This month for me is all about feeling thankful and reflecting on my blessings.
It begins with my anniversary on the 8th and this year I celebrated 6 wonderful years of marriage. By wonderful I mean real and honest and loving. When looking at the cards for anniversary, I noticed a trend. They were all like “we’ve been through ups and downs, but I’m so happy to have you.” Or “in good times and bad, we’re sticking together.” I started thinking, wow, these cards don’t paint a very happy picture of marriage. But I guess it’s true.
After the rose petals settle and birdseed is swept away, marriage is pretty much a roller coaster. It has its peaks and valleys. Some are dark but some are bright. Some days I am annoyed with my partner and need my space and others, I cannot wait to kiss him, hold him, share my day and just see his smile. But I wondered if the cards should be next to the wedding cards, in case someone grabbed one by mistake and began contemplating marriage.
The first year definitely is an adjustment and if you’re lucky to have a few years without kids, that DINK period is magnificent. DINK (dual-income, no kid) feels like the best time in the world to have all the money you could ever want (because once you have kids that money disappears), time to spend on each other, weekends to sleep in or travel, late nights to conversate, time to eat meals. It’ such a wonderful, fabulous time to enjoy your marriage.
Then kids enter the picture and it’s a different kind of wonderful. Time is long-gone, as is money, but there is a new level of bliss unimagined during the DINK period. It’s first-smiles and silly songs and exhaustion that is almost comical. So this November, I celebrate six years of a real marriage that is strong and true, and not going anywhere. I will fight to the death for it and I put my husband and our marriage at the highest of my priorities. This year we spent the day with our kids and afterward, grilled steaks and made a bonfire. We took the monitor outside and sat in our backyard listening to music, enjoying some beers, waxing poetic on our 10 years together and soaking in the fall weather. It wasn’t a fancy night but was still a few hours of uninterrupted time together.
It’s also my birthday in November and I’m thankful to be turning 37. Of course, no one likes getting older after say, 21, but I’m glad to have survived another year with no major scares or scars. I had a son this year so that is very monumental, and throughout my pregnancy they reminded me of my “advanced maternal age” and what that could mean to a baby. You would think I was 75 trying to get pregnant, not 36. But I am blessed and thankful to be another year older, a few pounds thinner, no real illnesses and no gray hairs…yet.
November is also Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays. For most of my Thanksgivings I went to Chattanooga. My aunt and uncle lived on top of a mountain that had this super windy road to get there. There was a UFO-looking house at one of the curves I always enjoyed. We rarely spent any holidays at home in SC because all of our family lives in Tennessee. Thanksgiving at my aunt’s house was always enjoyable because of the games we’d play and great food. She would give a prize to whoever could count the Christmas ornaments on her tree and come the closest. You see, this tree was probably at least 12 feet tall. It stayed up year-round due to her love for Christmas, and seemed to have hundreds of ornaments on it. I don’t think anyone ever knew exactly how many were on the tree, but her. I now know it was probably a way to keep us kids and cousins occupied while the adults made food. But I loved looking at all the nativity scenes in her house, the bathroom that had a window to the living room in it, the piano in the kitchen, the bedroom with Time magazine covers as wallpaper, the Barry Manilow room, her chocolate truffle dessert and so on and so forth. My aunt has since passed away from ALS and I must say I miss her cheery disposition, her one-of-a-kind personality, her big red and green (Christmas of course) Suburban and her platinum blonde hair. She made my Thanksgivings memorable for sure.
Now though, we celebrate by taking turns with my husband’s family and my own and it’s enjoyable, but of course, I miss the trips to Chattanooga as a kid and having that big celebration.
In the month of counting blessings though, it is easy for me to feel my cup overfloweth. I have two kids who amaze me daily. One son is only 2.5 months but I’m already in love with his smile. My oldest son is one of my best friends. At three years old, he can make me happy like no one else can and his kisses and hugs are my favorite thing.
I am thankful for a beautiful home that may not always be clean or kept up with the most up-to-date furnishings. It is definitely a work in progress, one room at a time. But it is our family home and will be for years to come. We bought it with kids in mind and the 1-acre backyard with a pool and swing and workshop is going to hold lots of memories for the boys and us.
I am happy to have a job as a writer and communications specialist for a prestigious University. Clemson is now ranked 20th in the nation among public schools and it challenges me daily. I get to work with incredible students who are interested in learning how to write and be in the communications field. It is rewarding to know that others look to me for guidance because I still sometimes wonder if what I’m doing really makes a difference.
I am blessed beyond compare. MYy family all has their health.
My grandmother has beat cancer three times and my other grandmother just moved nearby. I’m excited to have her close for the remainder of her years.
I’m also thankful for my friends. I may not see them or talk to them as much, and some may be coming or going, but there are a handful out there across the country I know I can count on. There are people who can make me laugh and watch me cry and make me feel better. I hope I do the same for them.
And lastly I am thankful to be in a relationship with God, who watches over me, protects me, listens to me and guides me.
P.S. If you haven’t heard the Acoustic Syndicate song, November, I recommend it. Hence the title of my post!