, so everytime you laugh with someone, you’re building trust … when your children laugh together, they’re bonding.”

Though I knew they were probably giggling about “butts and toots”, I knew the giggles were a gift. I grabbed a pen and added to my list:

56. Being silly


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