The following was originally published on November 26, 2008. Except for the fact that the iPod Shuffle has long since been replaced by an iPad, it all holds true today.
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 rocket ship and send it into orbit. The contagious laugh that leaves an electric happiness in its wake.
My husband, 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, fighting their own battles 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 who make the good times so much sweeter for the sharing and the tough times so much 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.
Wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving.