My 36th Thanksgiving has come and gone and like many other people around the U.S., I have spent some time thinking about all the things I am thankful for. These past few months of adjusting to life back in "the world" have been a little rough, a little fun, but most of all, I have really been able to look inside myself and I have learned a little bit more about myself.
I am thankful for Guy because without him, I would not have had all the experiences over the last 14 years of our life together. I don't think anyone else on this earth could handle being my husband.:) He knows all my different moods and feelings and he still loves me anyway.:) And, I love him more than he'll ever know.:)
I am so very thankful for my children, Lizzy and Jeremy. There was a time in my life I thought they would never exist. I remember I would lay in bed at night and pray to God to send me a tiny spirit to be my child. I had read in a book somewhere that the prayers of a mother are heard above all others and I thought, what the heck? Maybe the prayers of a future mother could hold some water, too. And in time, Jeremy drifted into our lives and we were forever changed from the moment I received the phone call he was born in Guatemala. My prayers were answered.:) Then, two years later, when I wasn't even looking, our second child drifted quietly, yet surprisingly into our lives and she completed our family. Though there are many days of whining( from them and me), I always remember how blessed and fortunate I am to be their mother.:)
I am thankful for my parents. I am extremely close with them and they have shown me how important family is. My Mom and Dad have really had a struggle over the last ten years with my mom's health, but she has pulled through her most recent surgery in October and she is really doing great, and I even got to sneak up to Illinois this weekend to see her. I am so proud of my Mom for getting through this and I am so excited for both she and my Dad to fly out to California at Christmas to meet their third grand child for the very first time!:)
I am thankful for my brothers. Being the oldest and the only girl in my family, I didn't realize growing up what great guys they are. But, now, I look at them and can't believe they are all grown up. One a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy and the other one a brand new dad.:) I love you guys!!:) I am so proud of you both!:)
I can't forget about all of my extended family up in Wisconsin and Michigan ( Kentucky, Arizona, Florida, and Arkansas, too). Without all of you, I wouldn't have so many great memories of all the times at the beach, birthday parties, cookouts and pool parties. Those memories are what I picture in my head when I think of my childhood, and I don't think I could ask for a better family.:)
There is a saying that friends are the family we choose for ourselves and that is so true. I have a few very close friends who I am so thankful for. I know I can talk to them just about anything and I know they have my back. Those friendships are so precious to me.
I am thankful that I had the opportunity to be close to both of my grandmothers, and even though they have both passed away, I have the memories of both of them with me every day. It hurts me sometimes that I can't call them up on the phone to talk to them, but my life is so much better because I knew them. I learned so many life lessons from them from just watching them and listening to their stories. They were two very strong women and I am so grateful they were in my life.
Moving back to the U.S. has been a bag of mixed emotions for me. I am happy to be back and closer to friends and family, but I left someone behind there who was a huge part of my life while I lived there. Sometimes, i think to myself, it would be so much easier if I had not met her, but then, my eyes would not have been opened to so much that I saw while living in Lagos. I am forever changed because Happiness came into my life. She had a way of looking at things and they weren't so complicated after all. She calmed my fears many times while living there, and she became a part of our family. It has been a hard last few months for the kids and for me without having her with us, but I am so thankful that she was part of our lives. She taught us to look at things differently and I was humbled many times by her view of the world. She always saw the "glass half full", and she truly lived up to her name.:)
I am so thankful for the opportunity our family had to go to Nigeria. We were able to see things and have expereinces there we would never have had if we hadn't gone. We now know what true poverty and destitution looks like and we know how fortunate we are to be citizens of the U.S. We also learned so much about other cultures during our time there and we learned a new appreciation for people from all over the world and not just in Nigeria. I am so thankful that my children were able to experience some of the beauty of people from different parts of the globe.
I truly have so much to be thankful for not only at this time of the year but every day throughout the year. My life is so much better because of all the people who were, have been and are still in it.:)