Friday, November 25, 2005

What I Am Grateful For

I got home a couple of hours ago from Thanksgiving dinner with very old, very dear friends.

We first met when our respective daughters were in a daycare center together in New York City. They moved to a house in the suburbs when Katie was two years old; we moved to the suburbs a year later.

We have had Thanksgiving dinner with them every year since Katie and Maggie were about four years old. Now that I am divorced, my ex-husband and I have joint custody of our friends. Neither of us could bear to give them up, so we alternate Thanksgivings with them. Last year my ex went (with our daughter; she goes every year). This year it was my turn.

As we got out of the car at their house, my daughter and I looked at each other and smiled, silently sharing the feeling of joy that comes with being at Larry and Lori's house for Thanksgiving dinner again.

So on my list of things I'm grateful for, this is first on the list: I am grateful for friendship that lasts through many, many years. I am grateful that even though so much else about my life has rearranged, and continues to, Thanksgiving dinner with Larry, Lori, and their daughter; Lori's sister, her husband, and their son still remains. They are irreplaceable in my life; I treasure their friendship; my life would be immeasurably poorer without them.

Here are a few other things I am grateful for:

My daughter, who is smart, funny, and cares about making the world a better place. She inspires me to keep hoping, dreaming, working, and trying.

Books, and my ability to write, both of which have kept me sane (to the extent that I am), and have often made the difference for me between hanging on and giving up.

My parents, who instilled in me that love for books, and passed on to me that spirit of creativity -- especially my father, who taught me, by example, that love, friendship, compassion, kindness, and justice are the highest values; and who believed deeply in peace and abhorred war.

People who were there when I needed them, and who "got it": Elliot, Rachel, Michael S.; Susan; the staff of the hospice for terminally ill children at St. Mary's Hospital for Children in Bayside, Queens; the Human Needs Ministry in Montclair, NJ; Dena S., and Julie S.; my brother; the doctor who held my hand, literally, at one of the lowest points in my life.

I am very grateful for having been accepted into the New York City Teaching Fellows program, which means not just a full-time salary and health benefits, but the fulfillment of a long-time dream.

Last, but also first, I am grateful for having loved Paul.

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