Finding Thanksgiving Everyday
Happy Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Aside from all the yummy food, I enjoy the time sitting around and visiting with family. There is no focus on gifts, just being with the people you love.
I’m not going to lie; this has been a tough year. I lost my mom this summer after a long battle with a rare brain disease (semantic dementia). I chronicled our journey in my other blog, “Dementia Diaries” so I will spare you the details on here. Suffice it to say that it hasn’t been an easy road for our family over the past several years, and this year especially has brought upon us more heartache than we could even anticipate or prepare for. Yet, through it all, there have been many beautiful moments; I appreciate things so much more now than I think would have otherwise. To know joy, you must first know sorrow. I feel as though my senses have been heightened and I feel gratitude and joy for the things that I do have.
Over the past several months, I have had a lot of time to reflect on life; on my sorrows and on my joys. There are moments where the grief is all-consuming but I’ve also been more aware of the things that have brought joy and healing to my broken my heart. I am learning to smile and find joy in the simplest of things: snuggling up and reading to my babies (I know they’re getting big, but they’ll always be my babies), a night out with my husband, phone calls from my loved ones. Life isn’t always going to be easy, but joy can always be found if we look. There is always something to be grateful for, and I have much to be thankful for.
To begin with, I have so much gratitude in my heart for those who have buoyed me up and been there for me. They say that you learn who your real friends are when you go through something hard. I cannot even begin to express my gratitude for those friends who have been there for me. They have been there for me to laugh with and to cry with. They are there when I need extra help with my kids, when I need a lunch date, when I need someone to talk to. I am rich in the blessings of friendship.
I am thankful for my family, both immediate and extended. I have amazing aunts and uncles who have stepped in and been there not only for me, but for my kids as well. They have taken time to call and to text and stay connected with me. Some of them have come to support my kids in their extra curricular activities and with not having my mom here to be there for them, this means the world to me.
I am thankful for my dad. He is the one other person who fully “gets” this cycle of grief that I am going through, because he is going through it as well. We were my mom’s main caregivers so I think the loss is a little bit different for us. He is always there for me and my kids and he keeps our family close-knit and together. I feel like we’ve always been pretty close, but our relationship has grown even more over the past few years. I am thankful to have him as my dad.
I am thankful for my children. Being a mom is tough, but I am learning to appreciate my moments with them so much more. Sometimes all I have to do is look at them and my heart swells with joy. Watching them grow and develop their talents and learn about the world around them brings me so much happiness. I am learning to slow down and appreciate all of the little moments: their cheesy knock-knock jokes, watching them play and use their imaginations, phone calls from my oldest daughter who lives in another state. I am thankful to be their mother and thankful to have these little people in my life.
I am thankful for my husband. I haven’t been the most emotionally stable person this year, but he has stuck by my side and tries his best to understand what I am going through. He supports me in everything I do and cheers me on. He is always there to lift me up and pay me compliments that I probably don’t even deserve. I am lucky to have him by my side and am thankful that we found each other.
There are so many, many other things that I am thankful for: the talents I’ve been blessed with, my faith that gives me strength when I am weak, our health, our home, our jobs, the luxuries of life that we enjoy. On this day of Thanksgiving, I publicly recognize all of these things that I am grateful for. True thanksgiving, however, is about learning to appreciate these things every day. It is easy to get caught up in the mundane routines of our busy lives, but if we take the time each day to think about just one thing we are grateful for, we will find joy in this journey of life. That doesn’t mean we won’t ever feel sadness or heartache, but finding gratitude will help us through our sorrows. Thankful people are happy people.