Wednesday, February 24, 2010

39 Things that Make Me Thankful

For my 39th birthday, I decided to tackle the task of creating a list of 39 things for which I am truly thankful. The parameters I set for myself were fairly simple: obvious & general entries like “my family” or “my friends” are not allowed; be specific. As I began to make notes about the things that are special to me in my daily life, I surprised myself.

Here are the 39 things I am thankful for this year, as they came to me, in no particular order:

  1. My nephew Kirk’s laughter, which is the quickest route to happy on even the worst days.
  2. Family feuds, during which the evidence of how much each person cares seems to rise to the top
  3. Workplace crises that give me an opportunity to excel
  4. My scenic & often refreshing drive through Forest Park every day
  5. The inspirational story of courage & strength in the United States National anthem & the opportunity it has provided for me.
  6. My parents’ love for all things sports, which they passed it on to me
  7. My elementary education where I spent a good portion of my life learning & growing with many people whom I still call “friend.”
  8. Hot summer days when the only beverage that can quench my thirst is an ice-cold beer (I get that from my mom.)
  9. Growing up in a time when you could ride your bike in the neighborhood & play outside all day long with your friends without any fear of not returning home before the street lights came on
  10. The almost neon green indoor/outdoor carpeting on the dock at Ant’s Creek Resort at Table Rock Lake where I spent many a summer fishing with my dad, my cousins, my sister & my friends.
  11. The boxes & boxes of photos kept by my mom & by me because they fill in the blanks as memories start to fade.
  12. Facebook. Without it, I’d never have gotten back in touch with my best friends from grade school & high school, the man who discovered my voice & the Belgian boy I kissed when I was 19.
  13. Twitter. A daily recording of my every mood & thought & a lot of the things that Mrs. Walsh said I should never put on paper.
  14. Speaking of Mrs. Walsh… I wouldn’t be here right now in this very space if she hadn’t told me that I shouldn’t do what I wanted to do which was to write my every thought down on paper. & the blog goes on…
  15. Cake. I love cake when it’s rainy & cold. I love cake when I am not supposed to have it. I love cake when it’s compared to men (see ). I love cake.
  16. Section 509 in the old Busch Stadium where my love of baseball was developed as well as friendships & where some of my most memorable moments of the last 10 years took place. I miss the old stadium terribly.
  17. Diet Dr. Pepper is often the only thing that gets me through the day. That & my amazing imagination…
  18. My 2nd grade boyfriend, my boss with whom I had a relationship, my ex whose nieces I helped raise & every other guy I thought might be the one because in each situation I discovered my weaknesses & harnessed my strengths & learned to never settle for someone who is settling for you.
  19. Waking up because you never know when you might not.
  20. Air, Water, Food & all other things that sustain me.
  21. Pain. Although there are days when I am not thankful. It’s a testament to where I’ve been & evidence of a rewarding journey.
  22. Volleyball, a game I love to play & teach.
  23. Basketball, a game I played & not very well but which took me around the world & afforded me experiences I often didn’t deserve.
  24. My faithful friends
  25. Fresh, creamy Reese’s peanut butter cups
  26. Georgian Cheese Pie, my special recipe
  27. The mornings my mom spent teaching me to cook breakfast & the afternoons when she taught me to iron my dad’s handkerchiefs
  28. 2007, the year I wish I could wipe out of my history. I know it existed for a reason.
  29. Never being saddled with a nickname aside from my last name.
  30. My 4th birthday present, with whom I share my birthday every year. Denise.
  31. My birth mom for her courage & my birth father for his carelessness.
  32.  “Be Careful. Have Fun” The four words my dad says every time I leave my parents’ house.
  33. That my mom cries about everything & so do I
  34. Lack of clarity that keeps me searching
  35. Moments of clarity that confirm that I should keep searching
  36. Childlike faith that helps me believe that, at their core, people are good.
  37. Feelings. Much better than numbness. I know from experience.
  38. Debbye Turner who is a great example of what can happen when you don’t give up on your dreams & you hold out for what you deserve.
  39. Birthdays. They each start a new year & a new chapter in life.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Four Months

“Congratulations!” the nurse said as she rushed back into the room and thrust my paperwork under my nose.

Tears streamed down my cheeks immediately.

The nurse looked up. “I’m sorry?” she asked softly.

Single and pregnant. It seems that the moment you say out loud, “that will never be me,” it is you and the shock is overwhelming. Truthfully, news came as no surprise. I knew for days that I was pregnant. I just needed official confirmation. I notified the baby’s father only after I had called my three best friends.

The details of every day after that are vivid in my memory even ten years later. The changes in my body were undeniable and I loved pregnancy. But through the experience, I learned some of the hardest lessons in my life.

My baby never took a breath outside the womb. I never held him or saw his face. In fact he never grew larger than the size of a lemon. His time with me was short-lived but I still cherish every day we had. I am grateful for what he taught me. I am thankful for the joy and the sorrow.

Had all gone as planned, tomorrow would have been his 10th birthday.

I will never forget, not even for a moment, that four months of my life. What a profound impact! Happy Birthday little guy.