Thursday, November 22, 2007

Than ks, Everyone!

Jay Leno just came on the tv here - yes, it's a re-run but that's ok too. I like his show and often do enjoy the re-runs just as much as seeing it fresh each day.

It's taken me all day today to get through reading my faves on my blog reading circuit. Why so long? Several interruptions to cook this, do that, eat dinner, read a bit to allow the main course to digest somewhat and then enjoy dessert. After that - a long - very long - nap!

I decided earlier this evening though that before the day ended I would do a post - this one - to thank everyone who has been posting throughout the past month on things they are thankful for each day. It's been very much an eye-opening experience for me as I thought about many things - remembered a lot of events in my life as well and even came to what might be considered as "astute" realizations in the process about myself, my kids, my extended family, friends and acquaintances.

One thing is I don't give thanks near enough for the things in my life that really matter.

Although I post frequently about my little Princess Maya and her baby brother, Kurtis -and I'm sure you all know, understand how much I love those two -as well as their older cousin, Alex - my ten-year-old grandson - I've only ever once I think stated out-and-out how thankful I am to have these three children in my life today. I talk often too about both my daughters - especially Mandy, since she and her family and I live together -and of course, my "favorite son" -but do I ever really put it in words, in writing, how thankful I am for having those three hooligans? I suppose in some ways it comes through to at least some extent how much I love my children, my grandchildren -but trying to find the words to adequately express those feelings is something really difficult to do. Not that it is that hard to say it here or even to each of them - but that those words simply do not do justice to the way I feel deep down inside about them. One of my favorite bloggers, Patois, in her post today titled "Grateful" pretty much sums up what happens to me if I try to put my feelings really into words about my children, my grandchildren. Yes, the words escape me - always leaving me searching for a better one to use -to explain the feelings I have for them. So the best I can do then I suppose is to simply say I LOVE EACH OF YOU -so very much, and I am now, have always been, so grateful, so thankful, for each one of you and the day each of you entered into my life. I can not imagine how my life would be if I'd never had any of my three children, if they hadn't given me the three fantastic grandkids I now have, and I can't -nor do I want to - imagine how terrible, how dreary, how bland, how sad - my life would be if ever there were a time when any of these would no longer be with me, to love, cherish, adore, pick on too and harass, day-by-day-by day!

I'm so thankful too for those who were responsible for bringing me into the world -my parents - their parents as well too. I never knew my Dad, nor his father either, and I don't remember my Dad's mother as she died when I was less than three years of age. My Mom and I for many years had such a confrontational relationship much of the time, it has taken me until really the past 5-10 years to grasp how much we both did really care for each other but due to circumstances that then were beyond our control (neither of us would ever admit to what bad things each of us brought to that table, ya know) we never expressed those feelings - the good ones - to each other. So, if you have even the least bit of a not-so-hot relationship now with your parents and if there is any way AT ALL you can find some way, no matter how small it may be or seem to be, to let your parents know you are thankful for ANYTHING they did for you, then find a way to tell them that before it is too late. Even if the saying of it doesn't seem to mend or heal the relationship now, you will have that in your mind later and know at least you took a shot at the expression of thankfulness to the parent. It's a hard job to parent - always flying by the seat of your pants, ya know -Dr. Spock and his guidelines in parenting still only goes so far and much of the territory there is a great unknown.

I'm so thankful too though that growing up, I was so fortunate to live with my Mom's parents -who I loved very much. Not to detract from the love I had for my Grandmother, as she did much for me and frequently too over the years, but my Grandfather - I adored him, absolutely, without a doubt, adored, worshiped him! He was my hero, my idol -even in the last years of his life when his mind often was far off in another land, or space, he was just a fantastic man. Over the last so many years, in talking about our ancestry, I find some of my cousins were in fear of him - felt he was rather standoffish, even maybe mean and hearing them say things like that I was really surprised because I never felt that way about him -not ever! He taught me so many little things - and some big things too -he's the person who taught me to read well before I started school and gave me the love I have for books, for reading, for history as well. Whatever he had in his mind as a tenet, seemed to become mine too. He was a strong man in so many ways - a good man, a very smart man who loved his family but I think often they weren't aware of it because he was also a man of few words unless you wanted to talk coal mines, work, gardening, flowers or perhaps, discuss what his life was like in Sweden before he came to this country. But something about him, the way he reacted and responded to me, I never questioned his love for me - I KNEW it was there!

Growing up, I was fortunate to have aunts, uncles and cousins on both sides of my family but it was my Mom's side that I grew up knowing the best. And they were that for me too - THE BEST! I knew some of my cousins, most of my aunts and uncles on my Dad's side but growing up I didn't know them very well -not like the other side of my family. I do regret that I didn't have the same closeness with all of them as I had with the rest of my extended family. But for what I did have, I am so very thankful. As I've grown older, I have become much closer to some of those cousins on my Dad's side, as have my kids, which is good and positive and for that, I am very thankful.

