November 27, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Birthday Emilia!

This year, Emilia turns 3 on Thanksgiving. It seems fitting incredibly for my first child to have arrived during a time when I'm prone to reflect happily and with gratitude on the many blessings in my life. I feel truly lucky to watch her bubbly, precocious, delightful personality develop. She is full of enthusiasm and curiosity. She is a fierce negotiator with sound reasoning skills. She can be strong willed and stubborn but she has a very keen sense of empathy and is quite kind. I am biased but I think she's wonderful. Happy Birthday, sweet girl!

Although this holiday feels a bit less full without Chris's stepfather and without Speck the dog, I am still glad to spend it with many of our extended family members. I reap the very tangible benefits of geographic proximity constantly and am so lucky to live near my parents and siblings and Chris's parents and siblings. I am glad we can be here for Chris's mom during a very difficult time. I am glad to see how close Emilia has bonded with everyone.

I am grateful for my husband, who is a true partner to me and who's intellect and humor and affection continue to captivate me after 12 years of togetherness (5 years of marriage). Our family benefits materially and logistically from his strong work ethic, his handiness, his ambition, and his skills in the kitchen. I feel closer to him than ever as we have shared in so many happy celebrations and milestones but also experienced great loss.

I am grateful for my job and even more so that my job feels like a career. I am really lucky to get to meet optimistic, driven young people full of promise and resilience. I try to help them reach their potential and progress toward their goals. I also try to remember what it was like when I was in their shoes. I hope to honor the fact that every one of them is held dear by someone so I should treat them accordingly. I am grateful also for my colleagues who have been supportive and encouraging as I've progressed toward tenure. The mentoring I've received has been beneficial tremendously and it is a pleasure working with so many intelligent and enjoyable people.

I am grateful for the opportunities I have been afforded and how they have helped shape and refine me as well as my view of the world. I am grateful to have lived a life of tremendous stability and security. It is something that can be easy to take for granted but something I need to remember, particularly in the context of what is happening in the world.

I am grateful that the world is full of so many helpers and good people who maintain optimism in the face of very frightening and upsetting conditions. I am grateful for those who fight for fairness and humanity in the face of corruption, injustice, and terror. With the tragedies and atrocities that unfolded over the last year, it can be tempting to take a cynical view or to let fear overtake one's sense of humanity. It is disappointing particularly to witness the political tone and tenor during this election cycle, as it has quite clearly opened up safer spaces for some people to be bigoted and hateful toward anyone they deem "other." It is actually beyond disappointing. It is outright scary. But I still think that reason and decency and kindness and civility will always prevail. I hope that those public figures who are capitalizing on a fearful time to fan the flames of racism will learn that fear mongering and hatred are not effective or sustainable tools for governance in a democracy.

I hope that generosity, kindness, and goodwill will define the coming weeks of the holiday season and I wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving.

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