Thursday, November 22, 2012

30 Days of Thankful

The “thing” to do this month on Facebook was to post something you’re thankful for each day. I know myself well enough to know I probably couldn’t sustain that kind of thing for 30 days.

Well, I could. I’m on Facebook all day – a perk of working in social media. But I’m honest, and I know that though I could, I wouldn’t.

But I can carve out a chunk of time on Thanksgiving morning, before we head out for brunch and golf and visiting and dinner, to write 30 things I’m thankful for.

What I’m Thankful For:
  1. That my faith in God hasn’t completely left me. When my mom died, I fully expected to be pissed at God, and believe me, I was. I still am. But I haven’t been so blinded by grief that I can’t see all the beauty that remains in the world and all the other blessings I have in my life. And I believe he’s responsible for much of it.
  2. My husband, who is a perfect fit for me. We’re definitely capable of some knock-down drag-out fights, but for the most part, we get each other. For nearly eight years, he’s been just what I need when I need it, and everything I ever wanted. He’s a rare find, and I’m thankful for him every day.
  3. Being raised by parents who were just in love with each other as they were with us kids. I never feared that we’d become a divorced family because it was so obvious that my parents were soul mates. The love in their eyes when they’d talk or dance or put up the Christmas tree or go to the grocery was visible. Growing up and even now, I see families breaking, but remembering all that my parents had is a daily reminder that “until death do us part” is possible.
  4. Having a brother who I genuinely love and enjoy spending time with. I don’t call or text him because I have to. I do because I think he’s smart, funny, and kind, and I adore him. Not all siblings are lucky enough to have this, but I know that if I need something, he’s there. And if he needs something, I’m there.
  5. A little dog named Lu. I can’t describe the joy she brings to my life. She’s rotten sometimes and she doesn’t listen very well, but I don’t care. There’s something special about a dog’s unconditional love. T and I say she’s the best thing we’ve ever brought into this house. Her little stubby dachshund legs are adorable too.
  6. Living where we live. This neighborhood wouldn’t be everyone’s first choice. Though our street is beautiful, we live fairly close to a rough part of town. I feel safe here though, and our neighbors are some of the kindest people we know. Driving the rough streets every morning as we head to work is a reminder to be grateful for all we’ve been blessed with; there are many other s – living just half a mile away – with so much less.
  7. Two strong legs. They make me mad when I put on skinny jeans because my quad muscles stick out in a way I hate. But these strong legs are why I can run a 5K, why I can still dance, why I can take Lu for a walk, and those are all wonderful things.
  8. Shrimp, garlic, chocolate, pasta, dough pretzels from The Mainstay Rock Bar, T’s famous burritos, Max & Erma’s cookies, macaroni and cheese, and 100 other foods I dream about regularly… because much of my time is spent thinking of food.
  9. Two little boys named Logan and Nolan. Logan was born three weeks after my mom died in the same hospital where she’d been. I cried in the hospital lobby when we went up to meet him. I didn’t think I could do it. But with support from T and our friend Joe, I got in the elevator. And as soon as I saw our friends and held their little boy, I forgot my pain. This little guy became a tiny, 7-lb. light in a world that was feeling very dark. And one month ago tomorrow, he was joined by little brother Nolan. The love I feel for these little guys is frightening. They’re not mine, but I’d still do anything to keep them from feeling any kind of pain. The love I have for them makes me believe that I could someday be a mother myself, in spite of the emotional wreck I sometimes am.
  10. Friends. Friends who you talk to only a few times a year when they’re home in Cincinnati, but you trust with your life. Friends who make time to listen, even when they’re juggling two sons, a crazy (but wonderful) husband, a job, a house renovation, and two enormous dogs. Friends who hear your mom has passed away and show up at your door with four pints of ice cream because they know you well enough to know you need to drown your sorrows in Graeters. Friends you work with, friends you coach with, and friends you drink with. Any and all friends.
  11. Mistakes. Because I’ve learned something from all of them.
  12. Ugg boots. Not because I wear them for style, but because they make awesome slippers and dog-walking shoes in the winter.
  13. My Grandma’s ability to face anything that’s thrown at her. She had three kids, and miscarried the fourth. Her husband (my mom’s father) died when he was 48. Her daughter died at 52. Her second husband, who she married when I was a baby, has broken both hips, his pelvis, suffered a brain aneurism, a heart attack, and a small stroke in just the last seven years. And she handles it all with grace.
  14. The opportunity to coach a college dance team. I never in a million years thought I’d be given this chance, and I certainly never thought I’d be asked to do it for six seasons. It’s not always easy, but it’s been worth it.
  15. Pinterest. Epic time waster. Provider of mind-blowing crafts.
  16. A father who, in the face of extreme adversity, rises and exemplifies perseverance.
  17. The simplicity of evenings at home. We come home from work and one of us straightens up while the other cooks dinner. And after we eat, we head either to the “man cave” basement or the family room where we watch TV or play games, snuggle up on the couch with Lu and just talk. I look forward to these evenings.
  18. The power of a great song. On a cold, dreary day, Coldplay just feels right. When I’m writing (particularly on a deadline), anything classical works. James Taylor is always appropriate. Spotify is fabulous.
  19. The way Rachel Dratch shows up in a lot of random movies and shows and always makes me laugh.
  20. Any opportunity to have my three boys together. It doesn’t matter if it’s for dinner or yardwork.
  21. The beauty of a piece of freshly-Swiffered furniture.
  22. My memory. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
  23. A tradition my mom, grandma, and I had for years. We went to see six plays or musicals a year at the Aronoff Center. My mom and I would stop at McDonald’s for a quick lunch on our way to Grandma’s. We’d pick her up and head downtown. Before the show started, we’d buy chocolate-covered Oreos or pretzels in the lobby. And then we’d settle in and enjoy the show.
  24. A trip to see Frankie Valli, also with my mom and grandma. We screamed like groupies because who doesn’t love Frankie Valli? 
  25. Sleep. Generic, yes, but a good night’s sleep can fix a multitude of problems.
  26. Having an iPhone to kill time when I’m awkwardly waiting for someone.
  27. A pair of leopard-print pajamas from Target. They’re not really pretty, but they’re unbelievably comfortable. Those pjs + clean sheet night = heaven.
  28. Facebook and Twitter. Phenomenal time drain, but incredible for keeping people in touch. I’ve managed to reconnect with a number of old friends and acquaintances.
  29. Garden gnomes. For whatever reason, they make TJ happy, and therefore, they make me happy.
  30. Twenty-five years with my mom. She was and is everything.

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