I think back too though and remember my great-aunts and uncles -on my Mom's side - that I knew growing up and that too really gives me something extra special I had in my life and for which I am and always will be very thankful. The knowledge I received from those people - reinforced all the love of history that my Grandpa had already bestowed on me.

I've always believed I was blessed to have grown up here and to have had the great neighbors I had when I was a kid. There were a good many other kids on this street back then and all the other parents along here treated all the kids like they did their own. Disciplined whoever got out of line along with their own kids, fed us, loved us, protected us too. Therefore, since Hilary wrote her book, "It Takes a Village" I was already long a believer in that theory of life. Today, only one lady who was among those of my "surrogate" parents back then is still living - a spry, feisty little lady now I think 85 -still going very strong although she sold her home here two years ago and now lives in a retirement condo about 20 miles from here. All but her are now gone. My kids had some of those same people as "surrogate" grandparents too when they were growing up as well -two couples - my kids grew up referring to one couple as "Little grandma and little grandpa" and to the other couple, they called them "Grammie" and "Pap." They were very much like grandparents to my kids too as my two youngest were very small when my Mom died and their dad's parents lived in Illinois so they barely even knew them.

I am so very fortunate too in that I have friends here along this street - neighbors - some I've known my entire life, others are relative new comers - only been here 20-30 years now ya know. But I'm very thankful for the most part, my neighbors here are all very nice, good people, good friends, thoughtful, caring, folks. Call it luck maybe but whatever, I'm still really thankful they're here.

Other friends I've made over the years - many from high school days that I am still close to -others I've met through work either years ago in the D.C. area, some are now retired truckers I came to know back when I was a waitress and so on. All of them darned good friends -none that I would trade for all the tea in China and you better believe I'm very thankful I made their acquaintances too!

I'm thankful I have this house - old as it is (My grandparents built it in 1903) -it's had a lot of work done on it, still needs a lot more too -don't all houses come with needs like that though -and for the memories that this house holds it transforms it from just being an old house into a home. I'm not always thankful that we have a mortgage on the place -one that it is highly unlikely I will live long enough to see it paid off - but then again, the benefit there will be to my daughter and she and the son-in-law will then own it free and clear. So the fact there is such a thing as mortgage insurance - gives me cause to be thankful for that item too ya know!

I have a vehicle - not a new one, but it's decent enough, runs well for me anyway and no payment owing on it - yeah, I'm damned thankful for that small favor!

We have a furnace in this old barn of a house that I had put in new two years ago - so far, it runs extremely well and hopefully, it will last a good long time too. Now, as long as we can garner enough cash up to cover the cost of the oil to make it heat the house and our hot water supply, for that, I will be doubly thankful! We have electricity too - and no, although some of my old trucker friends used to say it had to be "piped in here" cause we live so far back in the hills - also have tv cable, internet connectivity - now for that latter one there I am REALLY grateful, thankful even if it is the darned slow dial-up service. One of these days - keep telling myself that ya know.

We're blessed in that we have more than enough food to eat too. I no longer use the line to my grandkids that I heard or that I used with my kids though - "People in China are starving, so eat and be thankful you have what's here to eat today." Although growing up, my Mom, grandparents and I were far from rich, we never did without food nor did my kids and the grandkids aren't going hungry now either. I understood as a kid though the concept my Mom and Grandparents were trying to teach me about food; I think my kids understood it too. And what is sad today is that so many people right here in this great land of plenty of ours many, many people today DON'T have near enough to eat. While I am quite thankful I am not in that group -at least so far - I would love to see things done that would assure people across the country and around the world that they would not have to deal with issues like starvation today or ever. Now that would truly be something for which each of us could and should be thankful, don't 'cha think?

I'm thankful I've achieved what I have in life. I have never come near to doing what I would liked to do - have a nice job, earn a really good living, etc., but I've enjoyed the majority of the ride to the point where I am today. Even for the down sides of life, if you look at them, kind of pull it apart and survey it closely, it can even show things for which we can actually be thankful. Maybe not right at the moment, but later in retrospect -things come through in a clearer light ya know.

I'm thankful most of the time I have a sense of humor. Don't tick me off though! But even then, I try -really I do - to regain a different outlook on whatever is offending me. I try not to hold grudges too. I really am very thankful for the most part I can usually achieve that too.

I'm thankful I can still see, hear, touch, feel, walk too. Some days those things don't operate as well as they once did but so far, they're all still pretty much functioning -yep, for that too I'm thankful.

