It’s the last day of November, the month for celebrating Thankfulness. I try not to take anything for granted ever, but this month I’ve put more effort into thinking about what I am thankful for. Truly, I do live a semi-charmed life.
And really, when it all boils down to it, most of us are thankful for the same core concepts: our health, our friends, our family. The big three, I call them. Certainly I have always recited this list when asked what I am thankful for, but the value of these things were generic, cliche, and dare I say it, taken for granted to a point. Or perhaps I can say that while I was thankful, I didn’t have a good understanding of the -true- value of my closest family, my real friends, and my resilient health; and maybe I didn’t understand how closely they are all related to one another.
This year, I have new perspective.
Thanks to a series of unfortunate events, I’ve lost the ability to label my health as resilient, and while my battle with Yaz birth control does not compare in any way with other, much more major maladies, it has been enough of a shock to my body and my beliefs about my self to cause some major ripples in my mind set.
For this, I am Thankful. It allows me to appreciate the privledge I had before to walk around in a body and with a brain that had virtually nothing wrong with it. It allows me to appreciate the improvement I’ve seen over the past month in the way I feel and act. Most importantly, it’s given me such greater perspective on how others’ lives might be affected by illness or psychiatric issues, and how my reaction to the situation can affect those lives. It’s been a difficult, and invaluable lesson: one that I will hold with me for the rest of my life.
As real friends generally do, mine have come out to shine during this whole ordeal. I am a fixer and a helper, and I enjoy serving my friends in that role. It was not only a comfort, but also a relief to see my friends supporting me in positive ways that always made me feel immediately better. Even when I felt really, really bad. No one ever wants to “test” a friendship, and while I didn’t volunteer to throw the pop quiz, I was surprised at the wonderful people around me who stepped up and aced it. For this, too, I am Thankful.
I’ve always held my family – my husband, kids, and mother – apart from all else. They are the closest and have always been the truest and most dedicated to me. I’m lucky or genetically blessed – whichever you want to call it – with the gift of being a very independent, self-sufficient woman. It’s rare that I need a shoulder to lean on or someone to draw strength from. And yet, when one of the “big three” breaks down, the other two seem to swoop in and hold you up.
For this, I am Thankful. Not only just for the simple fact that my family has been there for me. I’ve always known that. Love from your family, no matter what kind of family you have, is as necessary as food and sleep, and more satisfying than anything else that I can think of. When we marry, our spouses promise to help us, “for better or for worse”, and your mother is always your mother, no matter how old you are.
But, the thing that truly continues to amaze me through all this is the incredible amount of power that my children have given me. On my worst days, their presence alone was enough to calm me, and a snuggle on the couch could take away the jitters from frayed nerves and fatigue. When I couldn’t bring myself to eat, feeding my children meals somehow made me feel better. Hours of playing “space rocket” or “princess castle” let my mind be still. Conversations about roller skating, the words “Mommy, I love you”, and the sound of maniacal laughter rolling out of the bedroom at playtime are the best tonics I know.
As a mother, it is my role to provide love, support, and guidance. I am responsible for my children’s well-being and happiness. We’re all taught that. But, what I didn’t realize before, and what I know now, is this: My children do all those exact same things for me. This one lesson, out of the myriad of lessons I’m learning through this experience, is the one I am truly most Thankful for.
What are you most Thankful for this year?