The holidays always remind me that I live half a country away from my family. And I miss them. I totally miss them until it hurts. But somehow, miraculously, that makes me thankful. Thankful that I have a family so incredibly, wonderfully, amazing that I miss them so much.
And it makes me thankful for the family I have here. I married into a winning family. Seven Thanksgivings ago when I had issues with my flight home for Thanksgiving, I tagged along with my getting-kind-of-serious boyfriend and his family welcomed me immediately. I love that. I love that my kids have great aunts and second cousins that they’re excited to see. I love that I get to have two sisters instead of just the one I was born with [and that they’re both so great].
I’m also thankful for my church family. If I hadn’t experienced it myself, I wouldn’t believe selfless love could exist in such a large group. But I’m daily thankful for the way they’ve supported, loved, and even fed us the last five years. It really is like being surrounded by a huge family: so I can breathe.
And I can love where I live. Which is kind of saying a lot. I grew up on the shores of Florida. With fresh water in my backyard and salt water a short drive away. I finished high school on the Virginia peninsula. Still a short drive to the beach and surrounded by beauty and history. I spent a year of college in the Appalachians. I explored the Blue Ridge Mountains. I spent a couple more years in Upstate New York. And even through the 200 inches of snow and hours of shoveling it, I loved exploring places like Ithaca and the Adirondacks. Driving to “The City” just because.
But when I moved to Missouri it wasn’t because of the scenery [insert my MO-lifer husband scoffing]. Well, it’s true. In fact when I got here the scenery kind of surprised me [hello, bluffs]. I came because for the first time in my life I told God I’d go anywhere and he pointed here. And I’m so glad I came. Glad I met a certain blue-eyed boy my first night here. And I’m so glad my family supported my decision to come. Now that I’m a parent I understand what a loving, selfless act that was. And my heart swells with thankfulness.
So here I am. Happy to be here. Thankful. Enjoying life, in this moment.