1. I am thankful for my grandparents, who took me to Dairy Queen every Friday before piano lessons, who let me pull the Christmas bell over and over, who made or bought Easter dresses for me every year until I was in college, who let me play in the workshop and the fishing boat with virtually no constraints, who invited all 10 of us for Sunday dinner every single week, who took those same 10 to Disneyworld...twice, who let me live with them off an on through college, who came to my class while student teaching to recite "The Cremation of Sam McGee" on Halloween and convince at least half that it was a real story, who love us all without conditions, and who showed us what marriage should look like.
2. I am thankful that my mother, despite our differing opinions, respects me and emails me to tell me so and then keeps her heart open enough to pass along stories that support "my side." She is a true example of grace, of peace-making, and of love being the bottom-line.
3. I am thankful that my dad takes us all to Merlefest every year, sets up camp for us, and leaves us with a fresh pot of coffee before he leaves for his festival responsibilities each day. I am thankful for his bleeding heart, that he leaves messages on my phone "from Pappy to Abe." I am thankful that he has embraced his newest grandchild as tightly as he has and that he calls sometimes just to tell me he loves me.
4. I am thankful for my oldest friends, the ones who knew me at age 13 and know me now and who still love me. They are my connecting threads. My life would feel diluted without them. Every time we visit (not nearly enough) or talk on the phone, I am filled with gratitude that they are still in my life, that we are "weathering life's storms" together, even from great distances, that they are often-times closer than a brother or sister. I am also thankful for the blogging friends I have made in the last year, people who get me like few do--I know for a fact that we're going to know each other for many years to come.
5. I am thankful for every night of sleep I get. I am thankful for the makers of ambien, tylenol pm, simply sleep, down comforters, fuzzy socks, box fans, and earplugs (all the things necessary for me to sleep).
6. I am thankful that I have daily access to clean water. I am thankful that Scott Harrison's heart of flesh compelled him to bring together other hearts of flesh to bring clean water to others. I am also thankful that Children's Hope Chest exists to keep us connected to Ethiopia and to the children there.
7. I am eternally thankful for Mary, Natalie, Belay, Dr. Tiluhun, the caregivers at Gladney, our drivers, Wegayu, and all the many other heroes who worked so diligently to bring Abe to us, to make him "our own Rooney."
8. I am thankful that I have a man who loves me in spite of my neurosis, extreme reactions, hyperbolic style of exposition (i.e. "talking out of my ass"), and insomnia. I am thankful that he says he's sorry as easily as he does. I am thankful that he takes out the trash/recycling every week and brings me store-bought coffee most Sunday mornings before I've woken up.
9. I am thankful for the leaders in the civil rights movement whose hard, sacrificial work I'm currently reaping the benefits of every day by being able to raise a son of African descent in a country full of good people of all races who have the vision to see beyond their differences. I pray I will honor their bravery by teaching Abe about them, eventually even being able to read Abe his Martin Luther King board book without breaking down in tears on every page.
10. I am thankful for our modern day court jesters, like Tina Fey for filling Tracey Morgan's and Alec Baldwin's mouths with the words that make me laugh out loud every week. I am similarly thankful for Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant (on whom I have a "nerd girl crush") for writing scenes like this one.
11. I am thankful that Stacie will understand that I couldn't leave out two smaller things I am grateful for: Southwest Airline coupons that allow us to fly really cheap, and Goodwill superstores that allow me to clothe myself thriftily and stock our library with $0.49 children's books.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I now tag: Beka, Joy, Courtney, Julie, and Meredith.