Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday. Religious differences are thrown out the window and families sit down to eat and spend time together. The leaves have all turned beautiful Autumn colors by the time thanksgiving rolls around, and my birthday has always fallen within a week of thanksgiving. Maybe I’m just trying to appreciate that this may be the last thanksgiving we have in New York for a while.
As I’ve gotten older, each Thanksgiving has held a little more meaning. The longer I’ve been around the more I appreciate being here. Sort of like skiing. As a kid, I thought I was invincible, trying to get down the mountain quickly as possible. Black diamond? No problem. Now that I’m an adult with a higher center of gravity, I’m much more careful on the slopes, aware that one false move could get me seriously hurt. There’s certainly an element of fear and realism in adult me that didn’t exist with child me, but there’s also a sense of gratefulness and awareness of being that didn’t exist before.
This is the first thanksgiving since my mastectomy . That surgery and process completely changed my life. Maybe it’s cognitive dissonance talking, but I think it’s changed my life for the better. I don’t usually do it, but this year I have decided to make a list of what I’m thankful for.
I have a brilliant, funny, considerate, and all around fantastic best friend, who also happens to be my husband. I hope other women are as lucky as I feel in that department. He makes me better in every way and I love him with every piece of my being. He keeps me on my toes, cheers me up when I’m down, and is a calm force of rationale when things go wrong. I am thankful to have found him, and grateful each day that we get to spend together. Also he’s tall and redheaded which makes finding him in a crowd very easy.
It hasn’t always been easy. 2 weeks in I was wondering what we had gotten ourselves into with Bea. She would cry and get destructive when alone, she paced at night, she drooled in the car out of stress, she was afraid of her own shadow, and would react when other dogs got too close to her face. With some training, socialization and routine, Bea has blossomed into the perfect dog for us. She is relaxed in our house, loves car rides, play bows with other dogs, and is an adorable cuddlebug. She will probably always be shy and timid and there is still some training to be done - but we have all come a long way. It’s amazing what love and structure can do for a dog that was neglected for so many years. I got the following message from my dog walker when I told him we were moving :
…you are very cool owners and Bea has come a long way. Despite her stumpy little frame, Bea has always kept up well in group walks. And honestly I’ve been feeling a lot more comfortable with her around other dogs. Last week she had a big goofy dog get in her face and she didn’t react. I haven’t had a single issue with her in months…definite improvement. You’re a solid owner and I don’t say that unless I mean it…
That melted my heart. To have an impartial party notice how far Bea has come meant the world to me. Also – there are moments like this that make everything worth it:
The wonderful staff and doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering took away my risk of breast cancer and made me feel whole again. They gave me my life back in ways I didn’t know I had lost. I am very grateful to have had 3 successful surgeries and thankful that the advances in plastic surgery made my decision that much easier. BRCA has been a wild roller coaster of emotions but I’ve come out the other side so much more fulfilled. It can only get better from here.
It’s so much easier to focus on the negative instead of all the great things we have going on. All it takes is a little turkey and good company to make the good outshine any hardship. What are you thankful for?