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Thanksgiving

We have so much for which we are thankful this year.  We have a home and are not in danger of losing it.  We can pay our heating bill.  We have food to eat and warm clothes.  We have cars that run well and can put gas in them.  More than these basics that far too many people in our midst don’t have, we are so thankful for so many other things too.  I’m married to a man who is perfectly suited to me.  He challenges and compliments me in very important ways.  We have FUN together and laugh every day.  After three years of marriage and four years together we feel comfortable and fresh all at once.  We have a gorgeously amazing daughter.  She makes me laugh every day too.  She’s smart, tenacious, funny, has such a fun little personality.  I’m so honored that I get to watch this little creature grow into an amazing woman and get to shape who she will be in the world.

All too often we forget to say our gratitude prayers and start to chug along taking our lives for granted until something grabs our attention.  Until something snaps us back into the alarming reality of how fragile it all can be.  This happened last month when a local family experienced a tragedy that I’m still trying to wrap my head around.  The dad was walking home from the store with his son (who was around the Sparkle Girl’s age) in a stroller.  As they were in the crosswalk an elderly man hit the gas instead of the brakes on his car and ran into them and another young man.  The men were hurt but ok.  The child died the next day at the hospital.  My heart breaks for everyone in the situation.  How do you live the rest of your days knowing that your mistake caused such unspeakable damage?  How do you go on having lost the most precious thing in your life?  This family is still reeling from this disaster.  A friend of mine whose son is one of H’s favorite playmates is a friend of this family.  She’s still reeling too. Knowing this brings it still closer to home.  I’m so glad I haven’t heard anyone say that they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.  I really hate that expression.  It implies that the injured person was out of place.  That they were someplace they shouldn’t be.  These people were in their own neighborhood in a crosswalk.  It was exactly where they should be.  I’m sure everyone involved will be rehashing that day over and over…what tiny change could have altered the course of events?   But really, all you can do is go about your daily life.

Thinking about it makes me squeeze my own girl tight.  It helps me to be patient when she’s getting in touch with her inner Charlie Sheen and tearing the place apart.  It helps me relish those adorable toddler kisses and hugs.  It helps me stop to listen to her absurd chatter. It helps me walk slowly with her as she investigates every tiny crack in the sidewalk, leaf, bird, squirrel and blade of grass.  It helps me stop what I’m doing and dance with the girl as she discos to Latin Pop. It helps me find strength when she has thrown herself on the ground in Hulk-like rage because I wouldn’t give her cookies for breakfast.  It helps me stay present in this moment instead of thinking about what’s for dinner, or the errands I need to run, or the million other thoughts that crowd my brain in a given day.  I get to watch my little girl grow up to be an amazing woman.  I get to shape who she will be in this world.  I’m so very, very thankful for that.

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