I love the attitude of gratitude that November brings as the Thanksgiving holiday draws near. While I have started a gratitude journal in the past, I’ve never kept up with it beyond the first week. So, I enjoy taking time out this month to reflect upon all of the many things I am grateful for in my life.
In honor of Thanksgiving, and the 30 days of November, here are 30 things I’m feeling thankful for this month, in no particular order (except maybe #1:):
- My child, first and foremost. I am forever grateful that I get to be his mom. He is the biggest blessing I’ve ever experienced in my life and I’m thankful for his presence every single day. His smile lights up the room and his laugh is the best music to my ears. He is smart and funny and I love that he is friendly and sociable, just like his Mama. I’m also glad that he got my curls, because that seems to be the only way people put 2 and 2 together that he is mine.
- My husband. We have had some challenging times in the 11 years we’ve been together, but I’m thankful that he is willing put in the work required to push through them, and that each time we navigate difficult circumstances together we always seem to come out stronger in the end. I also really enjoy watching him grow as a father to our son and I’m thankful that he plays an active role in parenting and in running our little household.
- My mom. She has forever been a constant in my life and is a role model and example of how I’d like to be as a mom – caring and supportive; encouraging and kind; firm, yet flexible. I am grateful for how our relationship has grown over the years and that in addition to being my mom, I can now also call her a friend.
- Family to get together with to celebrate the holidays. I’m actually really looking forward to seeing my family–both my immediate and extended family on Thanksgiving AND my in-laws that weekend as well. I can’t imagine spending the holidays alone and I am thankful to be surrounded by people who care for me and that I care for as well. Plus, I don’t get to see my nephews very often, so I’m glad I’ll be able to see all three of them over the course of one long weekend!
- Girls’ Nights. And good friends to have them with. I am lucky to have had two of them this month already, which allowed me to spend time with five different girlfriends that I respect, appreciate and admire. I’m thankful that despite the busyness that comes with being a mom, I’m still able to carve out time to just be me too. And that #2 on the list is flexible in accommodating to make sure I regularly get to enjoy time out on my own!
- Flexible and stable employment. I started a new position when I was seven months pregnant and my supervisor and co-workers have been supportive and understanding of my needs as the only mom in our office from Day 1. I’m also super thankful that I have a generous vacation and sick leave package that allows me to take time off when needed to care for both my son and myself. Or just to enjoy time off with family!
- A roof over my head – and one that we actually own. I went to a fundraising breakfast for The Road Home of Dane County recently, an organization working to end homelessness in Madison for families with children. Hearing one mom’s story about what brought her to Madison (her sick child – who she wanted to get the best possible care for that the hospital in her hometown of Gary, Indiana couldn’t treat) and what finding stable housing has done for her and her children brought me to tears. I was grateful that she was willing to share her story, and that it had a happy ending for her family. And that I’ve never had to deal with homelessness or a terminally ill child, because I can’t even imagine what she’s gone through.
- The means to give. There are so many important causes and organizations here in Madison and on a national and global scale to support. It’s hard to choose because I want to support them all. I’m thankful that I have the means to give to others in need and that #3 on this list instilled in me the value of service to others. I’m also thankful that Partners in Giving makes it super easy to support multiple causes through my job (#6) and with payroll deduction.
- Reliable transportation. Sure my car gives me trouble from time to time, and I’ve spent $1600 in repairs already in the two and a half years I’ve owned it, but it’s a safe and comfortable ride and has plenty of space for pack and plays and strollers for traveling. And I never have to think about how I’m going to get from point A to point B because I’m blessed to have my own vehicle that I own outright.
- An abundance of food on our table. Like, more than we could ever possibly need actually. The pantry is stocked, along with the fridge and two freezers. And just like I don’t have to worry about housing or transportation, we don’t ever have to worry about where our next meal is going to come from either. I’m thankful we have enough food and access to food to be able to do #8 too, because there are a lot of food pantries that need extra help this time of year.
There are so many more things that I’m thankful for, of course, but these are blessings I feel truly grateful to have every single day.
And particularly around the holidays, with no explanation required, I can also say I am grateful for these things:
- Online shopping
- Extra 25-40% off sales at Anthropologie
- Kohl’s extra 30% off coupons + Kohl’s cash
- Coupons in general
- Price adjustments and price matching
- Solo trips to the store
- Good coffee, plus enough stars to redeem for a freebie at Starbucks
- And punch cards
- Red wine
- Books in general
- And libraries at that
- And Christmas music specifically
- The change of the seasons
- Holiday decorations
- And of course, Christmas movies!