I've been cruising around blog land, and there are many incarnations of "I am thankful for..." floating around out there. It's good to see that people still take a moment to reflect on what makes their lives rich. Sometimes when the world is moving so fast, it can be hard to remember - and that is why Thanksgiving is such a good holiday. I don't celebrate pilgrims surviving in a new land, per se. I celebrate the things that make my own survival so joyous.
MY HUSBAND AND SON
Once, I was a very sad person. Then I became friends with this terrific guy. Then we became more than friends. Then we decided to celebrate our love by spending the rest of our lives together. He's my best friend and I am ever so grateful that he is a part of my life.
Then my best friend and I thought about having a baby. This was a scary thing for me. I was afraid that I couldn't do it. I'd had five miscarriages in the past and the idea of trying to have a baby was daunting. But one night, a few glasses of champagne, and the decision of whether or not became moot - baby boy Z was on his way. As an older pregnant woman with the history I had, the doctor paid close attention - and it was the easiest pregnancy. Like I'd done all the suffering and had all the problems and gotten it out of the way before I ever got pregnant. The results are beautiful... a real work of art.
MY PARENTS AND MY BROTHERS
I was the first of many children. My parents were brave people... or possibly foolish. Either way, it worked out okay. Dad was the breadwinner, Mom stayed at home. BOTH of them had full-time jobs! At one point, my mother had three children in diapers at the same time - none of us twins or triplets. They raised us up right. We have good moral foundations, we're honest, all of us self-supporting. And we all love our family. I believe they got it right for the most part, and I use their successes and failures as my guides in raising my own son.
I used to wish I was an only child when I was younger. There'd be more money to go around. I'd get more attention, more toys, more extras. But you know what? I got better than that. I got brothers! Five of them! I was the oldest, so I had good training for babysitting and being a mother myself. I knew how to handle teenaged boys, which was a huge help when my troubled step-son came to live with us. The picture is about 10 years old. We've got more gray hair (thining or no hair in some cases), a few wrinkles, pairs of glasses scattered here and there, and a few extra pounds on some of us - but when I think of US, this picture is how I see us.
One of us is in TV. One in the Army. One drives a tow-truck. One is a policeman. One works for the Republicans (joke - he's a wonderful guy!), and one manages a health club. And we make each other laugh so that we double over, gasping for air with tears running down our faces. We're a funny bunch and enjoy each other's company. The dinner table is never dull when it is surrounded by my brothers. As I said... I got much more than I bargained for.
MY BONUS FAMILY
When I married my husband, I got a whole other family. His son by a previous marriage was part of the package, which was fine with me. We've had our ups and downs. I don't always feel happy about decisions he makes, but I love this kid anyway. He has provided me with a marvelous daughter-in-law and a granddaughter. Courtesy of my stepson, I also got his mother and her family. Weird as it sounds, we all like each other, consider each other friends, and even visit or go on vacation together. We email and call. We care about each other. I am thankful for that.
We call this picture "The Album Cover". My dad, his dad and my husband. I've had three grand mothers and two grandfathers. The maternal grandfather wasn't around much. That was probably a good thing. My maternal grandmother was always around. When I "went to Grandma's", it was her house I went to for spending the night, holidays, what-have-you. She was the on-the-scene grandparent. My paternal grandparents lived elsewhere. Paternal grandmother lived here for a while, then she and her husband moved to Canada before returning to England. My paternal grandfather was an actor, who would occasionally come to the states for work and visit us while he was here. His wife was also an actress, and she was close to our family - hence the title grandmother for her as well. They didn't live here, but we wrote often, which was the beginning of my interest in writing. I am thankful for each of them - not only excellent people in their own right, but they produced the wonderful people who are my parents.
I confess, I debated whether or not to include them, but decided that I must. As trying as things may be sometimes, I am grateful for my in-laws. They are sweet people, who mean well but can be.... well, difficult at times. Some of it is due to their past, some of it is due to aging. We need to be close to help out when needed - and there has been a lot of need this year. I don't see it easing up any, but there is help in the form of my brother-in-law and his wife as well. I have two brothers-in-law, who married great women and have marvelous families. We are not all as close as we could be. Part of it is distance, part of it is the busy-ness of day to day - but we do gather together a few times a year and always have a good time when we do.
MY LIFE IN GENERAL
You may have noticed that people seem to be what I am thankful for the most. It's true. My life wouldn't be nearly as comfortable, meaningful, or entertaining without them.
But I am also grateful for my work, which is fulfilling; my home, which is comfortable; my pets, who are loving furballs or funny fish; my friends, who are there when I need them.
I am grateful for this body. We don't always get along, but it is fairly healthy, resilient, and works hard to accomplish what my mind sets out to do.
I am content with my life. I wouldn't want to be younger and I enjoy getting older.
You can't ask for much more than that. I have been blessed with a very good life.
I hope you feel the same about yours.