an embarrassment of riches

Things I am thankful for (#s 1-13 of 17,846,319 and counting)

Katie’s laugh – not her polite little chuckle, the real one. The one that comes from somewhere deep and full of joy. The can’t breathe, smile wrapped around her head laugh. The laugh that summons the angels and leaves them lingering in the room long after it subsides.

Brooke’s belly laugh – so different from her sister’s, so very much her own. The laugh that starts with her shoulders and takes her whole body along for the ride. The laugh that sets her eyes on fire and whose sheer energy could launch a rocketship and send it into orbit. The contagious laugh that leaves an electric happiness in its wake.

My husband - (<- ooh! lookie! it’s blue! wonder what’ll happen if you click on it?) who loves me even when I am hardest to love. My partner. My best friend.

Our home – the home that happens to be in our house, but could be anywhere that we are together.

The fact that the things in life that I value the most don’t cost money.

All of the people who love and support and teach my children.

The parents, teachers and friends who take up the mantle of advocacy, who kick and scream and scratch and claw and pave the way for all of our children. Those who have come before, and those who will follow us.

Parents who teach their children compassion.

My beautiful Grandma – who has taught me that strength and femininity need not be mutually exclusive and that tenderness endures. Whose sense of humor and easy laugh I am so proud to share.

Our troops, who risk their lives each and every day in the name of duty. And their families, no less brave, a world away.

Language – Brooke’s emerging ability to express herself, to ask for what she needs. And mine.

Our iPod shuffle – which has given my baby access to places she never could have gone without it. And when she sings along, heaven.

Autism. Yes, even that son of a b!tch autism – for touching my little girl more gently than it might have. For the gifts that it left behind, or at the least revealed. For forcing us to become so much more than we might have been. For teaching us compassion, tolerance, respect. For bringing together a community of people who can and have and will make the world more understanding.

You – who read the words I write. Who share this journey with me and who remind me that I am not alone. You make the good times so much sweeter for the sharing and the tough times more bearable just for knowing that you’re there, waiting and willing to cheer the next victory or to send love when all else fails.

Yes, today and everyday, I am blessed beyond belief. And I am so thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

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12 thoughts on “an embarrassment of riches

  1. I love this blog! You have such a beautiful way with words. I can literally imagine the angels in the room when Katie laughs, and that picture of Brooke laughing (from an earlier post) is my favorite photo of her. And your “thanks for autism and language” is… eloquent, poignant and classically Jess.

    My thankful list is loooonnnggg, too. And I’m even thankful for that!

  2. Jess, the eloquence with which you describe your daughters’ laughter is breathtaking.

    And yes, I also find that autism has led me to be a more attentive, involved, and compassionate parent than I might have been without it.

    Thanks for reminding us that we do have so much to be thankful for.

  3. I’m thankful for the Jesses of the world.

    (I use the plural just in case there are a few other okay ones. You’re my favorite…but, statistically speaking, at least a few of the others have to be nice and I don’t want to be exclusive. My guess is that the quality of Jesses world-wide is distributed along a bell curve…some great ones, some terrible ones, but most of them are probably right in the middle, just so-so. I feel very fortunate to have met the best possible Jess.)

    Anyway. Happy Thanksgiving.

  4. Happy Thanksgiving. You put into words what I needed to read today. Thank you for reminding me we are surrounded by joy, we just need to look for it.

  5. I am thankful for Jess, for helping everyone with the words we might not have. So many times, you express what I feel, the joy and the times when you put my fears into words, and when you do, it makes me feel a little less afraid, knowing that others have the same fears. And maybe, just maybe, you might touch another person who will help children on their way, a bit more compassionate. Thank you Jess :)

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