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Giving Thanks in 2006
I am thankful for many things; however, I have to admit that I do not often think about being grateful on an average day in my life. Traditionally Thanksgiving has been about giving thanks for a “bounty” of good fortune, specifically that good fortune which the Pilgrims eventually came to find. Supposedly they sat down with the Native Americans to feast and give thanks for the end results of their joint efforts in harvest and friendship. I am afraid that we have a very distorted picture when we consider this view. The truth is that the Pilgrim’s “good fortune” came at a very high price in the form of disease, death, starvation, and war. There was little peace and friendship between our European ancestors and the Native Americans. The Native Americans paid dearly for our greed. Yet despite all we know, the traditions and the stories continue.
Perhaps this is because it is so very important that we take a moment – a day, perhaps – to realize how fortunate we are, despite our many woes, and that we express gratefulness for all our blessings.
This has been a difficult year for me, but these difficulties make my blessings seem brighter and bolder than if they had come to me easily. I am thankful for my daughters. They are 16 and 20 this year and they are learning how to be young adults. They make mistakes, but they learn from them. Some of those mistakes break my heart; however, I am watching two young women evolve and it is an amazing journey. I realize that they could not become the individuals they are meant to be without a few mistakes along the way. The important thing is that they know that I will never abandon them, regardless of the mistakes they might make. We will always be family and I will always be there for them.
I am thankful that I am a single parent. Yes, it is sometimes harder than if I had a partner in this endeavor; however, it has its rewards, too! I would not trade a moment of parenthood because I have learned so much – about myself, about my daughters, about love – especially about love! Parenthood is an amazing journey and I am so very grateful to be a mom!
I am thankful for my home. There is a family of squirrels who are building a nest in the eaves of my house. I need to paint – both inside and out. I fuss about the amount of pine straw that falls on the roof and covers my yard. I do not like getting up every Saturday morning to clean it. But it is my house. It keeps us safe, protects us from the elements, provides us with a place to gather as a family, and anchors us to a community. Those trees that dump pinestraw in the fall and winter, provide shade in the spring and summer. Those squirrels that have found a home in my home can be removed and they will build a nest in a back yard tree and put on a show for us as we sit at the breakfast table each morning. Once I drag myself out of bed and clean it up proper, I am proud to call it my home.
After six months with no transportation, I have my car back! I was able to take on a second job that did not take a lot of time from my family in order to earn the money to get it fixed. It was a true blessing and I am very grateful to the gentlemen who took a chance on testing my planning skills in uncharted territory.
I have a full-time, permanent job. I have a job that provides me not only a salary, but benefits like health insurance, a savings plan, and provides tuition assistance for me to attend school. I work with incredibly people who are generous, kind, and who are more than associates – they are true friends!
I love to write and I have found many venues in which to share my gift of words, including BellaOnline. I can speak my mind and not be persecutred. I live in the United States where as a woman, I have the right to vote and I don’t have to worry about being stoned to death because my neighbor accuses me of being sexually promiscuous. I will not be put on trial as an adulteress at the accusations of my rapist. I don’t have to worry that my daughters will be subjected to female genital mutilation or that they will be required to have a male escort every where they go. I can express my opinion, as can they, and every other woman who lives here. I can be proud to be a woman!
By no means am I trying to say that life is perfect in the United States or that there are not imperfections and terrible unbalances within our society. There are. However, for a time, it is also important that we realize all we have for which we should be thankful. We can get back to fixing the rest of the world tomorrow. For today, let us give thanks!
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