I was going to put together a Writer's Thanksgiving list of things to be thankful for, but as I started to write it, I realized that a list simply about writing was incomplete. I'm a writer, but I'm also a mom, and a daughter, and a partner and an athlete and everything else, so my list instead will simply be A Stephanie's Thanksgiving List.
I am thankful for (and these are in no particular order, and they don't even begin to encompass all the things I am thankful for):
1) My amazing, beautiful, smart, sassy, creative daughter. As a mom, there is no greater joy than seeing the laughter in my child's eyes and knowing she is happy. My road to becoming a mom was long and tough and I wouldn't change a minute of it, because those beautiful brown eyes that look at me every night while she whispers "I love you, Mommy," are a part of my soul, the part of my soul that was simply meant to be. There was no other path that I could have taken to be a mom, because my path was meant to lead me to her.
2) My ability to love, an ability that was deeply buried for a long, long time. It's safer to shut yourself down and not love, but life is empty without it. When you let yourself love, you can hurt so much more, but the gift of feeling that love in your heart, and feeling the love from others is worth all the risk. I've hurt alot more in the last four years than I did in the two decades before that, but by God, I have sailed the heavens and had more wonderful hugs and more magical moments in the last four years than I ever had before. I wake up with a good feeling in my heart, the feelings that tell me I'm alive, not dying in my shell. Love, baby, love. That is what it is all about.
3) My total goofballness. For most of my life, I worked hard to file off my sharp edges, to be appropriate and dignified, to act responsibly. But as I've gotten older, that dignity has slowly worn off, and I now allow myself to be as free as I want to be. I sing with my daughter in the grocery store, I do the "I'm a hot tamale" dance in the dressing room when we're trying on clothes, and I don't hide my innate klutziness. I make people laugh. I make myeslf laugh. And life is better with laughter. My daughter says all her friends think I'm crazy, and that they think I'm so cool. What better lesson for my daughter to learn at a young age, that it's okay to be yourself, no matter how much of a goofball other people might think you are.
4) My ability to think. Life is tough, writing is tough, we can be our own worst enemy, and sometimes your only tool to survive or to succeed or to suprise yourself is your ability to step back, analyze the situation and then create magnificence.
5) Friends. What is life without friends? Oh, sure, we can survive on our own just fine, but to have pepole who care about you when you're down, who laugh with you when you're up, who remember to buy your latest book, who lighten your mood simply by being themselves... it's a beautiful thing. I moved cross country four years ago, and I had to leave behind all my friends and start over. It took time to rebuild, but as I look around me now, I am so grateful for the friends that have come into my life. Hugs to everyone!
6) My ability to rebound. Life is never easy. It's full of challenges, and hiccups and disappointments and twists and turns, and sometimes you have to really dig deep and change your viewpoint or your direction in order to survive. My life has been particularly full of challenges for the last four years, but each time I thought I'd been defeated, I somehow managed to pull myself together and redirect. That is a huge gift, and I am so grateful for that, because nothing is worse that feeling like it's simply time to give up.
7) My health.
8) My brother. For many many years, I lost connection with my brother, but since I moved back, we have connected and built a friendship that is far beyond anything we ever had even as kids. It's such a gift to look in my inbox and see an email from him, or to look my phone and see a voicemail from him. I love him, and I know we have built a new foundatoin that will last us forever. I feel like I have found my brother for the first time in my life, and it is such a gift.
9) The man who loves me. It took me 42 years, including divorce, single parenthood, and lots of heartache, but just when I'd finally given up and decided to go it alone, he found me. And it is the most beautiful, most precious, most amazing gift, worth everything in the world. Sometimes, when we've been down the tough paths or through the rough times, that is when we are finally able to truly see and appreciate the things in our lives that are so wonderful.