I know that there are many people who will be listing all of the things they are thankful for this Thanksgiving. Why don't we express our thanks during the rest of the year? It's not that we don't appreciate all of the same things in June as we do in November. Maybe people just need an excuse to be sappy. I usually don't, but today I'm going to write what I am thankful for, today and year round. (I had my students do a lesson like this and I always say I would never ask them to do something I wouldn't do myself. Maybe I'll share this with them!)
There is no particular order for my thanks. I don't want to list and have some things look as if they mean more to me than others. In fact, everything means something to me in it's own way. So here goes:
Things I'm thankful for:
Dunkan. Yes, I'm thankful for my pet. He has unconditional love for me and will always brighten my day. Having him around has helped combat the loneliness I sometimes feel living on my own.
The past 6 months (give or take). I haven't really known the real Sarah until I experienced the biggest heartbreak of my life. Although I would never dismiss the last 3 years, I grew as a person and I learned to love, I appreciate the time to discover who I am. It's hard for me to admit that I have defined myself by the relationship I was in since I was in high school. It's a funny thing to be a 20-something college grad who hasn't discovered anything about herself. (Or maybe that's normal, I don't know) I am thoroughly enjoying being myself, enjoying time with my friends and family, and being able to do things for me and not for "us". It's an amazing feeling. I know that being confident in myself will only make whatever relationship I find myself in in the future will benefit from my being OK with me.
My friends, old and new. I love each and everyone of you. I wish I could list all of the people that mean something to me but I won't because I'm afraid I would forget someone. You know who you are. If it wasn't for my friends I wouldn't be grateful for the past 6 months! (and my whole life!) There were so many people who supported me, listened to me cry, made me laugh, and understood. I only hope that I too have done something to make all of my friends happy.
Being a graduate student. As tired as I am and as stressed as I may become, I am fortunate enough to be able to go to graduate school (however much debt I may land myself in) and meet new people and learn new things. I value education more than most things in life and being able to expand my knowledge makes me one happy girl. I know that the next year and a half of my life will no be easy trying to complete this degree but I also know that I will be filled with pride when I walk across the stage to receive my master's.
My students. I love each and every one of them, all 300 (or so) that I have taught in the 3 years I've been working and even the ones I taught during my student teaching year. These children show me more about myself and the world than I could have every imagined. No matter how much they may get under my skin (I'm sure I get under their skin,too!), I appreciate that they exist in my world. I think about them often. I wish I could take them home sometimes! This year I stand at the door every afternoon and "fist bump" my students as they leave and I make sure to say, "goodbye, have a great day/afternoon/weekend/holiday". Some of my angels (or angel babies as I tend to call them) even created handshakes with me. I love this. It fills me with joy to have inside jokes with my students. I will remember (most of) them for my whole life. I hope one or two of them will remember me. On Wednesday I stood in my door and half of my students gave me a hug as they walked out. If only they knew how much that much meant to me.
My family. I have the most supportive family in the world. Every one of my family members brings something special into my life. I'm glad to have them around when I need them. I am fortunate to have many aunts, uncles, cousins and a grandfather who will listen to me when I need them or who will just have a good time going out and spending some quality time together. I have an amazing extended family from my stepmother who have accepted my family as one of their own. My brother and his fiance and her family love me and never fail to show it. I love being able to be friends with my brother now that we are adults. He really is a wonderful man and I can only hope to find someone who will (1) meet his approval and (2) treat me the way he treats his fiance. My stepsister and stepmother who are shining lights in my life. I know that they will love me no matter what decisions I make but I also know that they will kick my ass into gear when necessary. If I could have picked my second family I couldn't have picked anyone better than these women. My father I saved for last (but I don't want to say I'm most thankful for him even though it may be true!) Every girl should be so lucky to have a father that listens to every mundane thing his daughter has to say. I live for 3pm phone calls with him and weekly dinners. I am so grateful to have him around after a traumatic period in our lives. My father is by far the best friend I ever had and I'm proud to admit that fact.
The traumatic experiences I've had in my life. Not many would admit to be thankful for having two parents who battled cancer and unfortunately losing a mother. I am more than thankful for these experiences because they pushed me to a limit I never wanted to reach. I am a better person for knowing and understanding life and death in such an intimate way. As sad as I may be because of these experiences they make me who I am and I don't think that's a bad thing!
I'm sure I'm thankful for more than these listed here but as I type listening to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and having my eyes fill with tears I can't think of any more. I hope that each person I know finds a way to thank everyone in their life, today and everyday.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!