Things I’m Grateful For

There are things in life that I’m grateful for almost every day. Things like a long, hot shower, a cold Diet Coke, the start of a new hockey season, the smell of fresh laundry and Ryan Adams playing loud on the stereo.

And then there are the things that actually matter. Things that — I’m embarrassed to admit — I rarely think about. Paradoxically, these things that I take for granted are the very things that I’m most truly and deeply grateful for: my family, my friends, my health, their health and our ability to take care of ourselves and one another.

As we approach the holiday season this year, I’m acutely aware that these things and these people are far more fragile and vulnerable than I like to admit. My father’s health is faltering. A woman who is very dear to me is suffering from a terminal, degenerative disease. A good friend of mine has lost his job. Another just learned that his daughter has been sexually abused.

It’s difficult to remain optimistic and thankful when coping with personal tragedy and sorrow. But it’s even more challenging to keep the faith in the face of large-scale natural disasters and crises. While I write this column, Hurricane Wilma is making its way toward already storm-weary Florida. There is mounting concern over a possible bird flu epidemic. And the U.S. is still engaged in a deadly and dangerous war in Iraq.

Is it just me, or does this year seems particularly troublesome? Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. Maybe I just have more stuff going on than usual. Maybe I’m just getting older. Whatever it is, this year I feel an usual amount of worry.

The good new is: I also feel more grateful. I’m learning to look at life through new — more thankful — eyes. And it’s definitely a change for the better.

I’ve hung photographs of my favorite people along the staircase in my house. Every morning, as I walk down the stairs, I think about the friends and family members who fill my life with love and laughter. And I’m grateful. I’ve started a new exercise routine and am trying to eat healthier. And when I think about all the amazing things my body can do, I’m grateful. I come to work, where each and every one of my colleagues is caring and thoughtful and fun. And I’m grateful.

Today, I feel especially grateful for Carolina Parent’s readers. You are busy people with busy lives, but you make time in your life for this magazine. The staff at Carolina Parent is thankful that you and your family trust and enjoy the work that we do. We appreciate your support and we value your feedback about our community and our magazine.

This holiday season, as you pause to give thanks for the people and blessings in your life, please know that we count YOU among the things we are grateful for. We hope that your family is safe and healthy. And we wish you a very happy Thanksgiving.