The week before Thanksgiving, I was in a HomeGoods store, pushing my grandson in a cart, looking for a roast pan small enough to fit my mini-oven, when a woman approached me and said: “You are so lucky.” A few minutes later, in another part of the stores, a second woman told me the same thing. As I checked out, the cashier asked me how old my grandson was, then she sighed and said: “You don’t know how fortunate you are to spend so much time with him.” As I scurried through the lists of things that needed to be done by Christmas, I thought about that morning. And even now, after the whirlwind of the holidays and my second daughter’s marriage, I find myself reflecting on my good fortune in life. So often I find that it is easier to look at the negatives rather than focus on the positives. I get weighed down by what isn’t done, what I can’t have that I forget what I have accomplished, what I do have.
I am a fortunate woman. I have a husband who loves me (even though sometimes I am extremely difficult). After being together for thirty-seven years, each of us knows what the other will order at a restaurant yet he still surprises me. I wake up in the morning and smile because he is there.
I have three unique and talented daughters. Each one has a special place in my heart. I am proud of who they are and what they have accomplished. Each one has finished college. Each one is employed. The oldest one is determined, relentless in her pursuit of knowledge and what is right, yet caring. (I love our book chats.) The second one is outgoing, making friends wherever she goes, and impressively organized. (Hiking with you is always fun.) The third one is kind and easy-going, willing to share whatever she has with others. (You are the only woman I can tolerate in my kitchen.) Two of my daughters have married people who are share their interests and are ready for adventure. My daughter in law and son in law complement our family. I am lucky to have such wonderful children.
I am lucky that both my parents are healthy and independent, living their own lives and enjoying their activities.
I am blessed with a mother in law who treats me as if I were her own daughter and a sister in law that I can count among my close friends.
I have siblings that I can rely on: sisters I can call when I need a shoulder to cry on; brothers who will help me when I need them. And my siblings have married wonderful people whose company I enjoy. We have great parties. And I can’t even begin to say how exceptional my nieces and nephews are . . .
I have absolutely the cutest grandson in the universe. He is so smart and adorable. Every day he surprises me with something new. I can’t imagine a world without him.
I have been blessed by great friends and wonderful neighbors. Whenever I am down, I know someone is just a phone call or a text message away—ready to hold my hand and tell me that things are going to be all right. (I miss my So Cal exercise buddies—I’m just not motivated without you– and my former work colleagues—every time I read an education article, I want to call one of you.) Then there are my friends from college, my friends from mommy classes, women who got me through some difficult times and keep in touch anyway. And I can’t say enough about friends who are (or have been) my neighbors. The folks on our street in Southern California rallied together after the 1994 Northridge earthquake and stayed together. I know I’ll always have a home there. My neighbors in Connecticut surprised us by clearing our driveway of snow while we were in sunny and warm California. We have been fortunate to live in friendly neighborhoods with wonderful people.
I have four of the best dogs in the world, which is quite an accomplishment since all of them are headstrong, noisy, and hard to train breeds. And they love me unconditionally. (Those cats lurking in my house—they’re not mine.)
I do not want for material things. I have a warm, comfortable house full of food.
Some days I may wish I had taken a different road, had a different life, but in reality, I am where I am supposed to be. I cannot even begin to count all my blessings. I am a fortunate woman.
I wish all my readers a happy and propitious New Year’s.