I'm thankful for the village. Looking back on my children's short lives, I can't help but think of all the people that helped get them to where they are today. First, they were guided into this world by a team of caring midwives, whom I will forever be grateful for. Both had help from my lactation consultant, my sister has spent quite a few nights with my children helping me out, and my parents have spent several weeks with them, answering my call for childcare assistance EVERY TIME I needed it. I'm also thankful for my kids' pediatrician and Helen's pediatric gastroenterologist. The former kept Helen at home when she was born and developed jaundice and both are now working to get the last of her stomach issues under control. I'm thankful for my mom's group that provides a consistent sounding board for issues related to being a mom and raising kids.
I'm thankful for the one person who can be brutally honest (that's you, Ed) and the others who know when to bite their tongues (that's you, Mom, Linda, and Dad). Well, at least most of the time they bite their tongues.
I'm thankful for Therese's balance with regards to raising her son (e.g. Eamon is a good eater, I don't mind if he has cake every now and then), and also thankful for the way Ellen seems to know when to take a hardline approach, and when to pull out her undeniably Southern smile. Ellen will kill me for putting this in writing, but I'm thankful for the time she and I were on the phone and she said to Esther "just eat it off the ground, it's OK today". Why? Because that behavior is totally OK in my house EVERY DAY but I never dreamed it happened in hers. I guess I'm thankful she's human.
I'm thankful for bike tires that never go flat, gas tanks that rarely need filling, mice that get trapped in sheds before they get near my home, and grass that's almost always trimmed - and lots more. In other words, I'm thankful for the things Ed does around the home that I sometimes don't even realize he does. I have a feeling our new home will have a lot more of these things than our current home.
I'm thankful for children who go to bed easily - sometimes they actually do that, the way Connor cannot help but run almost everywhere he goes, and Helen's desire to always be in the middle of the action. I'm thankful for every inside joke Connor and Helen share and the way Connor almost always looks out for his little sister.
I'm thankful that library books have to be returned after having been read almost every night for six consecutive weeks because even the good ones aren't that great.
I'm thankful for crisp autumn days, leaves that crunch, and raindrops and snowflakes that land on tongues.
I'm thankful for the gummi bears that Vapiano hands out at the end of the meal, and the middle, and the beginning, and seafood that is delivered to tables fast. I'm thankful I have never had to wonder where my next meal was coming from, and I'm thankful for Miriam's Kitchen in DC who tries to make that a reality for my homeless neighbors. And I would be thankful to everyone who reads this and makes a donation to them or another soup kitchen in their area. Could you spare a donation of $5 for every year you've lived without worrying where your next meal would come from?
I'm thankful for Laurie who calls any time Ed is home alone with the kids and offers to have a playdate and was the person I felt completely comfortable calling at ridiculous times in the night when Helen was on her way. If I were going to have a third child, even though she has two of her own children, I wouldn't hesitate to hand off Connor and Helen to her during their sibling's birth. And if she felt overwhelmed, I know she would just call someone to help her rather than tell me to find someone else to help out.
I'm thankful to the man on the subway who gave me his seat last week as I was balancing a homemade apple pie, and I'm also thankful for the toddlers that helped make that pie, even if I did eventually have to send them both out of the kitchen when it got out of control. I'm thankful to the dad that was there to play with both of them while I regrouped in the kitchen.
I'm thankful for the first tulips that come up in the spring, signaling the end of winter. I'm thankful for summer days that last forever, bubbles that float up in the sky, and uncrowded baseball games where Connor and Helen can stretch out and Ed and I can watch a few innings.
I'm thankful for every day I take the time to live as if it's my last because those are the days I think my kids will remember most. And I'm also thankful for date night.
I'm thankful that my children have 4 grandparents who celebrate their accomplishments and read them endless stories, chase them on the playground, and try to hug away tears.
But most of all, this year, I'm thankful that the reflux is gone, the hearing test is passed, and both of my kids are incredibly healthy. I'm painfully aware that not all kids have it this good.