I'm full of it today. Thankfulness, I mean, and you can keep your smart ass comments about what else I'm full of to yourself, thankyouverymuch. It's the holidays, dammit, so be nice.
Anyway, it's almost Thanksgiving and I find myself ruminating about how truly lucky/blessed/spoiled/overindulged I am.
Why, you ask? What makes my life - which happens amidst Walmart decor, dog hair, 4 years of old bills and credit card statements that will never get shredded, fat which simply refuses to come off of my ass or any other area, and a carb addiction which I battle daily in place of any real addictions - so blessed? So special? So worth living that the thought of being in any one else's shoes makes me weepy? I'll tell you.
1. I have GREAT friends. You know who you are. You know why you mean so much, and why you have proven theories WRONG that I held true about female-female friendships for most of my early adulthood. I cherish each and every one of you, and I thank the heavens I found you.
2. I am raising my beautiful, sweet, funny, smart, adorable, good-hearted children (along with my husband, of course). First-hand, without exception, I am their primary caretaker, the center of their world, and I miss nothing in their lives. This was my absolute greatest fear about being a parent: that I would miss out on milestones and have to ask daycare workers to lie to me (even lies of omission are lies) about first teeth, first steps, first words. I have been spared that. I decide what they watch, what they eat, when they sleep, who they play with, what they wear, what they learn, and the control freak in me finds that very, very gratifying. The challenges that are so much a part of being a SAHM are real, ever-present and consistently overwhelming, but they are such a small price to pay for the honor, the privilege, of knowing that I haven't missed a thing. Not everyone is that lucky, and I know that, and I don't take it for granted. Not that there aren't days I'd like to stick my head in the freezer for about a week, but that's another story...
3. My husband kicks ass. You've heard me tell of his great-husband-ness many times, and it's all true. He is "Father of the Year" and "Super-Hubby" rolled into one. His absolute WORST character flaws are that he exaggerates an awful lot, and he is too tender-hearted when he should be tougher on people (usually me, honestly). That's it. Those are the really crappy things about Greg. Yeah. I'm way lucky. I have said it for years, and it's still true: Greg IS the best man I know. He's VERY supportive of my role as SAHM, helps in any way he can, busts his ASS at his job whether he feels like it or not, gives me whatever support/encouragement I need in ALL areas of my life, and does just about every other thing I can think of that you'd want a husband to do. Seriously. The guy even does his own laundry when he needs it done. He has NEVER, in almost ten years, said "Hey, can you wash my _______?" My husband kicks ass.
4. Despite the numerous "issues" in my family, I am close with nearly every member of it. My sisters and I, and both of my parents, all have a relationship that I value in one way or another. Mom is one of my best friends, we each enjoy the other's company so very much, and I cherish her more with each passing year of my life. My sisters, who are really nothing like me in most ways, each give me unique perspectives that are valuable to me in my life, and I am grateful that they are my sisters. And even when we disagree, we can let that just be its own entity and move past it as people who love each other. Even Dad and I are rebuilding bridges, and in his own way, he continues to show me that he does, in fact, love me.
5. I have a sweet treadmill. And whenever possible, I actually USE it. I'm hoping that will start paying off someday.
6. My dogs are nice dogs. They are good family dogs, with kind hearts, and I will miss them someday when they are gone, despite the fact that they are a royal pain in my ass. I trust them with my kids, they always let me know when someone comes to the door (or the neighbor's door) and they would protect me with their lives if anyone ever tried to hurt me. I think. Either that or they'd show the guy where I was sleeping, and point out the safe on the way by. It's hard to tell with dogs.
7. My in-laws are super nice people. They truly are, and I enjoy them more and more the longer I am part of the family. They have been supportive in every way they can in our lives, they adore our kids, and they make us welcome in their home any time we want to come and invade for several days. Overall, in the grand scheme of things, I got pretty lucky in the in-laws department - and I didn't always used to think that. I'm sure they didn't either!
8. My washing machine and dryer are approximately 20 years old, and they still work pretty darn well. Ya gotta be grateful for THAT, right? Not that I wouldn't also be grateful for a new set, don't misunderstand - but meanwhile, I'm glad these are holding out. The washer washes, and the dryer dries. Can't ask for more than that!
9. We have enough money to pay our bills, eat as we please, and enjoy fun family times every month. I never have to tell my kids there is no food in the house. I never have to pay a bill late. We're not investing in major stocks or paying off tons of debt by the thousand every year, but compared to the state of lacking and want/need that some people live in every day of their lives, we are spoiled. We just bought new coats and snow boots for the kids tonight, and bought them new outfits for tomorrow, and I thought of the kids in the world who don't have anyone who even gives a shit enough to make sure they HAVE those things. How can any of us complain about ANYTHING when there are kids in the world with those types of heartache?
10. I have a brain and hands and feet and organs that all (mostly) work. I can get out of bed in the morning. I can feed myself, clothe myself, write to you, walk on my treadmill, listen to my dogs bark, and hug my family.
Those are luxuries to so many people, and I get to do all of them every day. Most of us do. Most of us wouldn't know a hard-knock life if it jumped up and bit us in our asses. We spend our days bitching and whining about things that make people with REAL problems roll their eyes. We have food in our bellies, generally more than we need. We have clothes on our back that some would kill for, and some do. We have all that we need to survive, and we have people who love us and care about what happens to us. THESE are the treasures in life, folks. The houses and cars and things are so irrelevant in the big picture. Even in writing this, I am more aware of the need for gratitude in my life.
True gratitude can change us, I really believe that. Gratitude for the blessings in our life can give us more joy and peace than any material possessions, promotions or kudos/acknowledgement/praise from the Pope, the president or the press ever could. Looking in the mirror every day, even if we don't feel like it in that moment, and saying "HOW did I get so lucky?" might just be the cure for what ails us a great deal of the time.
Life is full of problems. And challenges. And trials. And thank GOD we get to wake up every day to work through them - in our comfortable homes in our store-bought clothes that fit, while we eat our fresh delicious food (or our Burger King, if we choose) and look at our beautiful families with our eyes that see. We are TRULY, truly blessed - all of us.
Thanks so much for the time you take to read. It means more to me than you know. Pass this on if you wish, and remind someone else to be grateful on this Thanksgiving Day. May God send you a Thanksgiving that inspires MUCH gratitude!