Later in the month, as I was reading a parenting magazine that highlighted holiday traditions, my attention immediately went to the "Show and Tell Thanksgiving." The author briefly described the same observation I had made: our families feel such gratitude for the basics in our lives, and because those basics are so important, the list is fairly unchanging over the years. So this mom got savvy. Instead of writing down their lists of gratitudes, instead, mealtime during the month of November consisted of Show and Tell. Each family member would bring one item to the table to share; this item was something they felt particularly grateful for. Predictably, the items included ipods and DSs, but gradually, the kids brought more and more creative items to the table to represent that for which they were most thankful.
And so my list this year, my list of gratitudes, is heavily annotated. I did this a year or two ago, but this time I was determined to be even more specific and detailed, setting this year apart from other years with similar blessings.
I am grateful for my home. THIS home. This small house on this wobbly, steep hill that has bad drainage during heavy rains and a steep driveway that scares most visitors. This house, which has welcomed home three beautiful newborn babies. This house, that has sheltered us during terrible and scary storms, both literal and figurative. This house, that has been upgraded, built upon, painted, wallpapered, repainted, floored, finished, and decorated again and again for seven and a half years - and counting. This house, that has been recently weatherized thanks to a grant from a non-profit energy conservation group, making it even more snug and cozy than before. This house, that I would not trade right now for any other house, because I love it here. Because this is our home, because we've made it so, because it is the place I love to be best in the whole world. I give thanks for home.
I am grateful for my husband. Really, deep down, stop-me-in-my-tracks grateful for the life we have together, for many more years of "for better" than "for worse." My husband, who knows me almost as well as I know myself, and who loves me unconditionally. My husband whom I love unconditionally, despite the fact that he doesn't clean the cat pan often enough, because I simply cannot imagine living life without him. My husband, who supports me in everything I do, who cheers me on, who respects me, who loves me. We have known too many couples whose marriages have ended in divorce, or who have struggled mightily to stay together. I feel so grateful that I am married, happily and forever and ever, that we are living happily ever after. I am grateful for Jeff.
I am grateful for my children, because they enrich my life beyond what I could have hoped to feel otherwise. Because they are funny and so unique and clever and creative. Because they are beautiful, kind, loving. Because they define so much of who I am. I am grateful beyond measure for the richness they have provided, for the quality of life they have granted me. I am so grateful for Aidan - who is such a big kid now, who asks about fractions and reads to his younger brothers and thanks me for the dinner I made and notices when I clean the house. For Leo, who is determined and capable and independent, who is loving and affectionate and cheerful - reminding me of myself, over and over - both in trials and in tribulations. For Pax, who is the Happiest Baby Ever. Who is not such a baby anymore, because he is working so hard at being a big boy like his brothers, who makes me laugh every single day because of the humor he finds in everyday life. Pax, because he is my buddy - when the older boys are into mischief and driving me nuts, he'll snuggle in my arms and hug me close.
I am grateful for our health. Even though last week, on the same day, I took Aidan to see a specialist for an autoimmune virus he's been battling for the past 5 months; I took Leo to our regular pediatrician for his pinkeye and cold; and I treated Pax's hive-covered body because of an allergic reaction to penicillin, given to him because of a terrible ear infection, I am still thankful. Despite all the recent (and ongoing) illness, I know that we are so lucky to have very healthy children - and to be so healthy ourselves.
I'm grateful for my "silver and gold" friends - those I've known for years and years, and whose friendship sustains me - and the new friends I've made, the ones with whom our history is relatively short, yet already rich and full. I'm grateful for my mom and dad. Every day, I'm grateful for their proximity to us, for the relationship with our kids, for the fun we have together. I'm grateful for our collective family, for Jeff's people and my people. I'm grateful that Adam and Hugo and Julian made the long trek here to celebrate Thanksgiving this year. I'm really, really, super grateful for that.
And I'm grateful for you, reader. Whomever you are. I write this blog for myself, mostly, but I like knowing that someone somewhere might enjoy it too. I'm grateful for the feeling of connection I have with you when I write.