It's Sunday evening. I am sitting in my living room with my glass of chardonnay (with ice), watching Friends, preparing for my week ahead. It's technically a short work week, but in true solopreneur style, I've got work to do every single day.
Down the hall, I hear my husband snoring (damn, he's loud!)
On my phone, I'm watching the video monitor of my daughter in her bed (Is she warm enough in there? Do I see her back rising and falling with each breath? Should I get her that motorized car for Christmas?)
This Friday at 8am, my 4th Annual VIP party goes live on my website. It's exciting and fun...and a LOT of work. Not only do I hand make every single jewelry item on my site, but I also have to photograph, edit, post, describe, and track each one of those items. It's a major undertaking! Tonight I'm walking through the user experience on my site, which is a fancy way of saying I am making sure people can find what they are looking for.
I also have a "day job": I'm a speech-language pathologist practicing teletherapy. For anyone who isn't familiar with that, it basically means that I am an online speech teacher. My area of expertise is early childhood language development, and in this role I work with children grades K-12. This week, I am planning out Thanksgiving themed activities for my kiddos (HOPING that I will keep their attention on these days before the holiday!).
(adding: my husband's snoring has now transcended into a loud whistling noise...he'd better not wake up that baby!!)
So, where am I going with this? I am sitting here reflecting on how I can describe to my students what it means to be "thankful". I know that there are dictionary definitions and traditional explanations, but in REAL life...what does it MEAN?
For me, it's...complicated. What I'm thankful for is not necessarily always what I'm happy for, but I guess that's just how the universe works. At this moment, I am thankful for (and happy for) my life with my dear husband and my sweet daughter. I've got a beautiful home, a loving family, and a rewarding career. I get to experience the reward of helping children in my speech therapy job, I get to be creative and interact with the public in my bel monili/jewelry designing job, and I get to help other artists grow their businesses in my course creator job.
When I really dig down about what I'm thankful for, though, I have to look at what led up to this joyful time in my life. I have to be thankful for the not-so-good times too, if I truly want to be able to appreciate all that I have today.
I am endlessly thankful for my grandparents: my dear Bubbie and Jeddie who were in my life from the time I took my first breath until the time when they took their last. My heart aches every day missing them: how I wish my daughter would have been able to stand on her stool next to Bubbie while she made a batch of currant jelly, or dig with Jeddie in his big garden. How I wish they had been sitting there in the front row when I married the man I've known most of my life. How I would love to pick up the phone right now and call Bubbie to say "I have an idea...what do you think?". I am thankful for their existence, their love, and the vacuum of love they left in me when they moved on to the next world.
I am thankful for the man who absolutely crushed my soul: the person I loved limitlessly for almost 8 years of my life. The person I trusted completely and blindly, who betrayed me in the biggest and most complete way a person could betray another and who almost ended my world. The person who hurt me so much and so deeply that my heart is STILL trying to heal to this day. I am thankful for him though, because in the good times, he was my biggest champion. He gave me the encouragement and support I needed to leave a career I loathed and return to school to get my masters degree. He challenged me to try new things, go new places, and smash through walls with blind faith. He taught me that anything, ANYTHING is possible. I am thankful for his infedelity and duplicity, because without that I would have never known how to reach down into the depths of my existence to really find who I am and know who I could truly lean on.
Without this person, I may have never realized that my future and my life would lie with the one man I knew, I KNOW, would never hurt me. The man who was and always will be my champion. The man who I don't always like, but who I love with every molecule of my being and every version of my existence. My dear sweet husband, who has loved me since I was a young teenager and who has always, ALWAYS given me the best of the best no matter what it takes.
I am thankful for my husband. The man who I have loved since before I really knew that that meant. The man who has always, ALWAYS worked to give me the best. Random fact: a psychic once told me that he and I have been together in every life. Now, different people believe different things about existence and souls and such, but I can tell you that our souls are (and always have been) in a partnership. I am thankful for him waking me up before he leaves the house in the morning, because I get to kiss him goodbye. I am thankful for the chance to make him dinner every night when he gets home from work. I am thankful for the times when we get to sit and watch a movie together, and I am thankful for moments like right now when I get to listen to him snore away while I work on my passion.
I am thankful for my dear sweet daughter, who came to me later in life and who is the spark and fire at the core of my existence. I am thankful for her amazing mind, her boundless energy, and her huge personality. I am thankful for the times when I feel like I just cant take any more, because those are the times I longed for when I dreamed of being a mother. I am thankful for the times when she is cranky, crabby, and out-of-sorts, because those are the times when I have the chance to soothe and teach. I am thankful for the times when she is stubborn and difficult, because those are the times when I know that she won't let ANYONE tread on her. I am thankful for the times when things are SO slow because she wants to be helping. I am thankful for the tears and the messes and the tantrums, because without them this home would be just a little bit too quiet and a little bit too neat.
I am thankful for the friendships of the people I meet in my business, both in person and virtually. I am thankful for the stories they share with me, the joy that they get from wearing one of my creations, and the love they share when they tell me their stories. I am thankful each and every time I hear "this reminds me of my grandmother!". I am thankful for the opportunity these people give me to be able to make and be creative and think outside the box.
There are so many people and experiences who have crossed over my path and helped to shape the person I am today, and for each and every one of those, I am thankful. This is a beautiful and blessed life, and I consciously and with effort make a point to pause and take note of moments as they happen. I hope that you are able to find an abundance of people and things to be thankful for in your world.