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Giving Thanks

December 1, 2013

Thanksgiving may have passed, but tonight is my first night home from a family getaway and I wanted to take a moment and share what I was thankful for during this trip.  Here goes:

1.  Safe travels.  Enough said.  We passed the aftermath of a serious accident today and I’m grateful that our family made it to our destination and back in one piece.  The worst part of our car ride was hearing our youngest ask, “Are we there yet?” approximately every 2.5 seconds. 

2.  Being pleasantly surprised by our lodging.  My husband had warned me not to expect much as he didn’t have a ton of info to go on when he booked our place.  When we walked into our beautifully appointed, brand spankin’ new condo with two decks, two bathrooms with jacuzzi tubs, and a view of the lake, we were very thankful.  As a homebody I especially appreciated the lovely surroundings.  And as a germ-phobe my husband especially appreciated not feeling the need to use a black light upon arrival. 

3.  Family time away from distractions and obligations.  This.  Was.  HUGE.  We were lazy.  We played cards.  We cooked.  We lounged around in our jammies.  We explored.  But most of all?  We were together.  Completely, wholeheartedly together.  Life slowed down and we all found ourselves being kinder, more patient, more relaxed with each other.  It was magical.  And I will forever be thankful for the time we spent as a family in that condo by the lake. 

4.  Nature.  Being outside with the woods and water all around was exactly what this mama needed.  I grew up in the country and I’ll always be happiest when I’m outdoors with nothing but the sights and sounds of nature surrounding me.  Sharing that with my family makes me even happier.  You can have your church.  My pew is a rock on the edge of a lake, and my sermon is the sunrise.

5.  Temporary emergencies.  On our second night of vacation, our five-year old daughter fell out of bed in her sleep and managed to fight a losing battle with a nightstand that left her with a deep gash on her chin and abrasions on her throat.  A 2am visit to the local ER and three stitches later, we were headed back to the condo with no major damage to speak of.  The very next evening we visited a local amusement park with a fantastic holiday light display.  An hour into our visit the same daughter spilled hot chocolate down her shirt and ended up in the First Aid tent getting burn ointment applied.  Once again, no lasting damage.  As we left the park, we passed a couple pushing their paraplegic child in a wheelchair and I realized just how lucky we were to only have stitches and minor burns to worry about.  We had to see our child in pain and that’s never easy, but we also get to see her heal.

6.  Extended family.  After our mini-vacation we headed an hour away to visit my husband’s extended family with whom we’ve made a tradition of spending Thanksgiving with.  Though we only see them once a year, their warmth and welcoming nature always makes us feel right at home.  While I missed spending time with my own immediate family back home, I can’t imagine a second family I’d rather spend Thanksgiving with.  On the surface we have nothing in common.  They’re Bible-quoting, gun-toting, right-wing conservatives who raise cows and think owning less than six guns is downright un-American.  I’m a pro-gun control liberal feminist who finds organized religion questionable and could easily go vegan.  Yet we love each other unconditionally.  I would do anything for them and know they would do the same.  And really, isn’t that what family’s all about?

7.  Home.  Getting away is always wonderful, but so is coming home.  I love that we’ve made a home that we feel comfortable in and want to spend time in.  And there’s nothing like sleeping in your own bed after a few nights away.  In fact, I think my bed is calling, y’all.  Happy belated Thanksgiving and goodnight. 

Gratefully yours,

Ash

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