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Like many on this Thanksgiving morning, I am reflecting upon all that I am grateful for this year.  My blog last year included a list of gratitude for my Usually Lovely Husband, my children, my siblings, their children, my furry friend and of course, moisturizer.  https://modernmiddleagedwomenkickass.wordpress.com/2014/11/

The past couple weeks have been tough. The horrendous events across our world have made us pause and reflect on safety. The deaths of two beautiful young women who attended my oldest son’s university while driving home for Thanksgiving made my heart positively ache, and the news yesterday from a very dear longtime friend that her time left on this earth is limited to a couple months has brought tears to my eyes.

blog 1I could choose to let these happenings take the joy from my life.  I could choose to live with fear and worry and sadness, or I could choose to be thankful.  So this Thanksgiving Day of 2015 – I choose gratitude and hope.

I choose to be grateful to live in a world where despite malicious behavior and ignorant opinions, there are everyday heroes, acts of kindness and a basic humanity of people who unite in love and prayer against atrocious deeds.  I am grateful that there is an abundance of religions and tenets of belief in which people can find their own peace and their own means of devotion. I continue to hope that our world will one day understand and respect each and every ideology and allow for individualism and self-expression without recrimination.

I choose to be thankful that my mother grew up on the wrong side of the tracks in Butte, Montana. Her growing up as an Irish Catholic minority gave her a sense of compassion, understanding and a work ethic that lives on in each of her children and grandchildren.  I hope that our world becomes less motivated by color and differences and more motivated by caring and taking care of our planet together.

I choose to be grateful for the university and community where my son goes to school that can offer support and love to two families who lost loved ones this past weekend. These lovely young women touched many lives with their intelligence and joy for life and while our hearts break for the loss their families and friends suffer, the memory of their passion for living will be indelible among their classmates and community. I can only hope that these horrific accidents will make students driving to and from their college towns drive a little slower and safer and bring about some precautionary changes to the roads upon which so many people travel.  I know that I have hugged my man-child a little bit tighter this week and appreciate that so  many of my parental peers are doing the same while silently sending prayers to parents who are unable to.

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Over Twenty Five Years of Crazy Laughing and Friendship.

I choose to be grateful for a 25-year friendship with the strongest woman I know.  I have watched her leave an abusive husband, fight recurring battles with cancer, find love, lose love and still appreciate life, laughter and know the importance of having a regular mani/pedi and shop for cute boots. Her continually optimistic and humorous outlook on life will be in my heart forever and have made me a better person.

I choose to be grateful for my Usually Lovely Husband even when his engineering tendencies have made him put things away forcing me to constantly questioning my demise into early Alzheimer’s. I am thankful that his passion for order makes me the wife who has never picked laundry or wet towels off the floor and that he is generally available by phone when I am trying to locate the nooks and crannies he has returned things to. He is my bedrock and forever best friend.

I choose to be grateful for Lysol Wipes. They make the constant clean up from two boys and their herd of friends who I am lucky enough to have swarm my house like starving puppies a little easier.  My hope is that their friends know that even when I groan and complain about the trail of detritus they leave through my house they  know that my front door will always be open, my refrigerator will always be full of their favorite things and our sofa welcomes their butts for a sit down and a talk any time.

I choose to be grateful for my oldest prodigal son’s positive outlook and growing perspective about adulthood. He has seen more than his share of hardships happen to friends and family in his short twenty-one-year life span, but he remains steadfastly loyal to his friends, his beliefs and his family.  I hope that he and his friends make smart choices, learn from their mistakes and make our world a better place as they move from the collegiate world.

blog 3I choose to be grateful my youngest, my baby, is struggling to make the decision on his next step in life. He is on the threshold of his own University career choice and when he makes the final verdict on where he chooses to attend we will celebrate his choice with him.  I hope that he knows we realize how scary this process is and that we support him, are proud of him and will be part of him wherever his wings take him.

blog friendsI choose to be grateful for a bountiful group of friends.  They are diverse, interesting and funny. Some I can call “extra sisters”, some I can count as new beginnings, some I may not talk to for years at a time – but know they are part of my universal network.   I have friends who sense my mood in a single text, friends who I only talk to once every few years, friends I talk to every day and friends who ride next to me at the gym three times a week who don’t even know my last name; all provide value and balance to my daily world and for that I am imminently thankful.

blog 4I choose to be grateful to have the time and energy for volunteering in my community. I am incredibly lucky that my Usually Lovely Husband supports my commitments and lets me help when others may not have the time or ability.  Through helping others, I have met fabulous friends, learned new skills and hopefully made a difference for a few. I hope that my offspring will remember their manic mother’s tendency to over commit and help others throughout their own lives.

I choose to be grateful for careening midway into the decade of fifty with power surges.  I have learned that sweaters may not always be a fashion choice which survive a hot flash but layering provides the opportunity to go shopping more often.

I continue to be grateful for moisturizer and now also am grateful for under eye cream with a color option.

blog turkeyI choose to be grateful that I am cooking the turkey this year. I still hate dealing with the damn carcass after the mayhem of the meal, but my gratitude for a large family of lovely people with which to toast our blessings is endless.  (and right now – I am super thankful that my darling son raced in to lift the 23-pound turkey in and out of the oven for me between bastings!)

Today I am also incredibly grateful for spell check because I have been itching to write for weeks now and have not been able to carve out the time.  I am grateful to my U.L.H. who finished vacuuming while I ducked into my office to let my thoughts become words before my dearth of guests arrive even though this may be the fastest blog ever written and probably chock full of mistakes. I am grateful to a country that allows me to freely let my thoughts spill out on my laptop and let them loose into space without censure and I am grateful that there may be a few people who may read my words and remind themselves to choose gratitude.

blog toastA toast (with the good wine) to choosing gratitude. Live your life joyfully, fill it with friends, family and the things you love

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