Today I am thankful for many things.
I am thankful for Isaac, the big-eyed freckle-faced sensitive soul who made me a mother and who has taught me many things about life.
I am thankful for Alexander, my blonde haired blue-with-a-splash-of-brown-eyed boychild who is tempestuous and calm rolled into one. He has taught me that every child is deeply different in many ways and very similar in many others.
I am thankful for Anne-Marie, my chubby little baby toupee with her crazy curls and ready grin and all the little quirks that make her so very much herself even though sometimes she looks just like her brothers.
I am thankful for my partner, Alex. He is exactly what I need even though he is little of what I might have written down on paper as “The person I will someday marry”. Not “less than” what I would have written down. Not “more than” what I would have written down. Just different. He has taught me much about loving and being loved. He is accepting, encouraging, and has taught me much about what good intentions look like in someone whose mind works very differently from my own. Because I can accept that he loves me and that because I love him back, we have had many conversations that would be impossible in most friendships. I am closer to him than I have ever been to any other person. It’s not movie-perfect. Too much stuff gets cut from movies. It’s life-perfect where we each learn from things, even from the times that we misunderstand each other. And rather than building resentments from misunderstandings we build our relationship and walk away trusting each other more. He is not a checklist on paper that makes a perfect mate. He is the mate that expands the list of things that I love and that make me happy. He is not what I imagined simply because he is so different from me that I could never possibly hold him in my imagination. And I am grateful that he and I both see this as a strength.
I am thankful for Alex’s family who has become my family as well. Imperfectly-perfect, deeply loving, and each of them is someone that I can talk to. There is nothing fake about any of them. There is nothing stilted. I do not have to play the role of a part I never auditioned for.
I am thankful for my family, who is understanding about the things that I cannot control, and that try hard to work around schedules that change on a whim. “We understand” and a promise to make it work some other time when things are more calm… I love them for this and for many other things.
Today I have a broken toe. The big one in my right foot. Broken two days ago when Alexander-in-the-middle had a two-year old last-minute change of heart about where it was that he wanted to sit, and pushed the heavy wooden tray of the high chair gleefully away as I was about to snap it into place. It fell three feet and landed edge-down right on the joint of my big toe.
I could be upset that yesterday I had to travel into New York City for a meeting with a man who holds many negative feelings about me. I could be upset about the pain in my foot. I could be wallowing in all of the little things that are wrong in the world and the impossible burden of their unfixability. I could be sad for the lack of sleep (made worse by the toe), for the imperfect-everything that comes tumbling along with the realities of life.
Today is a day put aside for celebration, though. I’ll hobble around and make that turkey, play with these kids, enjoy family, eat good food, and make merry.
Life is as much what you choose to focus on, as it is what happens. For many of us have so many blessings in our lives when we dig down and see them through the pains and the hurts and the imperfect things and the things that are not what we want right now in the moment but that have unimaginable capacity to change for the better.
I will not allow today’s imperfections to cloud out today’s joys. I will not allow today to be destroyed by some worry about what the future may bring if things take one turn instead of the other.
I’ll hunker down in this cozy house that smells of turkey and bacon, of sage and garlic, of melted butter, of sweet potatoes and the cinnamon from the zucchini muffins my sons and I made last night before bed. And I’ll say this: I am thankful.
Love to all of you, and I hope that you too are finding the happiness in your lives today.