(Sightseeing in the Twin Cities during conference travels)
There are many reasons to feel overwhelm and upset over the political landscape in the United States at the moment. And the Thanksgiving celebration itself is not exempt from enduring and legitimate reasons to feel anger over the power structures that perpetuate inequality, violence, and marginalization in this country. But for the sake of optimism and for the sake of setting an example to my now two-year-old daughter (!!!), I also want to take a moment to reflect and feel grateful.
Over the last year, I watched my child set foot in the ocean for the first time. I traveled a lot with her and Chris for work and for fun. I took a leap of faith with some friends and started a company. I was asked to submit and I submitted my book proposal (cross your fingers! I am still waiting to hear word about an advanced contract). I saw my mom retire from her lengthy and fulfilling career as a public educator (to help take care of Emilia for us while we work). I got to witness Chris's delight upon going to Pirates' Spring Training for the first time. I saw four couples (friends and family) get married. I got Speck the dog to stop a hunger strike by home-cooking elaborate (for a dog) meals to suit her increasingly persnickety 17 year old palate. I continued to grow closer with extended family members as they demonstrated their depth of love for my daughter (as well as Chris and me). And I continued to feel more in love than ever with Chris.
It wasn't always sunshine and roses. At times I felt spread more thin than ever before in my life. I lost my temper. I lost my keys. I lost track of my perpetually unfinished to-do lists. I barely made time to do things I should do like go to the gym, read fiction, or prioritize other forms of self care. I wasn't supermom or super wife. I wasn't super professor or super friend. I wasn't super daughter or super co-founder. When you wear too many hats you wear them all a little less well than you could under more ideal circumstances. But I am grateful for the experiences I gained from trying.
Emilia turns two today (drafting the day before Thanksgiving) and she is the light of my (and Chris's and her extended family's) life. She is so funny, silly, and smart. She's so courageous, empathetic, and kind. She has big strong feelings that come on fast because she's realizing the scale of the world in relation to herself. She teaches me so much about myself. I am grateful for those lessons. I am grateful for this light.
We have conversations now. Me and her... just us two gals talking about life and cookies and Speck the dog and daddy and Minnie Mouse. It's pretty great. I am really lucky.
It's not lost on me that there's a lot to feel upset about in the world this week. There are a lot of people who feel bogged down and disappointed (myself included). But there's also a lot for which to be grateful. When the news confirms that there's much work to do to make this a more equitable, humane, just, and good world, that gratitude I feel becomes a motivating force. It makes me want to try harder to increase the good in the world for all. Happy Thanksgiving!