Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Besides the awesome food, time with those close to you, it’s also about slowing life down for a day and taking time to think about what you’re grateful for. I have SO many things this year. More than ever I think. More than ever when logically, you could say that this year has been one of the hardest of my life.
Here’s my list, condensed into the things at the very forefront of my mind…even though there are so many that I could, and should name specifically, here are only a few.
There is my P. P, well, he is AMAZING! He listens, he communicates, he smiles, he laughs obnoxiously loud(which fits right in with us 3 girls), he is honest, he is wonderful to T and C, and he is spectacular to me. Never before have I experienced a depth between two people, as I do with P. He is supportive of me beyond belief. He encourages me to be me. He encourages free thinking and individuality with the girls. He loves them freely, and openly, and sets a phenomenal example for them on how they should be treated, and how they should treat others. And already, the resolution to provide everything that the world should contain for the girls. He mirrors the greatest wishes of my heart, as a parent to my sweet girls. P also fills our home with music. He plays guitar, lets T and C play guitar with him and serenades me with the piano, whenever I want… and even at times when I don’t… like 6am, to wake two girlies up for the day. P, with all of his talents, his desire to work together and achieve more, his good looks, and his example is definitely something I am BEYOND grateful for.
I’m also grateful for my close network of friends. I spent Thanksgiving day with my B. He is such an incredible human being. He is accepting, HYSTERICAL, open, honest, loving, and full of joy. He has shared so much with me over the course of our friendship, and on Thanksgiving, extended this to sharing his family. AND THEY ARE AWESOME!!! My friendship with B has been such an amazing thing for me this year that I couldn’t possibly go without mentioning him at the top of my list. He has taught me about individuality, personal integrity, standing up for those you love even if its hard, and being true to your own soul. Also included in the package of B, is his mom. His mom is an incredible amount of amazing support to all her kids. And when I see the love that the 6 kids show their mama in their own way, it makes ME want to be THAT kind of mama. I feel incredibly lucky to have so many neat examples, both near and far of women I want to model my life after.
Also on the list is my pseudo sister A. She is everything I’ve wanted my sister relationships to be. Lots of teasing, girl time, tears, laughs till our sides hurt, showing the girls the cathartic effect of singing at the top of your lungs, and someone to confide in and turn to for support. She was away for Thanksgiving, but not far from my thoughts. A is an awesome auntie to T and C and they love her. She’s young, and has her stuff together. I’m proud to call her one of my best friends. She is someone who has risen to the occasion of awesome, forged past some REALLY hard shit that life has flung at her, and conquered her own demons to be unconditionally loving, accepting, and joyful. Our friendship, nay, sisterhood, brings me a happiness and joy I could not describe.
Included in the super-close-to-my-heart-list, is my best-est friend forever C. We have known each other for the larger part of our lives now, and I think the world of her. Throughout this year, she has surmounted unbelievable grief, with a grace and poise that I only wish I could know. In the midst of it all, she has been consistent in her contact, supportive in her words, and loving in her actions. She checks in on me, celebrates with me, keeps me grounded and realistic, reminds me to slow down when I need to, and provides a tenured stability in my collective family that comforts me on my darkest days. And one day we’ll live close enough to go get pedi’s, and celebrate our amazing lives together over a glass of wine.
This year has also brought new relationships with my family of origin. For the past decade, I’ve really had little to do with my siblings. Mostly because I was at a completely different place than all of them, but also because of distance and the culture that we grew up in. A culture of combative independence, limited thinking, and a lack of understanding of each other. It’s so neat to see each of my three siblings excelling in their own ways, owning their lives, and opening their minds to more love and less judgment. Along with the changes in those relationships, has been more time with my older sister J. Someone who I love very much, but who I misunderstood for so many years, J and I now have the shared joy of both being mamas. Forging a relationship out of the commonality of motherhood has been so rewarding- not just for me, but for my girls as well. They get to hang with their cousin, and video chat weekly to the only blood family we have a routine with. And that routine, is REALLY cool. Like REALLY, REALLY cool.
