My kids. I couldn't be prouder of these two delightful young people who never fail to brighten my day, whether it's Hayley leaving little notes in places I don't find them right away (the last one was in my bed, and I found it after I'd slept on it, and it said "You're the best mom in the world and I love you.") or Kyle shooting me a sign-language "I love you" from across the room or wrapping his little arms around my neck so tightly I wonder if my jaw will break. They have taught me how pure and insistent love can be and how very much my happiness depends on that bond.
My family. From my parents, who've been there for me through thick and thin and through wild cases of the dumbass - always letting me know they love me and always letting me know I can count on them. My brother, who looks out for me and helps me out more than can reasonably be expected from a young professional bachelor - and who understands that the reason I've never fixed him up with one of my friends is because I've never met a girl I'd consider good enough for my baby brother. My grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, lots of whom check up on this blog periodically because I'm no good at actually keeping in touch - It's a family I've always thought of as close-knit, and I'm grateful for that.
My boyfriend. Scott is someone who's been a friend of mine for close to 5 years, from the time he was just the big bald goofball who made me laugh every time he brought a patient in. As that friendship developed, I found him to be smart as well as funny, literate and articulate and sincerely a nice guy - and we realized we had a lot in common. A year and a half ago, Scott helped me rescue myself from a path I didn't need to travel, and helped me discover strengths I'd forgotten I had along the way. He loves me the way I am, accepts me for who I am and who I'm not, and patiently expects the same from me. I'm continually amazed by the way people are drawn to him, the way he interacts with everybody he meets - and not a day goes by that I don't learn something new from him. It's been an interesting road for us at times, fraught with speedbumps and errant baggage all along and sometimes winding and doubling back - but it's a journey we're making together and I'm confident we'll end up where we're supposed to. I love you, Beavis.
My friends. Over the past few years I've become more acutely aware of what my friends mean to me, and some of the situations I've faced have made quick work of sorting out the true from the not-so-much. Those true friends have stuck by my side, have offered advice and comfort, the right words and words I don't like but need to hear, hugs and help and shoulders to cry on and places to be when I didn't want to be alone, and have done so without judging or I-told-you-so'ing. They've kept me afloat and kept me from wallowing, and sometimes have wallowed with me when that was what I needed. They've listened, and given advice, and distracted me. They've laughed with me over silly things like parking lot sweepers and bad 80's songs and made-up words and overprotective dogs. They've drunk coffee and margaritas and barley tea and coffee-flavored Patron with me, watched movies with me, swapped text messages with me, held me, golfed with me, written with me, and reminded me how much I need them. Thank you all - I love you guys too.
My ex-husband. I'm thankful to Kevin for the wonderful years we spent together and for the amazing children we created. I'm thankful to him for the incredible father he is to them and for the efforts he continues to make toward parenting them jointly and cooperatively. And I'm thankful to his new family for giving him the happiness he deserves.
My health, my job, my home, my car: each day I realize that none of these things are givens, and I'm thankful I have all of them. I'm thankful for the freedom I have and the people who've given so much to make it that way, the people who've made sacrifices so I don't have to. I'm thankful for good books and beautiful pictures and opportunities to live life to the fullest.
May each and every one of you feel lucky this Thanksgiving day, and spend it with family and friends and full bellies.