Today is a special day. It is unquestionably my favorite holiday. Today, we are supposed to stop and reflect and give thanks.
But what if we were grateful every day? What if we stopped at least once a day to reflect on the gifts of our lives? Wouldn’t we be happier people? If we stopped complaining about what we don’t have and reveled in what we do have? If we stopped looking for something else to make us happy and realized that we have all that we need to make us happy?
This has been a year of incredible highs and incredible lows. From finding out that we were expecting our third child and all the joy and excitement that came with that to finding out that there was something wrong on the ultrasound and then receiving the diagnosis that brought our world crashing down.
It is hard. It is so hard some days to see the joy. It is so hard to hold onto hope. It is so hard to just get up and do the every day tasks because I’m afraid. It is hard to be thankful when sometimes I feel so cheated.
But gratitude fills my heart today, warms my home, reminds me to look for the beauty and wonder every single day, not just on the last Thursday in November.
Today, James is sick with a cold…again. We decided as a result to cancel our holiday plans to attempt a trip over the mountain to Tennessee. Jim and I were devastated, because we both love Thanksgiving. And then we thought, well …why not invite our family here… at least see if it’s an option?
And without a second’s pause, Jim’s family packed up the turkey dinner and drove here for the day. The weather was spectacular enough to eat outside, and despite the forest fires, the air was fairly clear. It was a flawless fall day filled with family. James was held by his aunts, uncles, great aunt, and grandparents. Our home brimmed with love.
It gave me pause. It helped me to remember that no matter how hard the road that we must tread becomes, we have love. We have joy. We have family to surround us – not just Jim’s but mine as well, to bear us up when we might otherwise sink. We are never alone, and we are never unloved. Our family dropped everything that they’d planned and drove to our small house with a full meal so that we weren’t alone on our favorite holiday. People have opened their purses and poured out donations to help while I am only working part time. We have twice a month house cleaning thanks to the generosity of others. My coworkers and colleagues care about James, about us, and ask about him frequently. They offer to help whenever they can. My boss has been supportive in giving me the time off I need while still keeping a job for me.
Gratitude shouldn’t be limited to one day a year. I am truly lucky – and trisomy 18 can’t take that away from me, from James, from my family. Yes, there are dark times ahead. I know they are coming. But there will still be love, still be joy, still be that safety net surrounding and embracing us so that we never slip under.
Happy Thanksgiving and we love you all, The Ashes.