Alphabet of Thanks

When I was a teacher, a colleague set up an enrichment activity for her classroom to create an alphabet of facts about a subject they loved. It made a great hallway display, and it allowed the kids to get engrossed in a project that was fun. They barely realized all the skills they were practicing as they created their posters. I had that hallway display in mind when I started this list, weeks ago. It seemed like an easy enough task – I have SO much to be thankful for, surely I could find one thing for each letter. But, like that class full of kids, I found that I really had to put a lot of thought into creating this list. That’s a good thing, though. Every day that I opened up this page and worked on it, I had to focus on the blessings in my life. It helped center me on days when I was too caught up in the busy-ness of the impending holiday. So, here it is: my alphabet of thanks. I hope you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving. 

Animals in my life. Currently, we share our home with two sweet kitties, but in the past I’ve had dogs, cats, hamsters, and a guinea pig. I’m thankful that my parents let me have pets as a kid, and I’m thankful for that warm fuzzy feeling I get when I wake up to the sound of purring.

Blogroll of friends and acquaintances. Their words challenge me, amuse me, inspire me. Their skills humble me and dare me to stretch. Their comments keep me going on days when I feel like I have nothing to offer here.

Cellphone, which keeps me in touch with everyone I love, and lets me screen the calls of those I don’t love. (Kidding. A little.) Once my younger brother got a cell, we started chatting at least once a week. My parents weren’t planning to ever get cellphones, but they finally did as part of my dad’s new job, and now I talk to my mom practically every day. I’m so thankful for this connection, because living far away from all of my family and most of my old friends could otherwise be very isolating.

Dad & Mom. My parents weren’t perfect, but they did a great job in giving me a happy childhood. I’m thankful for their marriage (28 years and counting, and they still make out in the kitchen!) and for their commitment to my brother and I. My dad never has an idle moment – and my mom never met a stranger. They take care of so many people, and they set a great example for me.

Early morning. When I manage to put myself to bed on time, I usually awaken naturally at a pretty early hour. The peace and quiet of the house before Smooch wakes up is a balm to my soul. The coffee tastes better, the words I read speak to my heart, and there is a clarity of purpose when I jot my to-do list. I’m thankful for those moments of serenity.

Finger paint. I’ve learned (vicariously) that it doesn’t taste great. I’ve learned that a finger-painted creation makes most people smile. And I’ve learned that it even washes out of hair, eventually.

Gruff.

Hearing Smooch “read” to himself. It warms my heart and reassures me that he’s already developing a love for reading and learning.

Internet groups. I am a member of a few Yahoo! groups and a few message boards. They’ve been a source of information and support during the toughest times of my life – fertility struggles, a cancer diagnosis, and marital trouble. My life is richer because of the connection I’ve found at my laptop, and I’m thankful for all of the members of those groups.

Joyful noises. I know, I know – I just wrote about how great the silence is at my library. And that’s true; I need the quiet to concentrate and find my center. But I’m thankful that my whole day isn’t silent. I love the sounds of my happy little family and my busy little life. I love that we are “Mak[ing] a joyful noise unto God!” (Psalm 66:1)

Kisses. Slobbery baby kisses, memories of first-boyfriend kisses, only-in-my-dreams Patrick Dempsey kisses, and best of all, head-over-heels husband kisses. I’m thankful for them all.

Laughter. I have a goofy sense of humor, and I crack up a few times a day at my toddler’s silly antics. I also married a guy who takes great pride in his ability to make me laugh. It’s hard to stay in a bad mood when you’re giggling, chuckling, chortling, or howling out those belly laughs.

Mommy & Me, the playgroup I found shortly after we moved here. This group of women and kids has really helped me feel grounded here, helped me feel like I belong.

Noodles. I heart pasta. All shapes, all sizes, all sauces. I had a phase where I ate some kind of noodles almost every single day a few years ago! My waistline can’t handle that anymore, but it’s still my go-to comfort food.

Ovusoft. This software accompanies the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility and helps with the charting process of the Fertility Awareness Method. Without it, I don’t know if Smooch would be here.

Pumpkin pie. With whipped cream. Mmmmmmm. I’m thankful for a holiday that lets me indulge in treats like this without compunction.

Quiet time at the library.

Restaurants with lidded cups, comfortable highchairs, reasonably priced children’s menus, and servers who understand putting in those orders first and bringing that food out quickly. I don’t even remember the last time I went out to eat with only adults, so I’m thankful for places that truly are family-friendly and make our dining experience as smooth as possible.

Smooch.

TiVo – for without my beloved TiVo, I’d be out of the loop with all my favorite shows and I’d be up a creek on those restless afternoons when Smooch wants Elmo NOW!

Underwear. Seriously. Can you imagine your life without good underwear? Life is better with the perfect, comfortable, beautiful bra. And you know you have a favorite pair of panties – I’m not the only one. Life is better with comfy undies, and I’m thankful for that.

Visits from family… especially since we’re far enough away that the visits are always planned, always short, and always spaced out. It’s easier to appreciate your relatives when you aren’t sick of them.

Wrapping up my Christmas shopping early. It makes me incredibly happy to be done already, and to be able to enjoy the next few weeks of preparation with things like decorating my house, baking, planning a party, and singing carols. I’m thankful that I don’t have to dash out to the mall and deal with crazy parking lots, crowded stores, and mile-long checkout lines.

eXistential questions. I’m thankful for the freedom and ability to ask the deep questions about my life, and I’m thankful for my understanding of them so far.

You, gentle reader.  Your eyes and your comments make blogging SO much more fun than keeping a paper journal or even a computer folder of writing exercises. I am thankful for you.

Zoos, aquariums, and museums. These local attractions have great prices on annual passes, and I’m thankful that Smooch will get to experience all that they have to offer in the coming year.

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