Once in a lifetime

(I figure it's the only time I'll ever get to say it, so what the heck!)

I have a lot to be thankful for this year. I am thankful for the childhood I was given, being raised without want in a peaceful community. I have never suffered poverty, hunger, or fear for my life.

This year has been one of great change for me personally and for everyone in my family as well. I am thankful for the kindness and love with which my family has faced my difficult transitions. Although we see this transition very differently, everyone who loves me has made sacrifices to try to understand and support me as I go through a year of metamorphosis back to myself.

I am thankful for a family of my own that is loving, accepting, generous and witty. Living in the moment this year has allowed me to truly appreciate the beauty of the quickly passing days of my kids' childhood. The snuggles at nap time, the crazy afternoons trying to get schoolwork done, the hot chocolate messes in the kitchen and the paint all over my kitchen island - they all are a testament to enjoying this stage to the fullest. 

My son showers me with affection so much so that I often have to introduce boundaries. (otherwise I might be kissed to death, truly) He is an original, this kid. I am thankful this year for a deepening bond between us as the difficult transition from spanking and punishment to teaching and rewarding is finally in the past. Although it is hard to accept just how long it takes this boy to enter new information into his long-term memory, we are making progress. I am thankful he is my friend and I am his. I am thankful for every opportunity to teach him, play Hot Wheels with him, and watch him grow.

I am thankful to have had Amelia for 4 years longer than expected. I am thankful for all the ways her difficult life has shaped her into a resilient, stubborn, caring and compassionate person. I love her sense of humor, her wild break-dancing, the volatility of her emotions, her "heart on her sleeve" way of living. This year, I am thankful for the educational leaps and bounds she's made - learning to read, mastering her numbers, beginning math drills, and beginning to use logic to solve problems.

I am thankful for my Rosebud, whose creativity and happy-go-lucky personality expand my horizons every day. I love every tinkly little tune she composes on the piano, the piles of paper penned with lyrics to her newest song, her burgeoning love of gourmet cooking and baking exploration, our mutual enjoyment of culture, most recently the ballet. She keeps me more light-spirited and encourages me to let go and let my imagination run wild. She is constantly proving to me that more is possible than I have ever dreamed. This year, I am most thankful for her kind heart and keen sense of empathy that sends her into my room often to comfort me and cheer me up!

My Katy is definitely a tween these days. She sleeps more, occasionally gets crabby with her siblings, needs her down time alone, and is even more helpful around the house. I am thankful for our shared love of books. Reading books together or one after the other has been a highlight of this year. Her depth of understanding of the world already astounds me and blesses me. Recently, we read a historical fiction piece together and she was able to identify all the cultural themes as well as the personal struggles of each character. This year, I am most thankful for her developing readiness to begin public school, her flare for drama, her storytelling, and her interest in my work. We have spent so many happy days discussing my lectures. She is going to be bored in nursing school when she's 19!

Mostly, I am thankful for this guy. This year hasn't been easy for him. It is his ability to be unapologetically himself, to love without boundaries, to see beyond labels, to imagine a world where very little beyond love matters…this is what has given me the courage to step fully into my own identity. He has continued to love me when I don't deserve it, forgive me when necessary, and to serve our family in ways I never dreamed a man would.

The one thing outside of my family that blesses me most on a daily basis is my job - or should I say, my coworkers and students? There is nowhere else I feel totally and truly myself and can give and receive openly and honestly. It is a place where I can restore my sense of hope in humanity and the world. It keeps me young, playful and relevant. It forces me out of my comfort zone constantly. It pushes me to be the best version of myself. It motivates me to be inspiring, authentic, and fair. I am so thankful to have my dream job and to find it is, indeed, my dream job!

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?