Friday, November 29, 2013

Give Thanks

Thanksgiving was pretty standard this year. I woke up early, helped my mom bake bread, ran the Turkey Trot with my best friend, cooked all afternoon and then we all stuffed our faces in about 20 minutes. After the food coma hit, we relaxed, watched a movie and went to bed. A great holiday.

This morning, however, I woke up to a text message alerting me that my best friend from college had given birth to her first child. A Thanksgiving baby. How wonderful. Now, that's not your typical holiday treat. It's absolutely incredible, and I cannot wait to meet her little girl and see how this family evolves.

As I perused the many Facebook comments and admired the first few pictures of the little one, it really hit me how much life is changing, and how quickly. Before you know it, her child will be walking, starting school. These moments are made special by their sheer brevity, and we have to be grateful for the time we have.

There is so much to be thankful for this year, and with all the happenings yesterday, I really didn't have a chance to think about it all. First of all, I'm thankful for my family, that they are happy and healthy and there to support me. (Especially when I feel like work is so stressful I can't handle the pressure.) I'm thankful for Steve, who loves me for who I am, always makes me feel beautiful, and never fails to put a smile on my face. For my friends, both in Chicago and all over the country, who I can go to for anything. I'm thankful for having a good job in an industry I love, even though it can be difficult sometimes and there are days when I wonder if I can even do it. (But then I look at what else I have, and it makes it easier to get through.) I'm thankful for my good health; for the exciting city I live in and the beautiful place I get to come back to every holiday season. I could probably list a lot more things, but who really wants to hear that. I'm sure everyone else has plenty they are thankful for, and I encourage you to really think about those and acknowledge them.

My grandfather, at the wise age of 93, observed a couple days ago that life has been good to him, and that he had been blessed with longevity. But, he said, at a certain point, you have to let go. And I think he is ready. He has fought in a war; lived through many others; watched his children become successful adults who now take care of him; seen his grandchildren grow into strong, independent people; he's watched his wife slowly lose her memory and shift into a different person in a very short period of time; he survived a stroke. He's been through a lot. While I would love for him to be at my wedding--whenever that happens--I know it is selfish of me to hope for him to continue on. He's accepted his life, he's lived a good one, and he's thankful for it.

This Thanksgiving has been special. It has seen a new little girl enter the world and a new family begin. It has brought families together (especially those celebrating Hannukkah, too!), marking the beginning of many festive events to come. And it has made us all look at our lives and give thanks for what we have.

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