Thursday, November 26, 2009

Things To Be Thankful For...

It's Thanksgiving morning and I've been reflecting on all I have to be thankful for. What better way to share it than via blog? Here goes:

1. My Husband - aka The Easiest Guy In The World To Please

I've just received the nod for Wife Of The Year 2009. Why, you ask? Well, I threw a couple of Grands cinnamon rolls on a baking tray, heated them up, iced them, and served them to my husband. I'm thankful that he's easy to please, because I feel as if I often have little to offer. Cooking? Well, I'm great if you don't mind leftovers. Early on in the course of this disease, I learned that my "energy bank" (thanks for coining the term, NMSS) was most full on Sunday afternoons. So what I do is make up a bunch of food and store it for the week. My son adheres to a gluten/dairy free diet, which translates to cooking everything. Not like I can throw a Chef Boyardee in his lunchbox or swing through McD's. He's grown up on leftovers. He's also used to a house that's um...lived in? I keep up with the laundry, the grocery shopping, and well...that might be about it. I might swish a toilet brush around the bowl here and there, but my house looks quite different now than 1978ish, like Mom with the perfect rows of lines the sweeper made in the carpet. Everything smelled like Pledge and Comet. 2009? No. Future wife to my son? You can thank me later for setting the bar...low.

2. My Parents

They're just awesome and that's all I can say to sum them up. It's funny how life comes full circle. Things I do with my kids today are things I did with Mom when I was their age. Things my kids do with Dad are things my Grandpop did with me. I'm also blessed to still have my grandmother. When I was a little girl, I remember Mom and I going to her house for a cup of tea each week.

3. My Mommom

If you're picturing a frail, pinky out, tea drinking grandmother...don't. My Mommom? Yeah, she drove a '72 Corvette with t-tops that displayed a license plate frame, proclaiming "Wrap Your Ass In Fiberglass". She wore stiletto heels, and won some sort of award for Best Bartender. She tended at very upscale dining establishments and knew all the important folks in town. There was one mansion in our a golf course. Mommom tended all their private parties. Today, she's not much different. The Vette is now a convertible Chrysler, the stiletto heels? She still tries to wear them, but it's difficult.

Back when I was in college, she owned a bar. Oh yes, can you see how that would've been the best thing ever? College kid...coolest grandmother ever owns...a bar? Thank you, Lord, for making me a new creation! Anyway, the biggest part of her business was food. No one, and I mean NO ONE, cooks like my Mommom. She wanted a deep fryer so that we didn't have to broil our foods in the tiny oven. She and I argued tremendously over that deep fryer. One night, Dad called to say that Mommom was en route to the hospital. When I arrived, I was told that only 2 of us at a time were allowed in. But then, they called the entire family in, as they didn't feel she would survive the terrible accident she incurred from the deep fryer. As the rest of the family left the hospital room, I stayed. I didn't think she'd really know I was there. I laid my head down on her and cried, telling her I wished it had happened to me. She opened her eyes wide and said, "now THAT would've killed me, but not this". She also had a choice comment for the doctor she overheard as saying, "at her age, I don't really think...". It was something like, " 'F' him!". I knew then and there she'd make it! She spent 31 days in the burn unit and endured several surgeries to reconstruct her foot, as well as grafting to her legs. She used to say, as she'd raise her foot, "I can tell people to kiss my...!" The skin used on her foot during the surgeries was grafted from her backside. Her recovery was quite brutal and lengthy. It's not without lingering discomfort during seasonal changes, and she must be careful about sun exposure. Tough to do, considering she is a former model who built a sun deck on the roof of her home, with her own hands back in the 70s, where she would brown to perfection. But by the grace of God, I still have my Mommom. She still cooks the entire Thanksgiving dinner from beginning to end, and that food is incredible!

4. My Kids

Plainly stated, they are my entire being. Though I'm completely biased, I feel that they are the best kids ever. They're brilliant, considerate, friendly, compassionate, and beautiful inside and out. They already know what it means to live for Christ and often surprise me with the ways in which they handle everyday situations that come their way. Nothing means more to me than they do.

