Sunday, November 23, 2008
It's a family tradition to come to the Thanksgiving meal and share a list of what each of us is thankful for and why. We have a pretty good family for this exercise because there are a wide range of experiences. Each year we have serious illnesses, adopted kids, foster kids, deaths, new jobs, lost jobs--all of the things that make life challenging. But every time we do this tradition we end the day feeling very thankful.
This year my list of challenges is pretty long. More than the usual number of people I know passed away. More than the usual number are experiencing serious illnesses, cancer in particular. But for both of these challenges there has been a greater coming together of people involved and a closeness that I know would not be present without the catalyst. I am thankful for the comfort and support and I am thankful I can provide for others.
We had to send a foster child we were caring for back into the system because the legal process in its convoluted way does not provide what is best for each child. I am thankful I learned first hand what some of the problems with the system are so I can work harder toward making changes. And I hope the time we had with our foster child will help him cope with his next experiences. I am thankful we tried to do something good even though the outcome was not what we hoped for.
My "retirement" plans have been derailed by the economy but I am thankful I am not already retired so I am not dependent on investment income and savings. Even though my company has recognized we are going to have tight times in 2009, we haven't had to officially downsize. I thank god every day when I go into work that I have my job for another day. My husband does not have a job yet but I am thankful he is still able to support and nurture our family in other ways by taking care of all the daily activities and be there for the kids when they need a parent. This is more valuable than the money. We've been able to accommodate by watching our spending and since we've always been careful we are doing ok. I am so thankful we have our home.
We have come to the realization that our daughter, adopted from Russia, had so many challenges she will probably never be able to totally be independent, but we have found a really good treatment program that will hopefully help define next steps. Our son who was struggling to figure out what to do with his life has turned out to be pretty good at running his own business (passed on to him by a retiring friend) and seems to have gotten his act together after many years of random direction. Our daughter who has been frustrated because we've moved so many times she was never able to fit in or be recognized for accomplishments was named to the District First Soccer Team and Captain of her team, making all those years of training very worthwhile and giving her much a needed feeling of recognition. Now we are waiting on college acceptances. Our other son is still figuring out his next plans but is still employed and self sufficient so we believe he will be alright.
And this year I am thankful I found Spark People. This has worked better for me than any other program I have ever tried. It's the right combination of push, motivation, news to use, accountability and just good old fashioned "do it" attitude. I am thankful I found a path toward better heath and fitness. My mother always told me, if you have your health, you have everything you need to achieve everything else and I know she was right.