My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Thursday, November 25, 2010

the biggest thankful thursday of the year

It's the biggest Thankful Thursday of them all and I'd be remiss if I didn't put together a mack-daddy Thankful Thursday post today before I head over the river and through the woods.

I spent a little time reflecting on the past year and the things that make it different from years past. The biggest change in my life is that I'm now a Mother-in-law. Cody and Marquee were married in May and I'm so thankful that my sweet, sensitive Cody has a beautiful, smart, strong lady to love him for the rest of his life. I felt a weight lift off my shoulders when they married... to know that he has someone to love... and who loves him... is a great gift. Isn't this what we want most for our children?

The most emotional moment of Cody's wedding for me was (and I'm tearing up even now thinking about it) when my beloved Purple Michael... who had told me he was not going to be able to come... came walking up the pathway to the wedding venue. I don't think I actually sank to my knees but that's how I felt... this precious man who had stood by my side through all the trials and tribulations of raising Cody... who had shared so much of our lives... to have him there with me... to share that day with him was an amazing gift.

In fact, that day was a beautiful reunion for me with several people I hold dear. I had Purple Michael on one hand and my Barry on the other. If it takes a village to raise a child, these men were my Village People... I can't tell you how many hours Barry and I spent on the phone late at night talking about Cody's grades or Cody's baseball skills or Cody's behavior... it was a blessing to have that strong male role model in Cody's life and through those turbulent Cody-rearing years, he was always a rock for me.

The day before the wedding I made the round-trip down to the southside of town to be present and provide whatever help I could in preparation. Cody is blessed to have a wonderful, talented and creative mother-in-law and she put together a wedding that was far beyond anything my time or talents or finances would have allowed. I spent the day in a whirlwind of shopping, running errands, setting up... feeling the weight of emotions that come with having a child get married. I drove back up to the mountains... went to my brother's house and there waiting for me was a hot meal and the open arms of my two sisters. While my parents didn't give me any sisters by birth... God gave me sisters of the heart... and my Angie and my Candice were both there to greet me, to let me decompress, to laugh with me and cry with me. I'm so grateful to God for these two women!

The truth is that throughout my life, God has always filled in the blanks. For a woman without sisters or daughters... I have a life that is chock full of incredible women of all ages. There's my hen party - Alisa, Cyndi, Angie, Sharon, Darline... with whom I learn, love, laugh and cry every Wednesday night. There are the nieces... natural and adopted... Sarabeth, Jamie, Jorjanne, Stasha... who always hug me, love me, write me great little notes that I can post on my refrigerator and my desk. There are my Blogger Babes... (and I don't dare list because I'll leave someone out) the ladies who have faithfully read my blog for years... and who are constantly wishing me well, supporting me, cheering me on, loving me from afar. There's Organic Rose at the farm who shares her wisdom and knowledge... and the fruits of her labor with me. There are the precious saints at my church who never judge me, always love me, always encourage me, faithfully pray for me. There are my Facebook Friends - most of whom have crossed paths with me in real life at some time of my life - and although we may rarely see each other now, our shared legacy cements us together. God has given me a whole army of women to love and support me.

This year has been a truly transformational year for me. Sometimes my stubborn nature causes me to become stagnant but... when I decide to do something, that stubborn nature serves me well. When I commit to doing something, I have the conviction and competitive nature that will not allow me to fail. I thank God for the changes in my health this year, that I haven't been sick (hardly at all!) that I haven't had pneumonia or bronchitis or kidney stones or kidney infections or earaches or depression or insomnia or female troubles or any of the multitude of health problems that have burdened me in past years. I'm so grateful for the knowledge I've gained this year, the new foods I've learned to love, for the ability to go to Weight Watchers and the determination to stick with it. I'm thankful for the many, many people who give me "atta girls" with every .2 pounds lost... who constantly cheer me on... who share their recipes and tips... for Purple Michael's beloved Hoot who helps me keep the nutritional aspect in line. I have learned that there is no limit to what I can do for myself and my health if I set my mind to it.