I've already stated several times in the past couple of weeks some of the things we often take foregranted here - many of the freedoms bestowed on us by those wise men who sat down and wrote our Bill of Rights, our Constitution, laws of the land, so many years ago -I am still, indeed, very thankful all the time for each of those things as laid out in those important papers. I will be even more thankful if we could be assured of having politicians in charge of these things who will oversee to running this country in a wise, diligent manner - uncorrupted by the glory of office or the taint of getting rich and forgetting about the many who labor long and hard now - and over the two plus centuries this country has been operating to see that we continue to be a leader without becoming tyrants to others at the same time. What works for our country, the culture we have developed here, while it may seem to us to be the very best thing since sliced bread, may not be a great fit in another culture, another land and we need to remember not to be quite so pushy about those things as maybe we have been a time or two in the past. Be thankful for the system we have, be thankful we can make changes occur too if need be (your vote, your voice works best for that ya know) but we all do need to show our thankfulness for the bounty we do have here - well, most of the time!

I'm thankful too for the mess and clutter in this old house - toys scattered, clothes strewn about too -not for the appearance but that those things are here and available to the grandkids -and the rest of the family - and yes, even to me!

I'm thankful I can talk, speak, write, voice my feelings, my concerns, openly without fear of retribution. I would be even more thankful too if I can ever master the art of NOT opening mouth and inserting foot much of the time though. Still working on that one, Mom - but at least I am trying ya know!

I'm thankful that I received the education I got in elementary and high school and also, that even though it took me a long time to figure out how to get there, I DID make my way on to college and even achieved something my Mom never figured I would have the fortitude or the follow-through to accomplish when I graduated from college -from the great university over the mountain from me - Penn State! Yep! Better believe I am very grateful, very thankful, for having been able to do that. Education, once received, whether you actually utilize the full extent of it or not is still an entity that no one can steal from you! Time, health and the likes may rob you of the ability to use it ultimately but unless that happens, it is yours to use as you like.

And to all my great friends I have found in this past year through blogging - thanks to each and every one of you, my readers, for coming back, reading more, sometimes some will even comment too. That I'd be thankful if more would stop and say hello but I'm still just thankful you stop and read from time to time what I rattle on about, over and over!

And now, I'm thankful tonight that I think the little boy here is finally about ready to give up the ghost cause I know I sure am and most likely I've put many readers here tonight to sleep already with this post! But hey - thanks for at least coming by today!

Good night, readers one and all, whoever you are, where ever you are! Take care in your lives, live to the fullest without doing harm to others along the way.

Peace. Yeah, that says a whole lot there for me!


Michelle | Bleeding Espresso said...

What an awesome thanks post! It's been so wonderful doing the 30 days project that I just may have to keep it going. Turns out it's not hard to find something every day that I'm thankful for, and it never hurts to remind myself of that.

I'm thankful to have stumbled across your blog however that happened :)

Theresa said...

Hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving #1 and ready to get started on number 2.

Doing the thankful post at times was hard, since although I am thankful for so much and although I am very mushy on the inside, I rarely let that show on the outside.

One of my friends once told me a compliment from me is valued since I don't give them that often- so I have tried to do better through my blogging.

Yes you are so right living in the United States with our freedom, and having food, we are lucky.

Just FYI: When you talk about your Maya, and the rest of your family, the love you have for them comes through!

Sandy Lender said...

I had Nigel do one of these thankful posts on Thanksgiving day because it seemed so appropriate. (I had a scary experience early that morning that required a happy little call to the police. Sigh.) So I look at this sort of thing and I realize, we're pretty doggone fortunate, folks like you and me, to have so much good stuff in our lives to look at and share with people around us. What a shame that it takes a national holiday to remind us to shout it to the world. We ought to be stopping by the nearest street corner or calling the local radio station and announcing "I am so blessed by God" on a daily basis. Of course, people would think we were nuts...which is a shame, too.


I'm thankful for my pet bird.

Take care, Sweetie.
I put Word of the Day back on the blog, Darlin', so stop by when you're feelin' creative.

Sandy L.

Linda Murphy said...

I loved your post. You have amazing love for your family and I really enjoyed reading about all of the basics that keep us happy and safe.

I am so thankful that I am doing the thankful posts, it gives me a lot to think about and remember.

I am thankful for you! Glad we are blogger buds.

Shelby said...

Very thankful post.. happy Thanksgiving to you!

Minnesotablue said...

As usual your post is beautiful. It is often times easy to forget how much we have and how thankful we should be

NOLADawn said...

What a wonderful post... you are so eloquent.
Kinda makes my little sentence seem a teensy bit slackerish =)
I'm thankful that my blogging buddies don't care!

Keith said...

What an awesome post Jeni! You are blessed beyond measure ya know? I am sure you know that. there are many today that could not eat, did not have a family to come home to, did not have anything. I am glad to know you and am blessed by your words. Just keep doing what you're doing and that is what is good in this world. Friends, family and God. Bless you my friend.

Patois42 said...

Just flat out beautiful. Your giving thanks for the big things and the little things is really wonderful.