It seems only appropriate as we head into Thanksgiving to turn my attention to the things in my life for which I feel thankful. I’m not rich, I don’t have a fancy car, and I don’t go on lavish vacations or own designer clothing, so if material goods are what define a complete existence, then I am somewhat lacking. But what I lack in great “stuff”, I more than make up for in the things that matter most. And in that sense, I am rich beyond my wildest dreams.
I am thankful for my husband. You might think that your spouse is great, but I go to sleep at night knowing I married the most wonderful man in the world (wink). It’s a cliché, but my husband really is my best friend. I can tell him absolutely anything and he never judges me. The more honest we are with each other, the better it gets. Don’t get me wrong, we do our fair share of arguing and getting on each other’s nerves, but we also know how to talk through our differences and recognize that, sometimes, it’s okay not to agree with each other. Plus, my husband is really good at saying “I’m sorry. I was wrong.” It’s a trait I’m hoping my children will inherit! In addition to being my best friend, he is also my business partner and, incredibly enough, we work really well together and have for the past 6 years. It helps that my best friend and business partner is a tall, good looking, blond with blue eyes and an infectious laugh, too!
I am thankful for my children. And when I say children, I mean both my son and my three stepchildren. If you told me 10 years ago when I was single and hanging out in bars in Washington DC that in less than a decade I’d be married, living in the suburbs, and raising four children (not to mention driving a minivan!), I would have thought you were crazy. The truth is, I could not be happier and my kids make life so much more complete. My stepkids are fantastic and made me feel welcome in their family from the very beginning. I met them when they were 8, 6 and 4 years old, and now they are 17, 14 and 12. They’ve taught me a lot about being a parent and I am so grateful to have them in my life. After becoming an “instant parent” to my stepchildren, I had my son and discovered new dimensions of motherhood that only babies can reveal. The truth about how hard it is to be a mother slowly revealed itself to me, but the overwhelmingly wonderful reality of the love I have for my son hit me fast and hard.
I am thankful for my home. It’s not very big and sometimes it feels really crowded, but I would not trade our little saltbox in Eastport for the world. Ours is a house brimming with activity and full of love and laughter (and, if I’m honest, lots of sibling rivalry and bickering, too!). Somehow, without deliberately planning it (or even discussing it), my husband and I have created a home where the door is always open and there is always an extra place set at the table. Our kids often ask “who is coming for dinner?” because it is not uncommon for neighbors to pop by and join us for a meal. We also sponsor several Midshipmen (and women) from the U.S. Naval Academy and they can often be found hanging out here on weekends. It’s often chaotic, but somehow we squeeze everyone comfortably in to our little house and for that, I am grateful.
I am thankful for my dogs. Really, I am! I work from home, so I’m in my house a lot, and our two black labs are my constant companions. They give us their unconditional love and affection, and I don’t think our family would feel complete without them.
I am thankful for my extended family. I grew up in a house with two parents and one brother. Now that I’m married, I have three in-laws, four kids, two sisters-(and brothers-) in-law, and five nieces and nephews to add to the mix. They are all wonderful people and we are fortunate to see and spend time with them on a regular basis.
I am thankful to have a job I love. My husband and I own a small marketing agency and I love that I look forward to going to work every day. I work with smart, kind, funny people who I deeply respect. My clients are local businesses so I have the profound satisfaction of seeing and experiencing the product of my work on a daily basis right here where I live. I work in a field that is constantly evolving and I spend at least an hour every day reading and learning. Best of all, I have the flexibility to work when I want, where I want, and with who I want. It is really, truly, awesome!
I am thankful for the health of everyone mentioned above. Really, when it comes down to it, nothing in life matters more than your health. I could be living in a car with my husband and kids, and so long as they were healthy, we would get by. There is nothing – just nothing – scarier than thinking about the possibility of losing one of them to illness or an accident. Enough said.
It is fitting that this Thanksgiving, we will be surrounded by family and friends. There will be lots of kids, dogs, relatives, neighbors, friends, and even some strangers (future friends!). There will be lots of food, too, but Thanksgiving really isn’t about the meal, it’s about the people you break bread with, both on the holiday and throughout the year. Be thankful for them!