On top of everything, if my mix of family was not enough, I’ve also been able to add four super awesome parents to my life. I NEVER thought it would be possible again to WANT to spend time with anyone who could be called in-laws. But, my heart has changed it’s tune. P’s parents have been accepting, inviting, loving and exactly what I needed to heal so many parts of the small tattered corner of my soul that came from my previous in-laws. After my experience with them, I thought the in-law part was the ONLY thing that would be what kept me from actually taking the last step and marrying someone. I was not interested in any contact at first. More out of my own terrified grief, than anything. But P’s dad is cool as hell, and his sweet wife S shares my love of cooking, books, and service to others. The two of them together are fun, loving, accepting, and refreshingly unique. They come over and hang out, P and his dad play duets on the piano, and Sandy and I snuggle with the girls. P’s mom is also awesome, and her husband is such a kind man. At Halloween, he had a little photo shoot with the girls in their costumes, just like a proud grandpa. It was so neat, it brought tears to my eyes. Together P’s mom and her husband are the concerned, loving, predictable, and involved(while still respecting our family’s boundaries) influences I wanted when I dreamed of the in-laws I would want. For years, the biggest sadness in everything tragic has been that the girls have not had dependable, responsible, loving, honest, kind people as grandparents. I regularly have to take a deep breath, take it all in and say a silent “thank you” to whoever orchestrated this beautiful disaster that is my life; it is perfection.
A very large part of my sadness over the last years came from not being able to magically appear with the family part of the girls’ life. That as their mother, I could work my ass off trying to fix EVERYTHING else, but I could not make anyone, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or otherwise, be what I wanted them to be. I could not will them to be selfless enough to realize the great need for my two precious girls to see good influences and good models of relationships and examples of how to be a phenomenal human being. Out of so much darkness, even what seemed like an eternity of it, my greatest wish came true. To find someone who would understand me, love me, love my girls with abandon, be responsible, driven, kind, a good man, and above all honest. And that he would come with people who I could love, who could also love my greatest joys, and who would love me; all without condition or judgement. In P, and his family, I have found my wish. And it is like the icy chill of a Slurpee, on a hot summer’s day, to my heart.
I could go on and on. In my life, I enjoy relatively good health, abundance in my immediate needs being met, great friends that have not been mentioned(like the whole of OKLAHOMA!), access to healthcare for myself and my family, a job that gives me satisfaction with the people I get to serve, a car that is paid off and runs well, and so many other things. But most of all, there are my girlies. T and C. C and T. My dynamic little duo. At the very tippy-top of my list, there are these little twerps. They suck my credit union account dry, and fill my life account with so much more than anything I could ever buy. These two sweet girls that make my entire existence validated, even on the hardest days. Because they are all I need. They are my hope, my dreams, and my life. My soul, beating and thriving, in two unique little beings that each have their own hopes and dreams for what life holds. It’s the most amazing thing. I never imagined motherhood would bring so much pain, so much sweat, tears, and bodily fluids in general. But all of those joined still do not equal the love, happiness, joy, and immeasurable glee that comes from seeing T climb her first tree on our trip to Oregon this year, or see C read her first pages of a book this fall. Or see them work together to solve a problem. Or to hear them say “I love you” to each other. Or to watch the two of them peacefully sleeping, curled up in the blankets that have soothed and warmed them each since birth. I am so grateful for every part of them. Even, the challenging days where I want to rip my hair out in frustration, or scream because watching them in any kind of pain, and not being able to fix it, is the most maddening thing.
The parts though, where everything is right again in the world, where everything is back to “normal”, when there is peace, and love, and a calm that is palpable; those parts blow every other difficult part away to somewhere else, and what is left, is this nucleus of family. A nucleus made up of courageous fierceness in the two of them, manifested in the most separate, but patented ways. And also of concentrated concern, from two loving parents, living together out of desire for each other and a unified cause to make each day better, and where honesty, love and joy prevail. It is the most soul-warming thing I’ve ever experienced. And to add to that family, the surrounding, endless love of close friends, who are actually in reality, our family. Every single part adding something essential for our perfect, beautiful little disaster: this is my life.
And this year, my little nucleus is what I am thankful for the most.
All my love,