Fall has finally settled in with the last of the leaves relinquishing their hold on now bare branches, and the birds’ frenzied feedings have slowed.  This weekend was a good one to remain curled up under the comforter, drink rich black coffee, and get caught up on the pile of magazines beside my bed.  I asked my 3rd graders last week to write about their most favorite holiday in an essay (albiet brief at this stage) and we have been talking about what we are thankful for.  There are countless admonitions of gratitude on social media and in the magazines I read.  I think the one I loved the best was written by one of my students who wrote, “I am thankful for me.”  At first I was surprised, but then the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this was a truly wonderful sentiment about how this person feels about herself.  We spend much of our lives comparing our worth to others, whether in the area of body types, facial features, possessions, partners….so many categories that it is a wonder that we can get out of bed in the morning.  I have come to the realization that, although I do have good genes, that both the laugh and worry lines are appearing, my small breasts of which I once was so proud of (because I just knew they wouldn’t droop), have indeed dropped and I shudder every time I look in a mirror at my posterior and padding around what was once a rib cage.  I have the heart of a wild and young woman, dancing the last dance, boundless energy and handsome men who still had their hair holding my hand.  Facing my middle age woes and regrets, I have to remember what I am thankful for.  So here goes………..

I am thankful that all the beautiful birds keep me company outside my windows while I study. I am grateful to my buddy, Hoover, who gently uses his paw on my cheek to wake me up each morning if I shut off the alarm. I am humbled by the magnificent two men I have helped raise, and for their ever present love in my life.  I am thankful that my heart has pounded with excitement and my knees have gone weak over not one, but two men I have loved in my lifetime.  I am thankful that I had the opportunity to have a wonderful father role model in my teenage years when my Mom remarried, and I cannot even begin to count all the ways that I am thankful I have a wonderful Mom.  She’s a straight shooter, full of common sense, and a wild twinkle in her eye that I know more than one of us has inherited.  It feels good to be cared about and appreciated by friends as they add so much to my world.  I could go on and on but the way I see it is that when our eyes open onto a new day, our vision should recognize and appreciate even the smallest of things that continue to fill our cups with joy.