Thanksgiving marks the official beginning of the holiday season here in the United States. As people gather together to celebrate family and friends, enjoy some great food, and fall into a food coma afterwards, I wanted to take the time to share the reasons why I am thankful. I have a blessed life, and I would be remiss not to recognize that every day let alone on this holiday devoted to giving thanks and reflecting on our blessings.
- My husband – Even after over 20 years together, he still makes me laugh and gives me butterflies in my stomach. He is the first person with whom I want to share good news and the first person I turn to for support. He is my rock, my best friend, and the love of my life. I met him when I was 17, and being with him has never once gotten old. In fact, I am thankful for every minute I spend with him.
- My children – I know every parent thinks their children are talented and beautiful. I have the pleasure of having two children who are incredibly gifted, talented, and gorgeous. Connor hit a rocky patch for the past few years, but he is emerging from it as a wonderful young man. Determined, whip-smart, passionate, devoted – he never ceases to amaze me in his thoughts and dreams. As he enters the last eighteen months of his high school career, I look forward to watching our relationship evolve into a deeper friendship as my baby takes those final steps from boy to man. As for Holly, where do I begin on how privileged I am to have such a beautiful, generous, happy, and loving daughter? Her drive and commitment to dance at such a young age astounds me, but not any more than watching her entire body light up with pleasure when she dances. We are just entering the rocky patch with her; while I know it will not be easy with a moody teenage girl in the house, I know our relationship is strong enough to weather the most violent emotional roller coaster. Jim and I spent a lot of time and effort to nurture that type of relationship with both of our children, and we are just now reaping the fruits of our labors. It is a sweet harvest indeed.
- My house/job/lifestyle – I am incredibly fortunate to have a great job that pays well. I am even more fortunate to have a husband who also has a great job that pays well. I know we are among the nation’s minority when it comes to this. Yes, I know that we have both worked very hard to get to this point, and we invested in higher education for both of us. However, it still embarrasses me how lucky we are to be at this point in our lives. We have a lovely house with amazing amenities and tons of toys. We want for nothing. I cannot and will not take it for granted, not when there is so much suffering around us.
- My family – I am almost forty and have three out of four grandparents still alive and kicking. My entire immediate and extended family are all healthy and happy. Life’s sorrows have avoided my family up to this point, and it is something I cannot ignore. We might not be a close-knit family, but the fact that they are all still around is a comfort.
- My friends – It takes a lot for me to make friends in real life. I am the worst kind of introvert, hating small talk and new situations. Striking up a conversation with a complete stranger is a form of torture for me. I love my family and much prefer sticking with them than anything else. However, life is pretty miserable when there is no one outside your family with whom to commiserate. For those handful of girls and ladies with whom I have become close over the past few years, my life is SO much richer for having them in my life. They keep me sane during dance season, make me laugh when I need it, and prevent me from being a total hermit. We vary in age from late 40s to teenagers, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
- You – When I think about where I was prior to blogging and where I am now, I hardly recognize myself. There is a hashtag going around Twitter this week that specifically addresses how book bloggers have changed our lives. For me, the constant support is just one aspect of why blogging means so much to me. Blogging has shown me that the friends made online are just as real as the ones I have in real life. In addition, no matter how bad things are, a quick shout on social media and someone is there to comfort, support, rail on my behalf and just be there as true friends are. You guys know my highs and lows and accept me no matter what. You have shown me that it is okay to love books to the point of obsession, that I am not alone in my need to read, my introversion, or any of my other quirks. You inspire me daily with your craftiness, your commitment to friends, family, deadlines, promises, and to living life. You have given me a safe place to determine who I am and to expand my wings. You have made it easy for me to be honest with myself. I would be a shell of who I am now had I not started blogging and found the blogging community. Thank you for being there every step of the way.