Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Goodness Gracious

You know, besides the time that Stephanie told me that she wouldn't use Easter cupcake holders in mid-July I tried not to let my little sister's impeccable graciousness intimidate me. Even when she would send me a thank you note for scratching that hard-to-reach spot on the spiny part of her back. Or for fixing the comment widget on her blog. Petting Jimmy when I really didn't want to. Being born four years her senior. Going blond so people wouldn't get us mixed up. My gosh, come to think of it, her ability to remember to write a thank you did intimidate me. Truthfully, every time my mailbox delivered yet another handwritten-Target-designed thank you card from Stephanie I tried really hard not to feel bad for all the times I didn't send a thank you to her . . . or to anyone.

We all have our talents, you know?

But what would she think of me now as the recipient of daily goodness in her honor without nary a thank you note written? Would she let me off the hook on account of sheer volume? Would she understand the meaning of overwhelming gratitude? Feeling so grateful that the very emotion zaps energy that would be needed for thank you note composing?

This is what I hope to tell her one day.

From the moment that I awake I am greeted by sweet e-mails. This woman is reading your story and decided to re-dedicate herself to her marriage. This blogger wanted you to know that she wrote a post about us, even added our buttons to her sidebar. On my blog I read comments from people who are praying for you. After breakfast Katy comes to drive the herd to school, Claire and Jane are always protected by their older (and wiser) boy cousins. Katy reassures, don't worry we'll pick them up after school and get their homework done. Then another knock at the door this time it is a fun aunt accompanied by an equally fun cousin ready to cater to Ollie's morning enjoyment.

Later I will find the doorstep decorated with treats from a passing friend. Phone calls are made asking if anything more can be farmed out for help. In the evening, a meal is bought to our kitchen where we (Lucy, Ric, Gigs, Mom and Dad included) eat without the mess of a meal home cooked. Getting the children to bed is a collective effort. Umi reads books, Chup is on I-pod control while Lucy picks up the house.

Somewhere in that day, Chup will have stopped by our p.o. box, retrieving dozens of cards for you and Mr. Nielson. Then there are always a half-dozen packages with treats for the kids. Handmade quilts, capes and crafts. Dolls, donations, action figures and Spiderman shirts. Tokens of love from the heartbroken neighbors from all over the world. Included in each, a beautifully written letter telling a new story.

Just today I went outside to find bins and bins of household supplies and practical use products gathered from your former ward. Just today I used a Target gift card, a collect effort from friends for our immediate use. Just today Chup's office friends pulled together cash-in-an-envelope for our rainy days. Just today.

But here is the part I especially want my sister to know. People have pulled together to support us by using their God-given talents. Sewing dolls for the girls, or lovely leather shoes for the boys. Websites have been created, benefits and concerts produced, lemonade stands and art formed on her behalf. Even, our own Chief is being spoiled by the way of baby wraps and new booties. We've turned away no one because now is the time to accept the fruits of a fertile world. This is why we are buoyed up, this is how the children are doing so well, this is impossible to explain in one thank you note just how much a fresh chocolate cake on our front porch did for our souls. Or an Etsy benefit sale. Or simple prayer.

Do you think she'll understand if I merely mentioned Thank You in a post dedicated to the thousands of people who remembered us in our time of need?

Maybe she'll want to spend the rest of her life writing thank you notes. (It wouldn't surprise me.)

But until then my friends, until then, please accept my humblest thank you.

Thank you so very, very much.