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Thank You, Mom — and Everyone Else I Love — on This Thanksgiving

A few years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to write this. Well, more accurately, I wouldn’t have thought I could write this. A lot has changed in my life recently, for better and for worse. That’s sort of how life goes. But the one thing that has remained constant is the amount of support my family, friends and mentors have shown me over the years.

I’m lucky to have great people in my life. I honestly can’t think of a single person I would be better off without. The people in our lives shape us slowly and quietly in ways we don’t notice until it’s already done. Without the people I love and who have loved me, I definitely wouldn’t think what I think, know what I know or be even remotely who I am today. Considering everything has turned out pretty much alright, I couldn’t be more grateful for that.

Thanksgiving is the time of year when gratitude for the people we love floats to the top of our minds. We visit family and friends, take a little time off to reflect and the holiday provides us — or at least me — with an external reminder to dump negativity and celebrate what I have.

Though practicing gratitude benefits mental and physical health all year round, I know I’m not always as thankful as I should be. It’s easy for me to get caught up in the daily grind and get sucked into negative thought spirals. When that happens, I miss the little things I love about the world and the people in it —which are plentiful, by the way.

This Thanksgiving, when my calendar reminds me to be grateful, I’m going to make a bigger effort to speak my gratitude and tell the people I love how much they mean to me. And, if you don’t mind listening, I’d like to tell you now too, for posterity’s sake — for myself to remember everyone I have to be grateful for.

Thank You to My Family

Where would I be without my family? I can barely stand to think about it. Thank you to these fantastic people:

  • First, thank you to my Mom. Thank you for supporting me through everything. For worrying about me even when you didn’t need to. For making me laugh and for laughing at my jokes even when you don’t get them. Thank you for reading books to me when I was little and for teaching me how to work hard. Thank you for being a great listener and a shoulder to cry on. And thank you especially for pushing me to follow my dreams.
  • Thank you to my Dad. For being the silliest person alive. For gifting me your quick wit. For giving me the pep talk I need even when I don’t know I need it. For always pushing me toward excellence. For taking an interest in my life, even if it’s from afar. Thank you for not being afraid to feel deeply.
  • Thank you to my husband. We’ve spent the last 11 years of our life together and it all started out with a couple of flat tires. I’m so incredibly grateful for the life we have together and can’t wait to see what adventures baby number 2 brings us this year!
  • Thank you to my beautiful, magnificent daughter. You are my first born. You made me a Mama. Your spirit and spunk fill me with more joy than I ever thought possible.

Thank You to My Friends

They say your friends are the family you get to pick, and I genuinely believe that. I’m grateful I chose these people:

  • Thank you to my high school best friend. I know sometimes things were rough, but we made it through together. And now – we’re officially family. You supported me and helped me how only close friends can.
  • Thank you to the band geeks who became my family. Your crazy hair colors and weird jokes never fail to bring a smile to my face. Thank you for being comfortable in your identities and talking with me for hours at a time.
  • Finally, thank you to my new friends. Thank you for welcoming me into your group without hesitation. Thank you for crafting beautiful stories and teaching me the rules of the game. Thank you for showing me it’s possible — and also probably good — to meet new people every once in a while.

Thank You to My Mentors

When I need a little push or some helpful advice, I know my mentors are always there for me. Thank you to these incredible role models:

  • Thank you to my writing teachers. Thank you for understanding the importance of building student-teacher relationships. Thank you for forcing me to submit my writing and being enthusiastic about stories. And thanks, most of all, for trusting me with responsibility, for letting me cry in your office and for teaching me that it’s okay to be listless sometimes.
  • Finally, thank you to my college advisor, who offered me coffee in the morning before class. Thank you for believing in me, for introducing me to so many important scholars, for staying up late to read my drafts and for teaching me to throw out the formula and try something new.

This Thanksgiving, I’m going to remember all the amazing things these people have taught me and done for me over the years. I’m going to try my best to remember them the rest of the year, too. The people we love make our lives and the world better, and I never want to forget that.

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