Friday, December 3, 2010

Giving Thanks

I noticed a lot of blogs on the theme of thankfulness right before Thanksgiving. I had planned to write my own, but I fell behind due to being sick. I figured that it is appropriate to be thankful any time of year at all, and so I will describe today the things I appreciate most in life.

I am thankful for the things that don't come easily. This may sound strange, but it is an interesting twist to take aspects of your life that you wish you could change, and find a silver lining to them. When I struggle with something, it makes me more sympathetic to people who also have similar issues, and I enjoy being able to understand how others may feel. One example for me right now are the migraines I suddenly have started getting. This has made me appreciate the days I do feel good, and it has made me obtain admiration for people who deal with chronic pain. I may not have understood before how hard it is to get through the day when feeling truly miserable. I might have taken my health for granted.

Along those lines, I am thankful for the weight I need to loose. Everyone has a cross to bear; something physical they want to change about themselves. This is mine. It keeps me humble and it gives me something to work towards. It would be nice to say the weight "just fell off" after having three kids, but numerous circumstances have kept this from being so. I am fully aware that success someday in this department will be more meaningful because it is taking so much time, and it isn't easy.

I am thankful for two parents who have always loved me unconditionally and encouraged me to live life my way. They never pushed me to be someone I am not, and they continue to support me in everything. I believe I was at an advantage in life starting out with such a positive upbringing.

I am grateful for the friends who have seen me through thick and thin. There is nothing more comforting than someone telling you that they remember where you have been, but that they can also see also where you are going. I have a lot of friends who constantly uplift me. Some of them are old friends from school, and some are newer friends who came to me through shared circumstances such as our children's activities or schools. All of them enrich my life.

I am thankful for my husband, an unsung hero who must see every side of me unfiltered, every day. I am happy for the strength he has to take over duties that seem to hard to me when I am overwhelmed, while he also works hard outside the home to provide for us.

Of course I am thankful for my children. I couldn't ask for anything more, and I celebrate their unique qualities, even when they can, at times, be frustrating. I am proud of the people they are becoming. Within that, I am thankful for the struggles we have had with things I never thought would be daily words for us... autism spectrum, cerebral palsy, developmental delays, food allergies, failure to thrive. A beautiful life comes out of raising children with special needs. I may have days of feeling sorry for ourselves, or for them, but I truly cannot imagine things being any differently, either.

I am thankful for my first "real" boyfriend, for teaching me about forgiveness and that love can endure over time, not in the way it started, or the way you might imagine it to be, but in a nice blending of shared memories and respect. I don't know that many people get to be in the unique situation to experience this.

I have great gratitude for our doctors, some of whom have gone beyond their call of duty for myself or my children. We are fortunate to have doctors who are willing to share their vast knowledge with us, while also being humble enough, when appropriate, to admit they do not have all the answers, either.

In relation to that, I am thankful for the pediatric therapists who have provided two of my kids with endless hours of help. I am most impressed with the ones who never say "He can't" or "He won't." That is what I need as a parent, to hear that the sky is the limit.

I am thankful for small things that make life fun, like lattes, a really good Mexican restaurant, a great laugh with a friend, an addictive television show, new shoes, or a pair of jeans that fit just right.

It would be impossible to list all the things I am thankful for, but these are some highlights. I think it would be beneficial to keep a running list in my head all year. On any given day, even on a horrible day, I bet I can think of at least five things to still be thankful for. It's hard to complain when there is still so much good all around, isn't it?

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