5. My Friends/Family

I seriously have the best friends and family. They know I've had a change in employment and what that change meant to our finances. I didn't even have to tell them, because that's not the way I roll anyhow. It's nothing for me to receive pots of homemade soup, a surprise card in my mailbox with a couple bucks in it, bags of clothing for my kids, or...most recently, the blessing of a television to replace our faulty one. My friends are such that, when they upgrade their personal items, they would rather bless us with the previous good than profit from it. It's been a very hard transition for me to go from the one in a position of abundance years ago, blessing my friends where I could - to break even point - to "uh oh". God has a way of humbling me that's about as comfortable as if I'd try to stuff myself back into a pair of Z Cavaricci pants from the 80s. But my friends? They've taught me that there's no room for pride, just like the Bible teachers. That we're all here in this crazy place for a reason and that reason is to bless one another. I give thanks for my friends/family on a daily basis and pray that God reward them richly. 60" flat screens with Bose surround sound systems for all of them in their heavenly mansions, that's what I pray for! It's rare to know such a large group of completely selfless people. I'm just that blessed.

6. My Pets

We have 4 dogs and 4 cats. They usually just kind of do their thing and are an unnoticed part of the amoeba that is our family. But...they have this uncanny gift of knowing when I'm not feeling my best. If it's been a day where I push to make it through work, drive home barely awake, shuffle into the house, drop the purse and briefcase to the floor, climb the stairs one by one, throw my work clothes to the floor, drag one of my husband's t-shirts over my head, and fall into bed...I soon have 16 eyes focused on me. Nothing says, "I'm here for ya" like a warm Basset Hound situating himself tight to your side as you allow yourself to melt into your fluffy, pillow top mattress. Everyone else just kind of finds a spot on or near the bed. It's a collective, "we got this", and I love it.

7. My Bosses

Lots of people with ms wonder whether or not they should disclose their condition to management. I didn't have to debate that with this job, because everyone I work with knew me for years prior to hire. I now work at the private Christian school my kids have attended since 2003. My condition became obvious way back when my kids were consistently late for school, or didn't make it at all. I went through some times where my eyes didn't show up. Since I wouldn't drive my kids to school with poor vision, we just stayed here. I reluctantly informed their teachers and administrators that I wasn't trying to rebel, I was really just exercising good judgement. So it's not a secret. What's best about them is, they keep it tucked away and don't bring it up. Once in awhile, if I'm looking a hot mess, they will ask if I'm feeling alright. They pray for me. They treat me like anyone else, not like someone with a condition. It's comforting to not have to wonder if there's some sort of underlying scheme to replace me, or that they're waiting for me to slip up, or that I'll be forced out as I was in my corporate job when they learned of my diagnosis.

8. The Little Things

Aren't they the best? I don't even like referring to them as "little things", because they mean so much. Stuff like coffee nights with friends while our daughters learn how to kick unruly boys' teeth in...I mean...take karate lessons, and my son plays chess with a Hungarian Chess Master. Or watching 4+ hours of dek hockey with a rowdy group of girlfriends as our sons play their hearts out. Or the hugs I get from the kindergartners at work in the lunchroom, where I come away with tiny ketchup handprints on my nice dress shirt. Or how about an excellent cup of coffee, extra sugar/extra cream? Or the look of my car after my kids wash it for me, where it's got 3 to 5 wavy clean spots and the rest is still dirty. And the seat warmers it's equipped with, as well as power liftgate that's so handy for grocery loading...especially because I'm short and my vertical jump isn't what it used to be, so closing it becomes an athletic event. The times my son refers to me as, "best mommy ever". The way my daughter waves good bye to me from the bus until we're out of one another's line of sight. The fact that I can see her...clearly...out of both I stand upright...without swaying...while hearing...out of both son tell me I'm the best mommy ever. Thank you, Lord.

9. My Health

Oh yes, I said it. I'm thankful for this screwy condition. While I've always been an appreciative sort of person, it has helped me to appreciate everything a whole lot more than I would have if ms weren't part of my life.

10. God

Best for last. I am most thankful for God and the way He has worked in my life. There's this really cool preacher on tv, Bishop TD Jakes, who says, "there is glory in your story". Well, I hope that's something people can say about me someday. And not because I want the glory, but because I somehow glorified God. Thankfully, God met me where I was at. Years ago, I didn't know that was the way He rolled. I felt like I had to win acceptance. That’s religion. Now I know that we don't earn anything from God, it's given to us through grace. Yeah, we have to try to live right, but ultimately, it's all a gift. And I, for one, am thankful for that! Kinda takes the pressure off, ya know?

I wish you all a most blessed Thanksgiving!

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