thirty days of thankfulness.

Thanksgiving is one day, but this year I was challenged to declare my thankfulness for each of the 30 days in November.  Here is my list so far (which will continue to update until December 1st):

autism home rescue 1122201201Day 1:  I am thankful to know such amazingly creative people who share their great ideas!

Day 2:  I am thankful that Halloween was “postponed” so Alex could go trick-or-treating with his sister.

Day 3:  I am thankful for music & how great songs endure for generations.  This morning Hannah was telling me her favorite singer/dancer is Michael Jackson & we were singing songs I loved in high school!

… pretty young things repeat after me, say na na na…

Day 4:  I am thankful for the people who “get” my son & know how to best take care of him.  And I am also thankful for being able to have patience & not bite the heads off the people who are clueless in that area. … sigh…

Day 5:  I am thankful for “dream catchers.”  Since I got one from the craft store for Hannie, all her dreams have been peaceful.  But more importantly, I am thankful for all those “good luck charms” and “magic things” that somehow help when I need a little extra faith.

autism home rescue 1122201202Day 6 (election day):  I am thankful I live in a country where I can speak my mind & I can vote.  I am also thankful for my 7 year old’s compassion for others.  On the way to the polls this morning, she said:

“If anyone asks, I’m gonna tell them I’m voting for Obama because my friend Ethan (who has autism) loves Elmo.  And also because I want my Mom to be able to marry the woman she loves!” 


Day 7:  I am thankful all that fuss is over.  Now onto the business of making the world a better place for the kids!

Day 8:  I am thankful for forgiveness.  As in, all those little moments where someone we love forgives our crankiness or frustration & inspires us to try again.

Day 9:  I am thankful for choice.

Day 10:  I am thankful for childhood friendships which endure across the years.  Being able to “share my happy” with my dear friend & kindred spirit Linda today made me feel so lucky & blessed!

autism home rescue 1122201203Day 11:  I am thankful my body works more or less the way I want it to & I am healthy.  I am thankful I can run, eat, laugh, stretch, play and enjoy it all.  And I’m also most thankful to have found someone to share life with who appreciates the same things!

Day 12 (veteran’s day):  I am thankful for the folks in the military, past & present.  All the time I am discussing, debating, advocating & throwing my opinions around, I am well aware that without their service, I might not have even the freedom to write a list like this.

Day 13:  I am thankful for the innocence of children.  This morning while I was digging through a closet to find something, an old note to Hannah from “Santa” fell out of a bag of decorations.  Hannah picked it up, read it and asked with wide eyes:

“Is Santa Claus REAL??”

I paused… then asked, “What do you think honey?”

Hannah replied:

“I think he’s real and he’s AWESOME!”

autism home rescue 1122201204Day 14:  I am thankful for technology.  When I finally got up the guts to check my financial tracking software program this morning, I learned that I’m way overbudget.  But not as overbudget as I thought I actually was.  And for some reason, I’m totally cool with that.  So cool, in fact, that I hopped right on over to Facebook to tell 832 people about it.

…hmmm…  Maybe I’m actually thankful for caffeine and therapy…

Day 15:  I am thankful for my daughter’s perspective.  This morning while I was running around like a nutcase getting ready, Hannah asked:
“Mom, if you were a fairy, what kind of fairy would you be?”
Me (loading dishwasher, making lunch & repairing picture frame simultaneously):  “Huh?”
Hannah (patiently explaining):  “You know– like you could be a water fairy, or a season fairy or an earth fairy … Mom?”
Me:  “Umm.. I guess I’d be a stress fairy.”
Hannah (taking a deep breath):  “Okay, Mom.  You can’t be a stress fairy because stress fairies don’t do anything.  So you can be a water fairy who’s kind of stressed out, okay?”
I think my daughter is trying to do a Solution Focused Consultation.  I just love the heck outta that girl!

autism home rescue 1122201207Day 16:  I am thankful for healing touch.

Day 17:  I am thankful for do-overs.  As in, the second chances granted by the bigger kids when we were the littler kids and messed up during a game.  I discovered do-overs come in handy in lots of situations… relationships, parenting, careers, cooking, homes, haircuts… you name the flub, I bet you can change it with a deep breath and a compassionate do-over.

Day 18:  I am thankful for Sunday afternoon down time with nothing to do but snuggle in bed.  Day 19:  I am thankful for caffeine on Mondays.

Day 20:  I am thankful there are alternatives to Saran Wrap.  Seriously?  You’re gonna rip right in the middle, stick to yourself & make me cover the bowl with six pieces?  But you can’t ever stick directly to the bowl now can you?  Grrrrrrr….

autism home rescue 1122201206Day 21:  I am thankful for the kind of love that is simply being present.  Yesterday I began the heartbreaking process of having Alex classified as a “disabled child.”  When my anxiety peaked after a long day of paperwork & questions & trying to figure out Thanksgiving preparation, it all tumbled out on the phone with Aubrey.  Instead of fixing or rationalizing or explaining, Aubrey simply asked:

“Do you want me to go with you tonight to see Alex?”

