"I've got
money in my pocket
I like the color of my hair
I've got a friend who loves me
got a house
I've got a car
I've got a good mother
and her voice is what keeps me here
feet on ground
heart in hand
facing forward
'be yourself'

~Jann Arden, "Good Mother"

'Tis the week to be as thankful as possible, and I happened to be listening to this song as I was thinking about what my "Thankful Four" list would be, prompted by MommyBrain and SupahMommy.  Doesn't this pretty much say it all?  I think so, but then again, this blog post would be too short.  So I used the song as my starting point, and here are the four I've narrowed down as the best gifts I've been given in life.

1)  Family.  You know from this post how big and wonderful and important my family is.  The value of this in my life simply can't be overstated.  I told my husband once (who is more or less from a family of three) that being part of my family meant that we will never go hungry or be homeless unless we are too proud to ask for help.  There will always be someone who will take care of us until we can get back on our feet.  My family will always mean good advice, loud laughter, delicious food, and a place in the world.  I cannot think of any better gift I can give my son than that of belonging to this bunch of incredible people, and knowing that no matter what might happen to my husband or me, he will still be as surrounded by love and joy as I was.  Of course he and his daddy are my nearest and dearest family, without whom I would have almost no reason to get out of bed.

2)  Health.  Do you ever think about your throat?  I don't, unless it is wickedly sore, and then I think about it all the time.  In general, though, it just goes about its business so I can go about mine, and is more or less unappreciated.  The same goes for every part of my body, because as far as I can tell they're all working just fine (except for my eyes which require contacts, but we had a discussion about it and I've forgiven them).  Every single time I get sick, know someone who is sick, or even read a story online about someone who is sick, I get teary and beyond grateful that my loved ones and I are all healthy, even if it is only for this fleeting moment.

3)  Education.  Of course I'd be grateful for this, given that I'm a teacher.  What I mean is that I'm thankful for the education that I've been given, both in and out of classrooms, because that can never be taken away.  I'm also incredibly fortunate to have been trained in a career that is pretty hard to outsource.  I'm fairly confident that people will always want their ten-year-olds to go to school with teachers who are with them in person.  In this new world and scary economy, that's no small gift.  Finally, I appreciate the education my husband has and his brilliance because it has given me the opportunity to be home with my son as much as I want.

4)  Imperfection.  I thought about this last one for a long, long time.  As I pondered the "be yourself" part of the song above, I realized that I am grateful for my character flaws because I need the challenge to be a better person.  I appreciate the obstacles in life because they have helped me to connect with people I might otherwise have passed by with just a smile and nod, and given me some incredible friends.  I'm grateful for the rain so that I smile in delight when the sun comes out {really, I couldn't stand L.A.  It feels so fake}.  I'm thankful that my husband and I argue once in a while so we can put forth the extra effort of being kind and have a fresh start at this crazy marriage thing.
"Screws fall out, the world's an imperfect place." That's not always such a bad thing. 

My aunt and uncle do "thankful fors" every night with my cousins, and when the kids were here visiting over the summer, we did them with them, too.  What a powerful tradition.  Now I whisper to my son each night before I put him in bed, saying what I'm thankful for and what I bet he is thankful for (yesterday: a playdate with a friend who shared her Cheerios, and new library books about trains and garbage trucks).  It will be really fun to keep doing this as he grows up.  Thanks, Aunt Julie and Uncle Steve, for giving me the idea!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.  I am headed home to Michigan.  Joy!


  1. Have a great thanksgiving and enjoy the family.

  2. Thanks for commenting on my "Thankful Four" post. I hope you had a nice time in Michigan. You probably saw the snow?!?!