Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

I awoke this morning with a whole list of things I am Thankful for swirling around in my head. Here, in no particular order, is my list:
  • I am thankful that my children are having a wonderful time with my parents and my sister’s family, while my husband and I are enjoying private time in beautiful (but chilly) Quebec City.

  • I am thankful for my beautiful children, for the imagination which runs in their spirits, for the generally good health they have been blessed with, for the love I feel for them, for the skills they all are learning each and every day. I am thankful for the opportunity and ability to see each of them grow into their own individual person, so different from each other and from anyone else in the universe.

  • I am thankful for my husband, because we are best friends and sweethearts and we have so much fun together just walking around and talking. I am thankful that we both enjoy things like talking to strangers and meeting people, being the host/hostess, having friends, traveling around the world, exploring new places, wandering bookstores for hours at a time, learning and investigating ideas.

  • I am thankful that I live in a time when, as a woman, there is no hindrance to my ability to study the texts and stories of my religion. I am thankful to live in such a vibrant Jewish community, to have institutions such as Hebrew College nearby for me to study, online resources including just about every holy book in the canon, Jewish Day Schools in abundance (last Shabbat, in the K-1-2 service, there were 3 different day schools represented among the children, plus the religious school!).

  • I am thankful for my brain, which allows me to observe, appreciate and understand all of this!

  • I am thankful for my girlfriends (and today I’m listing you by name!): Renee, for her sweet and gentle way mixed with her quirky and funny sarcasm; Jody, for her strength and organization and sheer joy in life; Debka, for her seriousness and caring; Cheska, for her earth-mother feel and wild-woman reality; Ruth, for her thoughtfulness and fun; Brenda, for her caring and her love of Judaism and her children; Michelle, for her cautious ways and infectious laugh; Nicki, for her goofiness, her guidance and the insane amount of clothing she hands down to my daughter; Debbie, for her wisdom and her guidance in the Jewish-Special Needs arena; Sara, for her warmth and sweetness; Cari, for her own strength in the face of Special Needs and our customary “rock talks” even when they don’t take place on a rock any more; Elyse, for her dedication to her projects and her quick thinking; Toni, for her humor and her knowledge of people; and all the other friends whom I am sure I am forgetting to name but I am never forgetting in my heart. You are all special women, and I am so fortunate to have you in my life!

  • I am thankful for my ability to be friends, real friends, with men also: Peet, who is the Kahuna to my Gidget; Michael D., my geek-twin; Eli, sweet and gentle and patient with his beautiful family; Michael K., a friend since 7th grade, who patiently allowed me to be the tag-along tomboy, then continued to stay in touch as we became adults, and who now, improbably so, also has a daughter with DS (and a beautiful family in general). Again, there are more, I’m sure, but all of them are important to me, important to how I see the world.

  • I am thankful that my sister-in-law, Laura, yesterday delivered a healthy baby girl, Lilien Eve, 6 lb 4 oz, 18”. This “thankful” is tempered, however. I am thankful that both Laura and the baby are healthy, but so sad about a host of things: my mother-in-law was not “allowed” to go to the hospital to be with her only daughter because my FIL wouldn’t “let” her; instead, Laura’s erstwhile boyfriend was there with her, and at the end of the day, it was his family who got to hold the baby (however, I am willing to take it as a possibly good sign that he did stay with her all day – maybe he’s not as horrible as I thought). I hope this all turns out ok. I feel guilty for not being available to her, but that same guilt made it clear that it was very wise of me to plan to be out of the country at this time!

  • I am thankful for the decently good health my family has. Yes, we all have our “stuff”, but it is really so minor compared to what other people are going through. My skin cancer was quickly discovered and easily cured, and now I have access to a wonderful dermatologist and RN, who are overly cautious and willing to test just about any spot. David’s Crohn’s Disease can be annoying for him, but he also has a great doctor, and usually the medications he receives keeps it fairly well controlled. Sam is getting terrific reading guidance to learn how to cope with Dyslexia, and he uses his time with his therapist really well. Micah’s food allergies are also controllable, and he is so good-natured about what he can and can’t eat (and we’ve been so lucky to have nut-free schools!). Sofia’s Down syndrome has brought us nothing but joy – joy in the ability to appreciate every milestone, joy in the way our friends and our community have showered her with love, joy in the new people we have met because of her extra chromosome, joy in the fact that she is really “high functioning” (as much as I hate that phrase) because she can do so much already. I am thankful that her cardiac issues are so minor, and that her gastric issues do seem to be settling. I am thankful that all of us have wonderful healthcare professionals, who are all willing to work as a team to take the best care of us.

  • I am thankful for my extended family. I love my grandma, and am so thankful that even at my age, I can still enjoy special conversations with her every week. My parents are loving and caring, and so willing to take care of their grandchildren! My sister and her family are also loving, and my sons have so much fun with their cousins. My own cousins, spread across the country, are all interesting and fun people, and my aunts and uncles have always been fascinating personalities for me to learn from. I miss my great-aunt Toby, who died last summer, and my grandpa Benny, who died 2 years ago, as well as Grandma Sarah and Grandpa Ralph, both of whom have been gone for a while now, but I am thankful for the time I did get to spend with each of them, and for the ability to know them all even after I became an adult. You see different things as a child than you do as an adult.

  • I am thankful for the safety and prosperity that we enjoy, that allows us to do all the things we want to do.

Ok, now that I have typed all of this, my brain is settling back down. Happy Thanksgiving to you all.