Thankful in 2016

Today is Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. Of course, I’ve always watched the Macy’s parade, especially loving the Broadway performances and the Radio City Rockettes. And then there’s the food. Because allllll the food.

But one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving is the fact that it forces us to slow down and really think about what we are grateful for. In this busy adult life that I’ve made for myself, it’s easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day and forget to take a step back and remind myself what’s great about my life. Thanksgiving is the perfect reminder we need, going in to the holiday season.

2016 was a hard year.

  • In May, my grandmother passed away. I lost my fiery, one-of-a-kind, independent grandmother. She was 93 years old, but her body failed long before her mind did, and that just doesn’t seem fair. I still think about her often, and my sadness from losing her hasn’t ebbed.
  • In August, our house flooded. Being homeless is HARD. Being homeless one month before your wedding is REALLY HARD. Being homeless in the first two months of marriage is REALLY REALLY HARD. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves and our relationship through this, but that knowledge hasn’t made it any easier.
  • In November, Donald Trump was elected President. No matter what side of the aisle you look at, most people agree that this isn’t best case scenario. It’s been tough seeing all the hate and mistrust that has come from this election cycle.

BUT. Despite all of the hardships and struggle that we have endured this year, there have been some bright spots. And today, I’m choosing to focus on the good that has come of this year (a recent change of heart, since Jeromy called me a “mopey zoo lion” yesterday…)

2016 is the year we were married, and for that, I will never be able to completely write off this year. Our wedding was perfect. It was incredible. I’ve written about it before, but its importance in our lives at that moment can’t be overstated. For one day, we weren’t homeless or lost or alone. We were surrounded by all of the people who lift us up and hope for the best for us. We laughed and pretended that there was no other thing going on in the world outside of us and this dance party. The honeymoon week that followed was relaxing and restorative and precisely what we needed to make it through the next few months (plus, all the Maine lobster). When I’m struggling to live with our reality, I look back on those pictures. That day was an awesome day, and I know we will have many more awesome days ahead of us.

This weekend, we are moving back into our home. Well, not really our home. A new, upgraded, remodeled home. We will be back in our bed, reunited with our kitten, and Arthur will have his doggie door back. I’ve been hesitant to really get excited about it, because it still doesn’t feel real. I can’t be more thankful for everyone who has gotten us to this point, from the coworkers and students who literally tore our home apart, to our generous family who are helping us rebuild, to my student’s dad who is quite literally putting our home back together. We are truly surrounded by an amazing community.

I am most grateful to Nick and Sam, our friends who let us in their home for the last three and a half months. Taking in two adults and a rambunctious pup definitely added a bit more chaos to their lives, but they have been so generous in their acceptance of us. It’s been a nice reality check living with a 3-4-5-6 month old (because we have been living with them for over half of Aiden’s life now), and I can credit Sam for helping me meet my Goodreads goal this year (she’s basically my book soulmate). We are ready to be back in our home, but we will definitely miss our roommates.

Sometimes, when life is crazy, it’s easy to forget all of the good things in it. Sometimes, the only way to remember is to make a list to remind yourself. I’m grateful that Thanksgiving comes around and reminds us to slow down and remember to be grateful.

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