2013 has been rocky. It’s challenged our family with death (both human and animal), planning funerals and lots of talking about death with Brenden, broken bones (4 of mine), numerous health issues for the kids and I requiring lots of doctor visits resulting in many medical bills not covered by crappy insurance, starting insulin, rocky friendships, difficulty finding work, and more. I haven’t spent a lot of time being thankful this year because it’s not always been easy to remember what I’m thankful for. So on Thanksgiving, I wanted to take a moment and remind myself of all those things that I am grateful for. And not just the good things. It’s easy to be grateful for the good things, just look at posts that have appeared on Facebook all month long. But I want to express gratitude for the moments that are difficult, painful, hard to see the good in as well.
1) I’m grateful it took me so long to find a job because it allowed me to take a soul-rejuvinating road trip by myself. Something I’ve never done before and desperately needed after the hard work of grad school. It also allowed me the opportunity to take a cruise with my best friend, something we’d been talking about doing for probably a decade.
2) I’m grateful that once I did find work it’s only part time. While I was very disappointed about this in the beginning, it’s allowed me to start earning the hours I need for licensure while still getting to be here for my kids. I only work when both kids are in school. I got to go to every soccer game, practice, birthday party and other activity that I wanted to. After missing so much the previous two years, I know now that whatever takes me away from my kids has got to be pretty special.
3) I’m thankful for family and friends that I love but don’t get to see or talk to enough because they remind me that there are family and friends that I don’t get to see or talk to at all.
4) I’m thankful for a cat that pees on everything and dog that poops in my dinning room every time I leave the house because they remind me that even a pets life ends and someday I’ll miss these things. (ok, I won’t miss that, but I’ll miss the animal)
5) I’m thankful Brenden’s anxieties and sensitivity that can sometimes be hard to deal with because it tells me I am raising a kind-hearted boy.
6) I’m thankful that Emily argues with me about everything. I’m thankful that she’s got the strongest stubborn streak I’ve ever seen. I’m thankful there is no way to get her to do something she doesn’t want to do. I know this will serve her well in the future.
7) I’m thankful for my husband’s ability to live in what I call his own little world. It sometimes drives me crazy when I think he’s burying his head in the sand, but it’s also one of the things that allows him to be strong, calm and one of the happiest, even keeled people I know.
8) I’m thankful for everything my parents do for my family. Without them, we wouldn’t get to do a great deal of the things we do. And I love that my kids have such a close relationship with their grandparents and get to see them so often. Their help keeps us all sane.
9) I’m grateful for plumbing problems that caused us to strip part of our floor down to the concrete because it forces me to deal with things being less than perfect and to see that it’s all ok even when it’s not perfect.
10) I’m thankful for arguments because they remind me to be honest about how I feel, to stand up for myself, to fight for those I love.
11) I’m thankful for every mistake I’ve made because of the obvious fact that it’s made me who I am, but also because it helps me understand my clients.
12) I’m thankful that people trust me with their stories, even their most painful and darkest ones.
13) I’m thankful for my sense of humor, it’s seen me through so much.
14) I’m thankful for the love, encouragement and support of my big sister.
15) I’m thankful for nice people. People that are unexpectedly nice for no reason, no reward.
16) I’m thankful to have a best friend that sticks with me even when we don’t agree on big things.
17) I’m thankful for my social awkwardness and the way I get tongue tied because it reminds me that I can communicate very well through the written word.
18) I’m thankful that my diabetes has been so easy to take care of up until this point. I’ve been lucky. And now that it’s harder it reminds me to take my health more seriously.
19) I’m thankful for little hands. Being exposed to these kids with special hands has taught me a great deal about what it means to be different and to be resilient. And it’s allowed me to be amazed by the things my son can overcome every day.
20) I’m thankful for quiet moments. My parents kept the kids over night so that I could work and clean and prepare to host Thanksgiving and Patrick ran the Turkey Trot this morning. For a few hours I had the most peaceful Thanksgiving morning. Over the past few years I’ve learned how important quiet moments are to my day.
21) I’m equally thankful for the noisy chaos that descended on my house before I could finish this post because it reminds me I’m loved.