I am so thankful for that kind of loving kindness.  Aubrey’s presence in my life just makes everything better.

Day 22 (thanksgiving):  I am thankful for holiday celebrations with my children.

Day 23:  I work above a major department store which is famous for its animated holiday light shows.  We can only hear the music from certain parts of the office.  I am thankful that for the next month every time I use the closest bathroom to my desk, I’ll be able hear the Nutcracker Suite and Julie Andrews’ voice loud & clear.
I am thankful for this because it is really hard to remain stressed out at my job when I’m hearing Christmas music every time I pee.
Day 24:  I am thankful for good hair days, inside jokes with my daughter, old classic cartoons, good coffee, breakfast in bed, playful chihuahuas, a great run on the treadmill, kid sleepovers, date nights, stolen kisses & lots of random laughter.  Basically everything that makes a free Saturday perfect.
Day 25:  I am thankful for trust.  The kind of trust that comes when someone else says, “Everything will be okay” and you believe them.
autism home rescue 1126201201Day 26:  I am thankful for photographs which capture routine, everyday moments.  I know that years later, those pictures will become important pieces of the puzzle of our family life and future generations will appreciate them more than I can imagine right now.

The thanksgiving list, with no added fluff.

Can I tell you a secret?  Those mushy Thanksgiving blogs make me feel kinda funny and lightheaded- not in a good way.  On one hand, of course it’s special and beautiful to write about the crisp autumn air and the smell of apple pie and the laughter at family gatherings.  Great stuff, I’m totally all for it.  But to be honest, if I wrote a post like that, I think I’d feel like I was missing my own point.  In fact, I might even make myself queasy.  So this year, I deliberately sat down to write a list of things for which I am truly thankful, a list which includes the most important stuff without all the fluffy crap.  Here it is.

I am thankful for music.  All kinds of music.  The songs and beats and melodies that run through my blood and make me want to take on new challenges and conquer the world.

I am thankful for expressions of joy.  On my way to work this morning I saw a little girl dancing her heart out at her bus stop.  Awesome, awesome!  Made me want to jump up and dance with her.

I am thankful for heartache.  Each time I have opened my heart to reach out to someone, to truly love with all my soul, there has been some heartache.  The pain of it, while as great and terrible to my psyche as a shattering earthquake to the land, has always left me stronger, more determined, and more grateful for my ability to immerse myself in relationships and experience love.  I would not be who I am were it not for heartache.

I am thankful for my memory.  The memories I carry with me are a forever reminder that love continues beyond the moment and the connections I’ve made are mine to keep.  What I remember of my past gives me hope for the future and all the discoveries that lie ahead.

I am thankful for my health, my breath, for the strength of my physical body, for my ability to run and dance and play.  I took my body for granted for a long time.  Now I realize, as I see various health problems break down the freedom or abilities of those I love, how amazingly grateful I am for my physical self.  Hooray for walking up stairs, for climbing trees, for bending into yoga poses.  Hooray for breathing chakras into alignment and the ability to eat well.  I am thankful for all those healers who help me become more resilient and treat my body with care.

I am thankful for teachers.  Those who share what they know because they are passionate and generous enable the whole world around them to be enriched.  I am grateful to be surrounded by teachers of a zillion different matters and areas of expertise, big and small, in just about every field I can imagine.  How blessed am I to be able to learn!

I am thankful for mentors.  For those who believe in the unlimited potential of others and whose main focus is to help people to reach their goals and feel good about themselves, to uncover and bring to light the hidden talents lying just beneath the surface and to celebrate them.  I am grateful for those who advocate for others and who refuse to compromise their positive view of humankind and their high expectations for the future.

I am thankful for words.  I used to think my vocabulary was so limited, that I could never find the words I wanted.  It wasn’t until very recently that I realized how lucky I am to be able to speak and write and think in words as well as pictures.  I am grateful for communication, understanding and language.  I am grateful I can tell you how I feel or what matters most to me.

I am thankful for the ability to create.  Art, food, comfortable spaces, community, situations in which people can experience happy, healthy things.  Creation, manifestation, achieving a goal, visualizing a dream, living life as part of the creative process, not as a means to an end.

I am thankful for you.  It doesn’t matter to me what country or community or area or situation or family to whom you belong.  You’re reading, so you’re listening.  And the gift for me is that my words are heard and acknowledged.  I am part of a community of sharing, discovering, growing people.  So many of us take that for granted, but isn’t that what we all want?  Recognition and the chance to know that we are heard?  To feel as if we matter to someone else, that our lives matter in this place on earth?  How lucky I am to have you!

Last– but most importantly– I am thankful for the two words I hear every night from Alex as he is drifting off to sleep (“Mommy cuddle”) and the kiss on my nose from Hannah Rose that wakes me up every morning.  They are touchstones for my sense of belonging in this world.  And I am most of all grateful to have been born of this universe and to belong here now.