You’ve probably seen the photo going around on social media, especially in 2017. It’s a guide to help you find something to be thankful for each day in November. After all, this is the month of Thanksgiving, so it has become traditional practice to practice such an exercise. I do usually come up with my own ideas, but this year I will follow this guide and share with all of you. Be sure to share yours in the comments, as well!
So the first in the #30DaysofThankfulness challenge is person. How do I choose one person for whom I am thankful?
I start with my parents. It may be a cliche choice, but there it is. My parents were absolutely amazing. Of course we didn’t always get along, but we did have a very close relationship. Not everybody is fortunate enough to have a good relationship with one parent, let alone both of them. Losing them was one of the worst experiences of my life.
My parents are the ones who got me involved in Montessori. They had just built their store and had my sister. I was the precocious toddler who was always in their way as they were trying to deal with customers and the new baby. Someone recommended the local Montessori program. Dad checked it out and fell in love. I started my career as a student. My mom got a part-time job there as bookkeeper and I helped out. When I was starting college in the new town where we moved, my mom was the one who noticed the ad in the paper for after school care help at the local Montessori school. Thus began my career as a Montessori educator, as I also ended up getting my training there. They supported me all the way through my career, well, as long as they were around to do so.
They taught me how to be a hard worker and to chase after my dreams. They taught me how to be a kind person, always taking care of others, as they adopted people for all kinds of holidays and life circumstances. Unconditional love was all over the place.
I also learned how to laugh my way out of horrible situations, how to ride life’s roller coasters, even when I am down, and so much about who I am today as a person. I don’t even know how to describe all that they did for me, and I miss them terribly.
My next person is my grandmother. When I was a toddler, my parents moved in with my grandparents for about a year while their new house and business were being built. Even after we moved out, my sister and I spent a lot of time over at Grandma’s house. AS the years went on, and even after I grew up and moved away, I still made visiting my grandmother a priority.
She taught me how to play all kinds of games. The best thing was, she was ruthless in her pursuit of first place in games like Uno and Sorry. She never sugarcoated the games for me, forcing me into learning how to be a gracious loser. But she also taught me strategies and tricks along the way.
Grandma’s greatest gift to me was a love of reading. I learned my alphabet as I was curled up with my grandfather watching Wheel of Fortune at night. My grandparents and my parents read to me a lot, but I was independently reading at the age of two. My mother never denied us books from Scholastic book orders, because we read and re-read those books. Grandma often made special trips with us to the library so that we could be exposed to even more of them. I still often have my nose stuck in a book or glued to my Kindle. And it was my grandmother who told me I needed to check out this new book called Harry Potter.
And finally, I am grateful for my sister. We have been through a lot together. We lost our grandmother eight years ago. Within the next eight months, our mother moved into a nursing home for Alzheimer’s and our father passed away. In the past three months (as of this writing), I have been hospitalized twice for two random and different reasons. In one month alone, we lost our mother, great aunt, and aunt. We live on opposite coasts, yet we still check in on each other on occasion. In fact, the day after I got out of the hospital this last time, my sister happened to be in town visiting. We managed to get together twice for food and beverages while she was here. Even when she was hanging out with friends, it was just comforting to know that she was in town.
My sister was my first child playmate. I learned a lot about babies as I helped to take care of her. I learned how to pick on someone and how to stand up to someone. She has been my partner in crime and one of my biggest antagonists. Going through what we did with our parents, she was the good business-like person and I could do the nurturing and emotional side. She is more organized in that way, and I have my own strengths. She’s also always there for me when I need her to be.
So there you go – my family. Who is the person for whom you are most thankful? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to follow along for the rest of the challenge.