Well, this wasn’t very well planned. Apparently I can’t count to 30 because I’ve managed to get to the end of the month without counting two of the most important people in my life. Sorry, you two, but you’ll have to share a post!
I’m thankful for my husband.
I’m thankful for my sister.
Lee, you are a rockstar. Someday all of the two-jobs-in-one and the class-twice-a-week and the side-projects-in-Sri-Lanka will be over and we’ll be able to hang out again. And won’t that be nice?
Jodie, you are my hero. May you never lose your sparkle.
I’m thankful for my parents.
I think, when you’re a kid, your parents are superheroes. They possess magical powers of healing and safety and bandage you up when you crack your head open on a fireplace and/or cut your mouth falling down the stairs (ahem) and take you to the hospital when you’ve fallen on a pool ladder and sliced yourself up and keep their cool when they’re investigated for child abuse (true story). They make you giggle and read to you and play endless hours of paper dolls and feed you and lead your girl scout troop and take you fishing and throw you epic birthday parties and leave you alone for hours at a time so you can play by yourself in your huge walk-in closet full of toys. They put up with your stubbornness and your tantrums and your antics and your mischief, and they tell stories about the time at the New Kids on the Block concert when you cut the line for the bathroom. They are your world, your everything, your life, your parents.
And then, I think, when you’re a teenager, and maybe into your early 20s, these superheroes suddenly and inexplicably lose all of their magic, pretty much overnight, and are replaced by these two completely out of touch ogres who just totally don’t get you at all and suck at everything they do and are so embarrassing and oh my God, everything bad that’s ever happened to you is their fault entirely and you’re not responsible for any of your bad actions or choices or attitudes because it’s their fault, they made you that way. And all of the magic, all of the big and small acts of love and sacrifice and tenderness and compassion and accountability and responsibility, all of the parenting, is shrugged off or rationalized or under-appreciated or not appreciated at all, because that’s what they’re there for, anyway, isn’t it - to revolve around you, like the rest of the world does.
And then, I think, when you grow up a little more, and you get a little older, and you have some distance, and some perspective, you finally begin to see your parents for who they have been all along. You can see the magic, you can see the flaws, you can see the people that you feel proud and lucky to call yours, and you are so, so thankful that they raised you.
I’m thankful for my friendship with Matt, a friendship I made the mistake of taking for granted once, and will never take for granted again. Matt and I went through some drama senior year of college, when a turbulent mix of bad decisions, egos, self-righteousness, stubbornness, and alcohol manifested in a couple of major blow-ups. Since we had been such good friends up until that point, it made me really sad (when I wasn’t feeling angry, hurt, and, mostly, knowing me, self-righteous) to think that we might not actually be friends forever.
Fortunately, during the first stop on my road trip to California, Matt and I had a little sit down. I remember sitting on his front stoop after a night out, smoking (because I was so cool), and Matt coming outside, sitting down, and in his uniquely Matt way, declaring that we needed to discuss the state of our friendship. I had never (and have never, since) been asked so point-blankly if I wanted to stay friends with someone; if I was willing to put in the time and the energy and the common courtesy that Matt needed to feel like I was being a friend to him. It was a mature question, and an uncomfortable one, and it didn’t paint me in a pretty light, and it was a major turning point for us. That question was a line in the sand between pettiness and hurt feelings and the Future, a Future where we were going to live 3,000 miles away from each other and still call ourselves best friends, complete with the effort and the niceties that come with the title.
I thought about Matt’s question. I thought about how I had treated him out of hurt and anger and, you guessed it, self-righteousness. I thought about the thousands of times that Matt had been a good friend to me and I had taken him for granted, the times that I had (correctly) assumed he would be what I needed when I needed it, and not thanked him. I thought about moving away, and what it means to put work into a friendship. I took a good look at an ugly part of myself and found the answer I needed.
My answer was yes.
And I’m a better friend and a happier person for it.
I’m thankful for my Mattea! My croney, my lovechunk, my partner-in-crime, my road buddy, my inventor of new games, my midnight kiss on new year’s eve, my fellow English major, my world traveller, my hero, my best friend. I’m a few days late on the birthday wishes (typical) but I hope 29 is your best year ever, filled with love and joy and fun and everything good in the world. I can’t wait to see you next month, and see what adventures we get up to!
I’m thankful for Sian. My roommate, my confidante, my touchstone, my pumpkin, my love, and the best (and prettiest!) mom I know. May your 30th birthday be filled with love, hugs, kisses, and giggles from your boys, and may this year be your best year ever.
"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." -JFK
Today and every day, I’m grateful to the men and women who serve our country, risking and sometimes giving their lives to keep us safe. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I am beyond thankful for my friendship with Kristin. Eleven years 3,000 miles, hundreds of emails, too many hangovers, and several sizable vacations later, our friendship is stronger than ever. In case either of us ever need a reminder, it remains abundantly clear from the looks we give each other in pictures just how in love we are…
and just how happy we are when we’re together.
I am thankful that I live in a country where my right to vote is inherent.
Did you know that in Brunei, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Vatican City, women do not enjoy full suffrage? *
I’m thankful to the women who fought so that I can vote. I think the freedom to vote, and the freedom to complain about elected officials, are two of the most taken-for-granted freedoms in this country. I’m grateful to live here, I’m grateful to have a voice, and I’m grateful to be able to use my voice without fear.