Giving Thanks – Happy Thanksgiving

I went back in time yesterday morning to last year, the year before, and all the way back to Thanksgivings past. I went way back. I have been blogging at Making the Days Count since late May 2010 and have a few readers who follow along, so I feel I can go back to last year’s post without much of a problem for readers feeling like, ‘hey, I have been here before!’

It Thanksgiving morning, it’s early, the turkey is done, Ivy is sleeping curled up on her pad in the kitchen, no doubt drawn by the aroma of a roasting bird; and the kids are sleeping in too, exactly what they should be doing.  Thanksgiving eve is over and the anticipation of giving thanks is here.

Thanksgiving, as the word clearly states, is about giving thanks. The holiday began, as legend has it and we all learn in grade school, with the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock and was declared an American holiday in the late nineteenth century. But, giving thanks has origins older than America.

Thanksgiving is about being thankful for all of the blessings one has. It is about taking time to be with family, to reach out and share, to listen, to learn, and above all – to be grateful for those who cross our paths who make our lives richer and more meaningful.

Tuesday, before I left school, I e-mailed a former student’s mom and passed along a thank you and wished her family a happy holiday though, I knew they wouldn’t be celebrating Thanksgiving. Last year, when school ended, they moved to back to England and England doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving. For the English, the fourth Thursday in November is just another day. Yesterday morning, I received a reply. It was good to hear from her and learn how my former student is doing. I am glad our paths crossed – my life is richer because of it.

But, I am thankful for more, so much more. Last year, I saw a story on CBS Sunday Morning and later I listened to a story on NPR about a man who wrote a book about writing thank you notes. The book, 365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life, intrigued me and I bought a copy. I read the darn thing and it all made sense. After my father’s death, a couple years ago, I restarted writing letters again, by hand and actually mailing them – with stamps. I still use e-mail and phone – both landline and cell, but writing letters by hand seemed more – connecting. I began to think of ways, I too was thankful, for the simpler things in life that make my life more complete. Though I didn’t write 365, I wrote a fair amount. I am still writing them and if I have your address, your fair game. I am thankful for the reminders – no matter how they come.

Above all, I am thankful for my family. I am thankful for my wife, Beth, who puts up with me when I would rather write, than work. We celebrated twenty years of marriage this year and I have known her for much longer. There are days when it seems as if it were just the other day when we met.

Father's Day - 2011

I am thankful for my children – William and Olivia – who fill me with wonder, joy, and, at times, extreme frustration. Their exploits and remembering mine, often give me fuel too write.

I am thankful for my mom, who was true definition of wise. She knew what to overlook and when, though I didn’t realize it at the time. I am grateful for our friendship and the time she took to teach me that the simpler acts of life are far more important.

I am thankful for my stepmother, who stepped into my life years ago when I was drifting and I have returned the favor, many years later. I am thankful for my dad, who taught me things I am only beginning to realize now that he is gone and we can no longer share.

The tri-color - Warren, David, and I with Notre Dame
Brothers - June 2010 - Paris

I am thankful for my brothers Warren and David and their families. I am glad we are able to forget, forgive, and move on from the ugliness of childhood and being boys separated by a year and half. I am thankful for the relationship we have and how it continues to grow.

I am thankful for Beth’s family, my in-laws, and how they have accepted me for whom I am and have treated me as if I were their own. I look up to my father-in-law and I am grateful for the time he has taken to help me and teach me. I have learned so much from him. I am thankful for my mother-in-law and I am glad we can have coffee together and talk, in the early mornings when we visit.

I am thankful being able to teach kids to read, write, and think. I turned fifty this year and I don’t feel a day over twenty-five. Teaching seventh graders keeps me young and reminds me of what is truly important. It also, helps me to look back and remember to keep looking ahead, there is always something to look forward to, some new prize. I am also, thankful for the people I work with – the teachers and the staff who challenge me to grow and learn and to keep moving.

I am thankful for the people who take time from their lives to reach out into the community and work as scout leaders, coaches, and whom make a difference in my children’s lives, as well as mine.

Finally, I am thankful for my friends – how they help me to laugh at myself and have accepted me for the person I am, for what I bring to the table. I am thankful that there are people who cross my paths who make a difference in how I see the world, who I never know by name. I am thankful.

Yes, I am thankful, very thankful for the life I have and for the people around me who make it richer. So, this Thanksgiving, I give my thanks and gratitude to others. Happy Thanksgiving! I am thankful that you took the time to read Making the Days Count today, I am thankful for Making the Days Count. I am Making the Days Count, one day at a time, one thank you at a time.

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

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