In spite of the holiday's horrifying origins, I do appreciate the opportunity to spend time with my family and mull over the many blessings I have been endowed with in my lifetime.
In that vein, I am sharing only five life blessings out of the many I am thankful for:
1. MY FAMILY. It was hard to spend the first Thanksgiving without my grandfather without wanting to cry. The saying "You don't truly appreciate something until it's gone" is true. I did appreciate my grandfather's presence in my life, but I took that presence for granted. His absence is a reminder to consistently SHOW appreciation for my family by spending time with them, keeping in contact with them via whatever venue necessary and being considerate of them. I often think to myself that I do not know what I would do without my family; and it breaks my heart to think of my mom, dad, sister, grandma, cousins, uncles and aunts not being around. My family has long been a source of support and love for me, and I am thankful for everything they do, the advice they give and the laughter we share.
2. MY SON. Before January of 2010, I blindly believed that I could not have children. When I learned that I was pregnant, I was shocked yet felt numbed by the overwhelming knowledge that my life would dramatically change in the new year; and change it has. Life as a single stay-at-home mother has been exceedingly difficult, but I would never go back and change my decision to keep my beautiful son. He has brought immense joy and laughter into my life and the lives of my family members. Every day he teaches me something new, and I am grateful that he alive, well and growing.
3. MY FRIENDS. I have a handful of friends, and I only talk to a couple consistently; but I am grateful for every single one of them. Whether or not we talk every day or every few months, I am thankful to have had their presence in my life in the past and look forward to spending more quality time with them in the future. I often feel that with my friends I am my most true self, able to be open and honest about the difficulties I face. We share laughter, advice and stories. Each moment with them is an adventure. Never mind the fact that if I need help, they are there to help, without question, every single time.
4. WORDS. I can never underestimate the power of words to work wonders in my life. Books make me laugh and cry and impact my worldview. Newspaper stories have the same effect and make me wonder what I would do if I were in the same position as the "characters" in articles. Magazines give great advice on parenting my son. Blogs allow me to relish the adventures of others' lives and connect with other writers. My own blog gives me the opportunity to share my own stories, to express myself to the world and to harness the therapeutic and social power of writing. Writing and reading are like family members to me: I don't know what I'd do without them.
5. BASIC NECESSITIES. Too often in life, I have spent time thinking about everything I do not have or want more of. However, I must remember that I am blessed with a home even if it is small and I am blessed to have running water even if the sink and bathtub faucets leak and the kitchen sink is consistently clogged. I am grateful to have these basic necessities, and I wish everyone in the world could have the same.