As Thanksgiving approaches, I have been pondering all the things that I am most grateful for.
At the top of my list is my husband. He accepted me for who I was, has nurtured me and encouraged me to expand who I was, allowing me to become the person I am today. Without him, I would still be the shy, backward individual who truly thought that no one would ever love her.
My children come next. We tried so hard to get pregnant, but month-after-month it didn’t happen. And then we were blessed with our first child. He was a joy and brought so much light and happiness into our lives that we feared we’d never have a second child. But then, we became pregnant again.
This time our daughter was born. She was so tiny, but when her eyes could finally see me, my heart rejoiced. Now we had two wonderful children.
It took some time to conceive the third time, but when that son was born, once again we felt truly blessed. He was an easy-going-child.
The three didn’t always get along, which was to be expected, but most of the time they did.
Watching them grow, helping them with their schoolwork, being present when they played sports or were in a concert, meant so much to us. We couldn’t attend everything once they were in middle school, but we divided up the occasions as much as we could.
Seeing them graduate from high school and then college brought immense joy.
I am grateful to my faith. When I was in college, away from home for the first time, I questioned my church. Was Catholicism really for me? Or was it standing amid a forest, listening to birds sing?
It was both, and still is today.
My faith has helped me when I was sad or troubled. It has given me a base upon which I can bend over and touch God’s grace. It has filled me with love and gentleness and kindness. And it gave me my singing voice for the first time in my life.
I am grateful to Mike’s sister who believed in my dream to become a teacher. She paid my college tuition so that I could earn my Elementary Teaching Credential. Without her help, I could never have achieved my lifelong goal to teach.
Teaching fulfilled me. I loved watching my students’ eyes light up with understanding. To hear their voices excitedly talking about the subject we were learning. I loved watching them in the playground, running around with such a profound love of life.
My teaching career spanned over thirty-three years. I began working with preschoolers and retired teaching highschoolers. All those different age groups brought me joy. And fulfillment.
I am grateful for all of my grandchildren. They are wonderfully talented, bright, loving and polite human beings. I love them all. There’s nothing like hugging a grandchild, even when they have grown taller than you. I miss them terribly.
I am grateful for my friends. There are some I met through my church. Our kids grew up together. We went on picnics, walks and play dates. Some of those kids are still friends with mine!
Unfortunately, very few of my work colleagues stayed in contact after I either transferred to another school or after I retired. Even though we drifted apart, they each blessed me in some way. They taught me patience even when they “borrowed” my lesson plans and claimed them as their own. That was a great compliment, but I didn’t understand it at the time.
They shared ideas with me, helping me to tackle administrative duties as well as endless amounts of paperwork.
And the times when we did meet socially, they made me smile.
I am grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to grow intellectually as a professional and as a writer. While I didn’t always go home with a profound lesson learned, I prided myself in incorporating at least one thing into my work. I still do that today.
I am grateful with the life I’ve led, even when I was depressed or trapped in my abusive family, for I took away from those situations that I could choose sadness or I could choose joy. I chose to be happy.
I am grateful the I am relatively healthy for my age. Sure, I’ve got issues, but I don’t let them drag me down. Instead, I accept them as a challenge to overcome.
In summation, I have much to be grateful for. All my varied experiences, all the people I’ve me, all the things I’ve done had enriched my life in unimaginable ways.
For this I am grateful.