Thursday, November 25, 2010

Being Thankful

As I sit here in the dark of the early morning on Thanksgiving Day, my mind swirls with the past year and all it's craziness it has held for our family.  We have endured quite a bit of loss and hardship, but one might never know it.  We have so much to be thankful for I am unsure of where to begin.  Since last Thanksgiving the following (good and bad) have happened...

My parents moved closer, we lost a baby, we celebrated Rowena's first birthday, I passed the NCE (counselor exam), reconnected with an old friend, Peter lost his job, I graduated, I found a job in a private practice.

Now that I write that out, we didn't have many bad things happen, but the bad hit hard.  Anyway...despite the bad that happened, we have been surrounded with love, generosity, and kindness from so many.  Our family has been very supportive, caring, and giving.  Peter's former coworkers showered us beyond anything we could imagine...I am still in awe of their kindness, thoughtfulness, and generosity.

This brings me to what I am thankful for this year...

1.  My Husband!  Peter...what can I say.  We have been through so many ups and downs throughout the years of being together.  All the nonsense drama in college of dating and breaking up and dating and breaking up (ahahah-7 times, it just makes me laugh), moves, job changes and losses, pregnancies and children, being able to buy whatever we want whenever we want to scrapping pennies.  Yet, here we are, almost 16 years later and we will soon be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary.  You moved from the amazing city of Chicago to BFE, Indiana to be with me...and the rest is history.  I love our life together.  I cannot imagine a more perfect person to spend my life with.  Every day I look at you and cannot believe you chose me.  I am so lucky to have a loving, supportive, thoughtful, and funny partner in life.  You are truly my best friend.  No one understands me like you do.  You know when to back off, when to challenge me, when to make me laugh, when to be serious, when to hug, when to let go.  I cannot thank you enough for all that you do for me.  I'm not sure if you truly know how amazing you are as a husband and a father, but I know that our daughters are beyond lucky to have such a loving, involved dad in their life, as I am to have you as my partner, husband, and best friend.  I love you and am forever grateful for you! xoxoxo

2.  My children, without whom life wouldn't be the same.  My daughters challenge and irritate me daily, yet they also make me smile and laugh, and leave me in wonder and awe and over-joyed daily.  I cannot imagine life without them and it saddens me at times that life moves so fast that Delaney will be celebrating her SEVENTH birthday in just a little over 2 weeks!  It amazes me how very different three girls from the same parents can be.  We have our sensitive competitor, our goofy and funny princess who is oddly obsessed with farts and burps and other bodily functions, and our fiesty sweetheart--who knows what she wants and is sassy yet will also smother you with love.

3.  My Parents.  I have two wonderful, amazing, thoughtful, supportive parents.  While I gave them, or at least my mom, hell in junior high and parts of high school (and many moments when I was younger, I'm sure), they never gave up on me, loved me unconditionally, and gave me the freedom to make my own decisions and mistakes.  I think that is one of the most important thing a parent can do...allow their children freedom to make mistakes and go down the wrong path now and then.  I can only hope that I will as brave a parent to allow my children the same freedom.

4.  My brothers.  Ah, the challenges and hatred and love that have been there throughout our childhood and into adulthood...I have two awesome brothers.  Brian and I have come the furthest, I'd have to say.  Brian did not care for me while we grew up, and we fought...A LOT.  However, now, I consider him one of my best friends. I tend to confide in him when I don't know where else to turn, when I feel lost or hopeless, and I miss him so very, very much!  I am grateful for his brave move to California, as I think it has helped him because a very successful person...but I can't help be selfish in that I miss him and wish he were closer!  I've always had a good relationship with Wesley.  He played with me a lot as a kid, allowed me to play school with him all the time and dress him up like a girl...he was the best doll ever!  Him and I are still close and I love that he has started his life with his amazing wife, Leann.  I am also grateful that he and Leann are making me an Aunt in 2011! :)

5.  My In-Laws.  When I married Peter, I inherited another family.  I am grateful to say that I am very fortunate with the family that was attached to him!  While my mother-in-law and I can go back and forth on some debates, I truly respect her and her opinions.  She a very loving and caring person who has been through more than I can imagine.  She is a strong and independent woman that I enjoy spending time with, and am grateful that my children can call her Nana.  I love how she has them visit her individually in the summer for a few days--what wonderful memories she is making with them!  My father-in-law has been wonderful and fun throughout the years.  He has been an amazing Grandpa to our girls, who love and adore him.  They have already made so many exciting memories of him and Paula, with ice skating, swimming, boating, picnics, fishing, and digging for worms.  My brother-in-laws, well...let's just say I consider Joe and Dan my brothers.  Joe lived with us for a few months back in 2003 and I think that really helped our relationship.  He is so comfortable in our home and with the girls.  He is so talented and the girls adore him.  Dan...we rarely see Dan, as he is so busy and lives so far.  However, Dan always makes for a nice visit when he is in town and the girls really look up to him.  And, now, I have added a SISTER-in-law to my family this past year.  As you know, I'm the only girl, and therefore have no sisters, and Peter has no sisters.  Leann is a wonderful addition to my in-laws.  She is kind and smart, funny and so enjoyable to spend time with.  She is an amazing Aunt to the girls, and they are beyond happy to "finally" have an aunt...and soon--a first cousin as well.  I consider Leann to be more than just a sister-in-law, but a friend as well.

6.  My friends, without whom, life would be lonely.  My friends are made up of some very different people.  I am grateful for college and grad school that opened up my world of friends.  I love my friends...but, of course, who doesn't?  You get to pick them, after all, right?  What a great source of laughter and support.  Shoulders to cry on, faces to laugh with, people to help with advice and just listen.  As the Girl Scout song goes...Make new friends, but keep the old...One is silver and thee other's gold.  I am so grateful for the friends I've had for years and those I have just met.  I love you all!

7. Our Home, Our Neighbors.  I love our home.  It may not be huge, but works for us.  It provides shelter and warmth, of course, but more importantly, it is a place where we begun and are raising our family.  Memories are made here all the time.  Our neighbors are WONDERFUL.  They really look out for one another, provide a great sense of home and security, and have become an extension of our family.

So...after all this "mushy" stuff...I am going to sign off and spend the day with those I love most--my family.  I hope everyone is thinking of what they are thankful for and enjoying a wonderful Thanksgiving!
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