I have a confession to make. Last year, I didn’t feel very thankful. Oh, I decorated. And spent time with family and friends. I even started a gratitude journal in an effort to be more conscious of the good things in my life (the project was short-lived). You might say I adopted a fake-it-’til-you-make-it strategy – I really, really tried to focus on all the things I had to be thankful for. A sweet and wonderful hubby. Great friends. Family. Hobbies that make me happy. A good job, warm house and enough money to buy healthy food, nice clothes and the little things that make life a bit more fun – dinners out, books, wine, gourmet tea… The chance to travel the world (I’d recently returned from a fabulous trip to England). I had seriously good stuff going on in my life, and I knew it. But I still couldn’t really get into the Thanksgiving spirit, because I couldn’t stop thinking about the one thing I wanted that I didn’t have.
This year? This year I’m thankful.
I’m thankful that I finally got the chance to be a mom. I’m thankful for no morning sickness and for all the people who were excited for me when I announced my news. I’m thankful for the good prenatal care I got, especially for the sonogram techs and doctors who caught the complications I had and made sure that Peanut was delivered safe and healthy (albeit early and tiny). I’m thankful for the family and friends who came rushing down to Virginia the moment hubby called with the news of my surprise early delivery, and for the way they rallied around us – visiting Peanut and me in the hospital, filling our fridge with food, vacuuming the house (thanks, Mom!) and mowing the lawn (thanks, Dad!) and encouraging us as we began a long slog of seven weeks in the NICU. I’m thankful for the friends who sent cards, flowers, clothes and diapers, and even made special trips to the hospital to visit with me while Peanut was NICU-ified. I’m thankful for the attorneys in my firm, who sent a beautiful gift basket and a flurry of kind notes and emails. I’m thankful for the moms I bonded with in the NICU – sharing delivery horror stories, hatred for the pump room, hopes for discharge and plans for starting a play group once we all get through flu season. I’m thankful for the NICU alums who told me to hang tight and who gave me plenty of hugs, both virtual and in-person, and who encouraged me and shared their stories and promised me that it wouldn’t last forever. I’m especially thankful for the wonderful doctors and nurses who worked night and day to help Peanut come home healthy, and I’m thankful for October 11, 2012, the day she finally did. I’m thankful for Peanut’s smart and caring pediatrician and for how Peanut has grown and thrived since coming home. I’m thankful for 3:00 a.m. feedings and dirty diapers (yes, even dirty diapers!) and adorable onesies and cute facial expressions. I’m thankful for the baby snuggles I know I’ll miss someday when Peanut is an independent, headstrong toddler. I’m thankful that Peanut has such a great daddy and I have such an amazing partner to share this parenting experience.
There’s no faking it this year – I could go on and on listing the things for which I am thankful. Even looking back on a 31-week delivery and a 7-week NICU stay, I feel awash in blessings.
What are you thankful for this year?