I started my gratitude list with my husband and my six children (four humans and two aussiedoodles). Today I continue with feeling blessed with all of the people in my life: family, “framily” and friends. All the way across the country from me are family that are close to my heart. The distance between us does not stop them from being present in my mind or my daily life. Throughout my day I am reminded of them, whether it’s walking by a picture frame and seeing their smiling faces, or using some phrase that I heard often growing up, “Oh, sweet lamb.”
My mother and father are healthy active 78 year olds living in Northern California. They each have their own interests (music, art, yoga, community service) that keep them busy. My dad is an avid crossword puzzle who can pretty easily solve any day of the week (I’m still only up to Mondays and Tuesdays). He is a movie buff and reads book after book. My mother inspires me with how balanced she is physically. Through years of yoga, she continues to be strong, flexible and has great posture. She is gifted with beautiful artistic talent, and brings a little sketch pad and water color set with her on trips. She will sit and draw birds or grandchildren and capture the beauty of the scene before her. My parents provided me and my sisters with a very loving and comfortable childhood. Even though we are all spread out in different cities, and our parents live in a different home than we grew up in, they continue to be the beacon that draws us in and connects us to one another. I am so grateful to have these amazing parents in my life.
“Four girls, no brothers,” I would answer with a smile. I like telling people this unusual fact, and sometimes encountering another woman with three sisters. We get it. My sisters are on my list of gratitude not because it’s always been a walk in the park, but because I love these women despite our occasional disagreements. In fact, that’s what makes us so close, we are not afraid to speak honestly to one another. A sister is not reluctant to tell it like it is. “I would not wear that. You should not put up with that. You really need to fix that.” If I need heartfelt confidential advice on a moments notice, I know that I can call any one of my three sisters. Together we laugh, argue, cry, analyze and laugh some more. One is in Hawaii, one in San Diego, one in the San Francisco Bay Area, and I’m in Virginia; sadly, we are too far away to have lunch or see each other often. It is what it is, so I will simply feel blessed to have these three sisters in my life.
Some other special people I’m grateful for are all my relatives. Nieces, nephews, cousins, uncles, aunts, brothers-in-law, my sister-in-law, and my mother-in-law. My heart is filled with so much joy when we can get together for visits or holidays. Family is about letting the formalities go, and relaxing together comfortably. Growing up I loved Thanksgiving and Christmas afternoons. Tables set with homemade place cards, holding hands during Grace, lots and lots of food, then skits, games and music in the living room. I miss those big get-togethers. These days we meet up for visits or special occasions (anniversaries or graduations). I am grateful for all of these special people linked to me.
“Framily” is that term used to describe the friends that have known you for so long and know you so well that they are like family. We have a few of those and love them dearly. We have traveled together, spent weeks in rental homes making memories with our families. We have supported one another through hardships and celebrated each other’s happiest milestones. The miles between us and the time between our get-togethers cannot undo our strong ties. We are extremely blessed to have our framily.
The people I have listed up to this point do not live close to us. Having “people” in my life is important. My friends here in Virginia are dear to me. They are the women that have gotten to know me as who I am today. They listen to what is on my heart. They laugh at my stories. I listen to them (and find their Virginian accents endearing). “Girlie…” is my favorite way they start a text. I think what is nice about these women is that we are in similar seasons of life. Our children are in high school or older. We have more “tiiiiiiime” (said in a Virginian accent) on our hands to relax and reflect. My criteria for a good time has always been if I laugh with someone. I used to ask this of my daughter when she returned from spending an evening with friends, “Did you laugh a lot?” Well these women that I play tennis with, that I meet up with weekly in a faith group, that I go out for a glass of “wiiiiiine” with…we laugh a lot! It has only been ten years that I have lived here, but in that short time I met some pretty special people for whom I am grateful.
This Thanksgiving series is almost wrapped up. My husband, my kids, my aussiedoodles, my extended family, my framily, and my friends. What else could I be thankful for? You’ll just have to read tomorrow to find out.
*By the way, as I have written my blog post, this happened… see the photo below.
Sorry Papa Bear.