When you're a parent you suffer and sacrifice and wonder if in the end it even matters. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of having dinner with my boys' best friend, my fourth son, Joshy and his lovely wife Megan. The whole evening was nice and I so very much enjoyed spending time with these two intelligent, ambitious young people. On our way back to my car Josh said some very kind words that I can't entirely quote verbatim but essentially he validated who I was and how much he now - as an adult - realizes that I struggled while raising my boys on my own. It was hard. I did struggle. There were a lot of really tough times for me and so often I felt like my kids just didn't get it. To know that my sons' closest friend understands and validates what I did... it was another tissue moment for me... although I didn't let Joshy know at that moment just how precious his words were to me. Ultimately, every parent just wants to know that they're loved and appreciated. I was and I am and I'm grateful.

Even now, at the ripe old age of 42, I need my parents just as much now as I ever did. My boys wouldn't be who they are today without the constant assistance that my mom gave... in watching them, driving them where they needed to go, being their safety net and a soft place for them to land when they couldn't hack it with mom. Even now... she watches over Cody and Marquee (and they watch over her) and makes sure that they have everything they need. My dad is a true patriarch. He is the one person in the world that I know I can always go to. He is the one person who will always love me no matter how much I mess up. He helps bridge the gaps in life for me financially. Last Thanksgiving my brakes on my car were going bad and Pop insisted on getting them fixed for me. I didn't want him to spend the money but he said, "You're our only daughter... " he wouldn't risk anything happening to me. It made me cry then and it makes me cry now. I don't acknowledge it often but I don't take for granted that my parents have been an anchor for me and my kids throughout our lives.

There's so much more and i don't want to leave anyone out but I have to finish up my hummus and taboule that I'm taking along with my deviled eggs for Thanksgiving... I'm thankful for:
my faith which sustains me and gives me hope, my job and the people who work with me- that I spend the majority of my waking moments with, new friends and old friends, the guys I've met recently, the old flames and new, Farmville, Frontierville, facebook and all the things that fill my time so I'm not bored out of my mind. I'm thankful for the arts, for tv, for Christian music, for showtunes. I'm thankful for my kitty cats, for the rooster that lives in the backyard, for the beauty of these mountains, for the peace and tranquility of this place where I live, for a patient landlord, for the car in my driveway. I'm thankful for the library, the farm, our new Starbucks' (two of them!) for pajama Sundays and hen party Wednesdays. I'm thankful to feel better at 42 than I did at 39 and I hope it keeps getting better! I'm thankful for every lesson I've learned along the way, regardless of how painful because they made me who I am today. I'm thankful for the girl who does my hair and Nadine's chicken salad. I'm thankful that my 87 year old grandmother is still with us and still so lovely (good genes!). I'm thankful for all the blessings that God has given me and I pray that I never take anyone - or anything for granted.

And I pray that wherever you are, whomever you're with, whatever you're doing that you'll find reasons today - and every day - to be thankful. Love and hugs, y'all!


Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Heather! You know that I've been reading your blog for many years now and your annual Thanksgiving post is one I always look forward to. In fact, this one makes me reflect back on other years. I'm glad you are so happy and truly more comfortable in your own skin than ever. It seems to me that you have finally arrived at the place that you've been trying so long to find. You should be very happy with yourself! You've worked so hard ... you deserve it!


Becky said...

What a lovely, lovely post. I am thankful for YOU. Hope your holiday is filled with good things.

Bookncoffee said...

Your post has so much energy and insight. Enjoy reading your blog entries. Hope you have had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Your dinner choices sounds good. And I'm wanting a dressed egg about now. They are on my mind b/c my daughter is in there making them now for dinner at my Mom's tomorrow. lol.
Take care.

Missie said...

Happy Thanksgiving Heather!