Thanksgiving and Fourth of July are always a little bit hard for me. Unlike Christmas or Easter, which are celebrated all over the world, Thanksgiving and the Fourth are uniquely American and, even though of course their spirit could be celebrated anywhere, I have this hang up that you should really be IN America to celebrate them. It otherwise feels very much not the same. So today we'll be having the least-Thanksgivingish dinner possible: pizza at beach! Just to be very different from the rest of you (besides, if I told you how much it would have cost to import a tiny turkey, you would probably faint!).
But of course, there is still a lot to be thankful for this year. I am also a blog late in describing my trip to the US so will use that week as my lens for Thanksgiving this year. In no particular order, here we go:
1. I am thankful that I had a lot of great quality time with my parents last week. I feel more and more with age that I just really appreciate their company and especially because we go such long stretches without seeing each other, I am particularly thankful for the stretches when we do get to see each other.
2. I am thankful that I had a great reunion with my girlfriends from college - The Fun Factor! It had been more than three years since I was able to be with them for a big celebration. I have missed weddings, bridal showers and weekend getaways. This time my trip was timed perfectly for Gina's baby shower (love celebrating babies!) and it was so good for my soul to laugh, cry and just be with these women who have been in my life for 14 or 15 years now.
3. I am thankful for amazon.com, Target, Macy's, Motherhood Maternity, Old Navy, Michael's, Market Basket, the Christmas Tree Shop, Party City. and even Walmart...because I was able to bring home gifts and supplies for celebrating Christmas and my kids' upcoming birthdays and birthday parties. I am also very thankful that Black Friday is not even an option for us!
4. I am thankful that my mom and my sister Meghan worked hard to host a lovely brunch before I left so that I could see some of my aunts, uncles and cousins who I never have quite enough time with. My parents also hosted some wonderful dinners to help with this effort during my week home - thank you for that!
5. I am thankful for so many long standing friendships in my life...and that I got to see several of these wonderful friends, Kate, Brooke, Jean (Bibi) and Jen, while I was home.
6. I am generally thankful for seasons, and that I got to experience a different one in America than we are currently experiencing here in Dar.
7. For all of my experiences in Massachusetts last week, the primary purpose of my trip home was to get Bonus Baby checked out. I am most profoundly thankful this year that our baby looks healthy and strong. My due date was pushed back to its original date - April 27th - and our c-section was scheduled for Monday April 21st (already adjusted the countdown on the right), which is both Easter Monday AND Marathon Monday! I am so thankful to have had a great team of technicians, nurses and doctors assessing me and Bonus Baby. We had some great conversations and quite a few laughs...in addition to some emotional tears as well. I feel we are in great hands in Boston and I can't wait for April to arrive.
8. I am very thankful that I had easy, smooth, uneventful, and spacious economy class travel from and back to Dar. It was probably the easiest trip I have had these last 6 years with very accommodating airlines and crews (not always the norm!). Fingers crossed for a similar experience in the spring!
9. After all that, I came home to a husband who was smiling at the airport after having a pretty big week of his own balancing work and kids with no Mama around. We are both thankful that Rose and Christopher the cook were great and helpful all week to make my absence less difficult. But mostly I am thankful that he is such a great husband/partner/father because I was not nervous or worried about anyone while I was gone and the kids were perfectly happy and well-adjusted the whole time. He is truly the best.
10. Last but not least, my two great kids were excellent in my absence (Rose keeps reminding me that they whined a lot less when I wasn't home!) and were absolutely adorable and charming and precious upon my return. I am truly thankful for them everyday, and I am also especially thankful that they are so excited for Bonus Baby. They seem so eager to welcome another person into our family; it gives me goosebumps sometimes to really think about how blessed we are.
So even though we'll be eating pizza at the beach tonight, this holiday is not lost on me. I have an abundance of people and situations and experiences to be thankful for...and so, very thankful I am.