Well, I’m sitting here doing my usual Thanksgiving Eve ritual. “Gone With the Wind” is on the television while I finish up making a gigantic pumpkin cheesecake. It’s the same every year. I don’t know what it is, but though I’m probably one of the most non-traditional person I know, I get a yearning for traditions during the holiday season. And I feel cheated if I miss even one little detail. Well tonight I’ve decided to start a new tradition. This year has been one of changes. Some good, some not so good… some yet to be decided. But even when I’m down in the dumps, feeling like I’ve completely ruined my life, I realize that I have so much to be thankful for.
1. My family. I’ve talked about this before on my blog, but its so true that it bears repeating: I have the most fantastic family in the world. I keep seeing posts on Facebook about how people are lacing their turkey with Prozac or not looking forward to going home to their folks’ place or trying to figure out clever ways to avoid their parents or siblings and I can’t help but think, “I’m so glad I don’t have to do that!” I love going over to my sister’s house and hanging out with everyone. I have an amazing father, Alex, that’s always the life of the party, 2 sisters, Jayel and Sarah, that are the epitome of what older sisters should be, a husband, Tally, that can only be described as Adonis and Rhett Butler all rolled into one, a niece, Katie, that teaches me every day about unconditional love, parents and siblings-in-law: Derek, Justin, Doris, Mike, Brennan and Mandy, that have welcomed me into their family with open arms and hearts, and an adopted sister and mom, Marcia and Alice, that are always surprising me with their love. And not to mention all the aunts and uncles and cousins that are too numerous to name without being tiresome. I’m just overwhelmed at how lucky I am to get to spend the holidays with all of them. It’s not an obligation, it’s a privilege.
2. My friends. Y’all probably hear so much about my friends that you either wish you could meet them yourself or that I’d just shut up about them. People that know me will tell you that I haven’t always been the best when choosing my friends. It’s probably because I always assume the best in people. However, the friends I’ve made as an adult have been wise decisions and they are true friends. Some of these friends are those kind that were probably family in another life: Susan, Amy, Jen, Bill, Selah, Erin, John, Nicole, Stacie, Alan, Leigh– you all know who you are. Some of them I met in conventional ways (i.e. work) and others in more unconventional ways (Second Life, Yahoo groups), but all of them are special to me. I’ve also made a slew of friends on Facebook, some that I have had the pleasure to meet and assimilate: Nicole, Randy, Alexx, Bruce, Bobbie Jo, David, Mark and so many others that I just don’t even have the space to mention. People that have inspired me and encouraged me even when they’d never seen my face. Fellow artists and dreamers that have bucked me up when I felt like giving up or maybe just made me smile with their kitty memes. And then there are my teacher friends who still love me, even though I abandoned them: Carole, Alisha, Harriet, Sarah, Tracy, Terri– and so many others. I am thankful for you all.
3. Writing. It took me a long time to realize my purpose in life. I went through all sorts of masks trying to figure out who I really am. It wasn’t until about three years ago that I figured it out. I am a writer. I’ve tried to be an actress, a teacher, a store clerk, but what I really am is a writer. None of that has ever given me as much satisfaction as finishing a story. To breathe life into my characters is the most wonderful thing I can think of. I suppose there was no escape. My sister is a writer, my husband is a writer and my grandmother could tell a story like nobody’s business. Writing has saved my life over the last year and I’m grateful. When I didn’t like the world I was living in, I just made up a new one. And when someone pissed me off– I just killed them in a book. I know, now you’re trying to figure out who my victims were… I’m also thankful that there are publishers and editors out there that believed in me enough to let me do this professionally: Kelly, E, Kharisma, Traci, Nicole, and Rebecca.
4. Health. I talk a lot about my mother, Anita, who passed away three years ago. My mother and I were extremely close and when she died it nearly broke my heart completely. I still have days when I miss her so much that I find myself sobbing on the couch. Mom died after a twenty year battle with heart disease and diabetes. She became ill when she was fairly young and we realized after she was gone that I had never really known my mother when she was completely well. I’m so thankful that I’m older than she was when she first found out she was diabetic and still in fairly good health. Sure, I need to lose a few pounds, exercise more and stress less, but I’m still active and feeling good. And that’s truly a blessing.
5. Home. And I don’t necessarily mean a structure, though having a roof is nice. I really mean a place where I can go where someone is there that loves me always. Someplace that’s warm and safe. Someplace where my husband hugs and kisses me and my dog annoys the shit out of me and lays in my lap sleeping.
Alright, I’m going to shut my mouth now and let you all get back to your own Thanksgiving rituals. Think of me fondly while you’re shopping on Black Friday and I’m working. Don’t forget to hug the people that you’re thankful for. And as always, if you’re looking for something good to read on this holiday weekend– check me out. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!