Never am I a stranger to gratitude, but still, this past week that surrounded Thanksgiving precisely encompassed all that I am currently most thankful for.

On Monday, I spent my day creating crafts and keeping the calm with preschoolers at the local Women’s Shelter as they prepared for a special family meal with their mothers. Directly after that, I rushed to the store and then home to self-consciously make dinner for a mother of Tobias’ friend from school, a chef whom I deem a friend of mine, that recently underwent surgery. Then, I rushed back home to make dinner for my own family, though that meal stopped short at hum drum.

Tuesday, I chaperoned Tobias’ field trip to the zoo, where the children acted more bestial than anything in a cage, a boy from another group chanting to me that I’m a “fat girl” while students in mine are running aimlessly in the crowded zoo haze. All while cursing the teachers who planned a field trip when many students are out and about for the week.

On Wednesday, I visited a friend of mine for over thirteen years. She recently left her husband, and is in a similar situation as mine four years ago, except with two kids and just beginning her career, rather than one while in school. Tobias brought them some of his toys as gifts for their new apartment, but I had a hunch that they were just fine with their new minimalist lifestyle. (Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt.)

We woke up extra early on Thanksgiving Thursday so that Mark, Tobias and I could all run a Turkey trot, I Pinterest-failed a baked cornucopia, threw it out, then delivered my disappointingly under-cooked pies to my mother’s house, who was hosting a Thanksgiving that included my ex mother-in-law and my new mother-in-law. Prior to our departure, Tobias and I both started feeling unwell, and I spent my entire Friday in bed–not figuratively–aside from eating a bowl of soup and using the bathroom, I kept my body in that same spot while Tobias wallowed in his own sickness and mind-numbingly watched his tablet computer.

I had a resurgence of energy after Mark brought me breakfast and coffee on Saturday, so I went to the salon to take off the terrible acrylic nails I was reluctant to have, had my nails painted, then proceeded to do yard work for hours on end. (Which would seem to most to be a terrible idea.) Today, Sunday, Mark woke me up before dawn to say goodbye, for he’s on a business trip for the good part of the week. I finished the book I began reading during my indisposition, then proceeded to flip flop between tasks all day, not getting anything done rather than deeply researching trips I’m taking four and eight months away.

Trust me, it all relates. Drum roll, please. The trite phrase you’ve been waiting for….

I’m thankful for…

being in the right set of circumstances so that I’m able to live my life according to my highest values: family, community, wisdom, and physical well being (in that particular order). I’m thankful that those same circumstances allow me to help women whose position I was one lifeline away from having to be in. I’m thankful that I have enough self esteem to know that although I’m a wider version of my former gym-rat self, an insult from a child can either be a catalyst for change or taken at face value.

I’m thankful that I have the time and energy to be the mother I always wanted. I’m thankful for the women who I have handpicked to remain in my life, because they are each such wonderful gems whose talent, thoughts, and hearts couldn’t be replaced by another. I’m thankful that those women are given the chance to triumph over less-than-ideal situations, and that I can be here to see them through it. I’m thankful that despite a divorce, I have one hell of a village to help raise my child, and that I don’t let pride or judgement get in the way of that.

That I can burn things and under cook them and I seem to always get the response, “the taste is there, it’s just a little liquidy/hard/toasted/sticky.” before my family gobbles it down. (No Thanksgiving pun intended.) For my wonderful, loving, patient man who always has allowed me my twenty four hours of regrouping, because that solid day of inaction seems to kick any virus to the curb. I’m thankful for my mature-as-hell six year old, who woke me up Thursday in the middle of the night (he later corrected me, saying the sun had begun to rise) to tell me he wasn’t feeling well, and I between my response of, “me neither,” and my opening my eyes, he had hurriedly left the room, drank some water, and returned to bed.

I’m thankful for coffee and shellac (because Lord knows I wouldn’t have my nails painted unless its with heavy duty shit), and finally having a yard of my own, along with the overabundance of work that comes with it, after a lifetime of rental houses and apartment complexes. I’m thankful for TIME and ease of mind and books and making the choices it took to live my biggest life possible. I’m thankful for this big, amazing world and anything and every one who makes it available for me to see it first hand. For realizations before it was too late and the wisdom to know that it’s never to late. For the courage it took to finally start a blog, even though I have no idea where it’s going, and for you, for reading it.

Thank you.

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