Welcome, Mamma Crew, to another chaotic, exciting, but always beautiful day of an older mom like you!
I was just remembering our first Thanksgiving with the twins. They were about five months old, and we have them in these little baby bouncer chair things on the table. And it was just me, the babies, and my mom. It was actually my last Thanksgiving with my mom. Didn’t really think about it, but the next year, we moved to Michigan, and my mother wouldn’t travel. She was really terrified of flying, and she was more even terrified of flying in the winter. And she was absolutely petrified of the idea of flying through snow. So, it was our last Thanksgiving together.
And the reason I was thinking about it because, at the time, the babies were young, and we just kind of slapped the meal together. We didn’t really think about it. There was so much going on; I was still in the Ph.D. program. My husband was working the graveyard shift. We were really struggling to get through that period in our lives. And the whole thing was so exhausting that we just kind of slapped it together and just did it.
In the midst of it, my husband and I got into an argument. I don’t even remember what the argument was about, but then I was in the kitchen, and I accidentally dropped the dish, and he came running. He was so concerned that it had fallen on me or that I was hurt, and he cleaned it all up, and we sat together, and we had a lovely Thanksgiving meal. But it was something very lowkey.
And at that time, I thought there were hundreds of Thanksgivings to come with my mom, with my husband, with my children. I just took it for granted that all of those Thanksgivings were coming, as though someone had promised them to me. And today, I know there will be no more Thanksgiving with my mom. She’s gone.
And as sad as I feel about that, I feel even sadder for the families that lost someone in this pandemic because my mom has been sick for a long time, and she lived her life on her own terms, and she died on her own terms. She made the end of life decisions that she wanted. So, even though I miss her, I don’t feel robbed. But my goodness, I absolutely understand anyone who currently feels robbed of their loved one, of their Thanksgivings that should have been but are not. And I feel to the bone, to the core of my being, how grateful I am that somehow my family has not lost anyone.
Early on in the pandemic, my father became dreadfully ill, and he couldn’t breathe, and he was struggling and he already was not doing well. He’s in his 80’s. He has health issues. And here he gets COVID, and he survives it. I mean, three weeks later, he was partying on the beach. And that was amazing!
One of my cousins got it; he got it from his mother-in-law: my favorite male cousin, Juan Juanito. He’s always such a troublemaker. Oh my God, that man. But he’s fine. He survived it. He’s fine, and I’m so grateful for that. And I am grateful that time has passed.
And that even if more family members or immediate members, or even myself were to get COVID-19 at this point, doctors know more about the disease than they did at the beginning. And they have a better idea of how to help anyone who’s sick. I’m not saying that they have a cure. I’m saying they have a better idea of making people comfortable, how to help them, and how to increase the survival rate when they get sick. So, I am grateful for that.
I’m grateful for what seemed like a loss leaving our large home behind when we had just settled in. Everything seemed to be going well. We came into this tiny home — all eighteen hundred square feet of it — with a family of four kids and homeschooling, and my husband’s business, and thinking we were going to go crazy. How were they going to survive their time locked-up in such a small place with no playground?
And instead, coming closer together. Reconnecting with our children. I mean, honestly, that aspect of it has been such a blessing that I never want to live in a large home again. Ever! I really enjoy having the kids underfoot. I love their cozy bedrooms. I love that they were all close together. Okay, I think I want more like a two thousand, twenty-five hundred square-foot home. Eighteen hundred is a little small, but I am so grateful for this experience.
I’m grateful that we took up biking again, and I’m thankful for the twenty-six miles of biking trails in Celebration. I mean, whoever put that community together was thinking ahead. And I’m grateful for the beautiful oaks that they planted. I’m so grateful for the people in the community that put up these beautiful Halloween decorations, Christmas decorations, and Thanksgiving decorations. I’m so grateful that they were there while we traveled through them, and I really enjoyed their generosity.
I’m grateful for the Presbyterian church that was selling all those pumpkins, and it was so much fun to go get the pumpkins and have a Halloween pumpkin carving competition. I’m grateful for that. I’m grateful that we haven’t lost our minds, that these lockdowns and social distancing haven’t driven us crazy. That we have found a way to endure this, found a way to prosper in this situation.
I’m grateful for my friends and family even though I can’t spend any time with them, even though they’re far away. I want Renee and Sheri to know I think about them constantly. Sheri got shingles on her face this year. Grateful that they’re okay. Grateful that their families are okay.
I’m grateful that despite the protest that became not so peaceful and the rioting that happened, I’m grateful that we didn’t experience it directly, that my children didn’t see it.
I’m grateful that somehow, despite all the challenges and the fact that I used to have help for my four children and now I don’t, I’m grateful that I haven’t lost my mind, that I haven’t regretted becoming a mom, not even for a minute, not even for a second, that I really enjoy them, that I still see them as a gift. I’m grateful that all the negativity hasn’t gotten to me.
You know you turn on the news (I don’t. My husband does), and you have people complaining about how bad the world is and how terrible the situation is. And I’m grateful that I can see beyond the constant negativity and realized that our country has been through challenges in the past. It has survived. It has thrived, and I still believe it will continue to do so, that it will get over this difficult moment in our history, and will change and will thrive.
And believe it or not, I’m really grateful for my three furry babies, the stinky little Shih Tzu’s you hear me talk so much about. I love napping with my Pudgie. And even though Muffin barks way too much, I’m grateful that because of her, I have to walk every morning and every evening, and it’s helping me lose a little weight. I’m grateful that despite the fact that Shamy is the runt of the three, she’s healthy and peppy and always willing to love on the kids.
I’m grateful that I lived this year. And in the kind of mood that I am right now — the overly sentimental, emotional, teary mood that I don’t even remember if I’ve said it (so if I repeat myself, forgive me) — most of all, I’m grateful for my four kids. For Bug, that has scared me with these nosebleeds, who has made me laugh with his silliness. For Dora, whose eyes have started to soften and her smiles have brightened. For Andy’s who’s getting crazier with her scary stuff. For Emmi’s whose voice is getting increasingly more amazing. I’m grateful when they’re good and when they’re not-so-good. And they create another memory for my vault. I’m grateful for all of them.
And no, I didn’t forget him — I’m grateful for my husband who, after hearing that I wasn’t going to be able to have children, persisted — insisted — that we see different specialists until we found one that said I would, I could if we only came up with thirty-thousand dollars. And at that time, he was working the graveyard shift, and I was in my Ph.D. program, he found a way! A way to get the money so that we could have the surgeries have the treatment we need, who was willing to go through all of that on his own body, unwilling to let me go through it on my own. Who didn’t complain when I wanted to kill him that he talked me into it because we have a beautiful family.
The bottom line is, I’m grateful that despite all the challenges that we have faced this year, I can still recognize that I have a lot to be grateful for. And I know sometimes we forget, but we shouldn’t. We shouldn’t. Because when we really look, there is a lot to be grateful for. And no, I haven’t forgotten you. I’m grateful that you have been following this show, this podcast, this blog, this YouTube channel. I’m grateful that you have become more and more involved. I’m grateful that you have friended me on Facebook, like my fan page, or joined the Mamma Crew. And that we are all together supporting one another. Thank you!
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