Monday, November 20, 2017

On being thankful...

Each November I try to write on Facebook some of the many reasons I am thankful. This November started out with a bang. So far it went like this:

The month of thankfulness begins: Day 1: I'm thankful for Ginny. Our friendship is proof that friendship can survive and grow no matter the distance. I'm thankful for our morning chats no matter the length. I'm thankful for her ability to make me laugh when I want to cry. 

Day 2: I'm thankful for our home. Though it's messy most days, it's proof that we live. It's proof that we play and we have the ability to cook food that nourishes our body. I'm thankful for our messy table which shows that we share meals together and make memories

Day 3: I'm thankful for margaritas. I haven't had one in ages but tonight is the night #midtermssuck

Day 4: I'm thankful for my body. It gave me the power to lift weights today and feel strong. Though it may not look exactly the way I'd like for it to look, I'm proud of it. It's allowed me to carry 3 pregnancies and birth 3 healthy babies.It's allowed me to nurse my 3 babies and provide milk for a variety of other babies around Wisconsin. It allows me to hold my babies in my arms even at 8, 6 and 4. It may not be the best body, but it's mine and I'm proud of that.

Day 5: I'm thankful for my Bella boo. She pushes me to think outside of my comfort zone. She challenges me to be the best mom and the best woman I can be. She questions things I never thought about at her tender age. She's wise beyond her years. I appreciate that I learn from her regularly and for her ability to make me a better me for her and for everyone around me.

Day 6: I'm thankful for being able to listen to my 4 year old use his imagination while playing cars alone. He NEVER plays cars and was playing and having them "talk" to each other. I stood at the top of the stairs soaking in his imagination and his ability to play nicely alone. He loves being around people and others that moments like these are rare

Then I stopped, I missed like 3 days. Why? Because work was overwhelming. I was meeting with students from the moment I walked in the door at 8, between every break I had and after class or clinical. I was discouraged. Discouraged that maybe my exams were too hard, discouraged that my students fessed up to not reading or even owning the book, discouraged that they weren't doing the things that I told them would help them succeed, discouraged that I was spending hours discussing the things I'd already told them. I was frustrated. As a professor, my biggest frustration is student's failing when I've given them the tools to succeed.

Here's the thing, some of them were super thankful that I met with them. They were really genuinely grateful. I was feeling overwhelmed, sad, discouraged. So the thankful posts stopped because at the end of the day I didn't feel very thankful for much, except that we had all made it out alive. I felt like I was struggling with that balance yet again. However, I need to get back at it. I need positivity.

Day 7: I'm thankful for my childhood. Though it wasn't always easy, it was mine. My parents loved me unconditionally. I never once questioned whether they loved me, whether I was wanted or whether they were proud. My parents gave affection freely, hugs, kisses and nighttime snuggles were moments we shared. I remember setting up the Christmas tree... I remember swimming with my dad at the pool. There were few distractions. They loved us without a doubt.

Day 8: I'm thankful for divorce. Yeah I know it might be an odd thing to be thankful for... were there times as a child that I wished that my parents were together? You bet your ass. Were there times, many times, that I hated packing up my shit to go to the other's house or back again? Yep that too... but I learned a lot. I grew as a person because of my experiences. There are things I gained... 

Day 9: I'm thankful for my step-dad. He loves me like I'm his. I never lived there with my mom and him, I was an older teen when they got married. I never once have doubted his love for my mother, he's by her side through thick and thin. I got a good one when I got him. Like a really good one. While he loves me, he really, I mean really loves my babies. They are his grand babies. There's no blood but their bond is thicker than that. Blood is not needed. The love runs deep with each of my babies and their Papa. 

Day 10: I'm thankful for my step-moms. Yes, my dad was married more than once. I really gave my "first" step-mom a run for her money. I tried with all of me to run her to the curb... she loved my dad and she tried to love me too. I pushed her away. Now, even after divorce and life changes, I love her. I appreciate her more. We love each other despite the past. My dad's next wife, allowed him to share his time with me. Though, I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have cared if she didn't. I spent a lot of late nights hanging out with the both of them... while she's cut me out of her life now (apparently she can't handle that I'm "so much like him"), I appreciate that she was part of the relationship I shared with my father. 

Day 11: I'm thankful for our camper... not the "actual" camper but the memories it allows us to create as a family. We are disconnected from our daily lives, our emails, phone calls. We are all just hanging out together, playing games, hiking, swimming, adventuring together. I wouldn't trade those moments for the world. The late night fires and s'mores. The campfire smell that waifs into our home for days to follow. The moments that we share with friends that camp with us. 

Day 12: I'm thankful for my job. Though there are days I want to run away, there's nothing else I would rather do. I'm sharing my passion about pediatric nursing with students. I'm teaching them, I'm helping them grow into the future nurses that will rock this world. I'm thankful for the challenge it gives my mind, the questions that they ask that I can't answer. The ones that leave me wanting more for me, for them. 

Day 13: I'm thankful for my colleagues, old and new. I would not be the professor or the nurse I am today without the people that helped me along the way. I've been blessed to travel to different cities, meet Ryan while traveling, explore new cities, learn how different organizations run, worked with army medics and worked with true pediatric experts. There is not one person who's path I crossed that did not influence who I am today. I am the nurse, the educator I am today because of each and every one of them. 

Day 14: I'm thankful for Grayson. His love for all things wolves and animals. His love for camping and being a family. His love for watching Ryan and I dance in the kitchen and his love of marriage. The kid can't wait to get married. He's passionate, he loves hard. 

Day 15: With that comes me being thankful for my marriage. I'm thankful for a husband that pushes me to be the best I can for me. He expects 100% and gives 100%. Ten years in and there's no one else I could imagine embracing this journey with. I'm lucky to have him. I know that. There are times when I wonder what I've done to deserve him. 

Day 16: I'm thankful for Camp No Limits. While it only happens four days out of entire year, it fills us for the remainder of the year. The moments that you take away from camp are priceless. The friends become family, they become your support, your advocate to get what your child needs. They push you when you feel like giving up. They provide a network of people that embrace Bella and our family with no limits!

Day 17: I'm thankful for Luna (our dog). While it may seem silly, she's excited to see every single person in the house when they enter the door. In her ripe old age of 7, she's suddenly a 70 pound lap dog. She's a snuggler and a lover and is a perfect match for our family. 

Day 18: I'm thankful for our neighbors... they seriously bend over backwards to help our family. They have a family of their own and don't hesitate for a split second to help, get the kids off to school, sit while the washer guy comes, run over when we have a car issue or need an extra hand. I could not do this job without them! 

Day 19: I'm thankful for play dates. They seriously breathe life into me when I'm torn and worn out. When I feel like day drinking or like I can't handle another minute, when I have a funny story to share or an embarrassing one. I'm thankful for the ability of my mom friends to make me feel normal when I feel anything but!

Day 20: I'm thankful for my mom. I sure wish she would move closer though! I'm thankful for our relationship, for the growth that continues to happen as we both age (or mostly her, not me of course!)I'm thankful for the Tutu she is to my babies. She's forming unique bonds with each of them. The adventurous spirit she has and that she'll do anything for them, even if that means riding a spinning ride at Legoland 4 too many times! I'm thankful for her ability to calm me when I'm stressed, encourage me when I feel like I'm failing, and making me laugh when I need to breath. 

I'm all caught up! Finally... that was emotional! I'll be back... I'm not letting this month go without finishing it off!

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