Listening to these thanks inevitably reminds me of the various things in my life, for which I am thankful. Sure…I am thankful for the basic tangible things…the TV that keeps me entertained, the I-pod that keeps me rockin’, the clothes that keep me warm and semi-stylish, the car that gets me here and there, the Keurig that gets me started each day and keeps me going, the x-box that keeps me feelin’ like a kid, and the jewelry that serves as my adult “bling”. But it is days like Thanksgiving where stepping back and looking at your life and the life of others, hopefully makes us think outside of the box and look at the things in life that matter…and appreciate those things. I interacted with two individuals on Thanksgiving who have each lost a parent….a mother and a father.
With that being said, I can say that I am most thankful for my family. I work in a field where I see broken homes, broken families, and the impact that can play on individuals. I have been fortunate to have been blessed with phenomenal people in my family. From my mother, to aunts and uncles, to granny and to the cousins…although we each have individual struggles and issues, we have a solid family who care for one another, love one another, would miss one another should we not be here and enjoy the company that one another brings.
I am thankful for my Aunts – they helped raise me along the way, attended sporting events, sent cards and care packages, provided advice, and served as role models in my life. My uncles – for helping me move, ensuring my safety by keeping me posted on the weather when I was traveling, teaching me the “pull my finger” trick, kicking my butt at Jeopardy, and making me love the smell of pipes. My grandmother – for being a second mother to me, sending me cards and gifts in the mail, teaching me about my family that I didn’t know, for the endless hugs and tears that come with each visit home, for the weekly phone calls just to chat, for teaching us how to milk a cow, and for being the unconditional lover in our family. My cousins (there are quite a few) – for the constant laughs, the sibling like relationships, the silly texts and Facebook posts, encouragement, the nicknames, for the Gi-Joe figurines that hung from trees and hold a special memory to me, the vacations, the forever bond that has only grown stronger as we have all grown older. My father – for putting in effort at our relationship now, for giving me my first guitar and trying to pass along his natural musical talent, for giving me a half –sister, as that is my only sibling tie, and for marrying my mother….without that, I wouldn’t be here. My step-father – for being the only father figure I have known for a good chunk of my life, for making me laugh at the crazy things that he says, for loving my mother and building a life with her, as that is the best move he has ever made. And last but not least, my mother.
So often I hear of people losing a parent and I cannot imagine not having my mother in my life. And when I think about what I am thankful for, with regards to her…I have realized it would be easier to write a book, than to try to break it down here. However, to sum it up, I am thankful for – her love, understanding and sacrifice, for struggling as a single mother and working to provide a good life for us both, for not moving when her job pushed it so I could remain close to my family, for supporting all of my decisions, even the ones she disagreed with, for not saying “I told you so” when there were numerous opportunities to do so, for her little cards and gifts for the holidays or just because, for never forgetting my birthday, for helping me financially when I struggled to make ends meet, for keeping my education a priority and pushing me to be a good student, for teaching me the importance of family, for teaching me the importance of responsibility, for the laughs and the late night phone calls, for always providing a roof over my head, for taking me to church even though I seldom wanted to go, for taking care of me when I was sick, for coming to all of my important life events, for letting me be “me” and supporting whatever paths I take in life, for encouraging a relationship with my father, for the family vacations, for the holiday decorations that helped make each holiday special, for being there when I was sad and hurt, for coming to visit so we can spend quality time with one another, for helping me with homework when I was young, for helping with adult homework (ie. Retirement plans, health insurance) now that I am grown, for the honest opinions although they aren’t always easy to hear, for the discipline that helped keep me on the right path when many roads offered the wrong, for making me clean my room and do chores, for instilling in me that you have to work for the things that you truly want, for teaching me that you don’t always get what it is that you want, for leading by example, for the hugs and the tears, for always making me feel special, for encouraging me to follow my dreams, for picking me up when I fall, for trying to make me watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” each Christmas…..for being my rock.
There will be a day where we lose our family members. Appreciate and hold onto each day you have with your loved ones. These days are precious and sadly, time limited. Thanksgiving is a day to remind us of the special things in our lives, however, a holiday should not be the only moment you are thankful. Thanksgiving is over…spend the next 364 being thankful for the things in your life. You don’t want to look back and wished you would have done something different or said something to someone you love and that chance has passed. Each day is a gift.