Today I'd like to take a minute to mention those that I am most thankful for.
My son Kevin, who made me a proud mommy nine years ago. Every day he reminds me that there are truly considerate people in the world. Whether he is cleaning the bathrooms without being asked or begging me to pull over so that he can give his lunch to the homeless veteran standing on the corner, he never ceases to make me proud that I had a part in bringing him into this world.
My daughter Suzy, who arrived two years later. When she was an infant, everyone thought she looked serious. After seven years, I am convinced that she was absorbing everything. Her intelligence and sense of humor are truly impressive, and she surprises me with something new every day.
My daughter Brooklyn, the five-year-old who thanks me after every meal for the vegetables that she just spent thirty minutes trying to avoid. The blonde, blue-eyed Dakota-Fanning-look-alike who begged to go to preschool when her temperature hit 101, but smiled and said "That's okay, Mommy," when I dropped the ball and forgot about her field trip to the pumpkin farm.
My daughter Evie (Olivia), the three-year-old whose giggle can light up any room. She eats my Greek salad when I'm not looking, and she has long, in depth conversations with her stuffed Rapunzel doll. When it's nap time and Brooklyn is at school, she cons me into letting her curl up with me on the couch while we watch old movies. "Nick and Nora" (The Thin Man) is her favorite.
My stepson Jimmy, who drives me insane whistling in the house and humming the Star Wars theme over and over. He burns more energy in an average day than I have in a week, and he almost always has a cheeky smile on his face. The cuteness factor is immeasurable.
My extended family - to include the Greenplates, the Krutas, the Stephens - for keeping me entertained throughout the years and for taking me with a grain of salt when I was less than entertaining.
But mostly, my husband Jim. He took on four children who weren't his own (and treats them as if they are) in order to be with me. He takes time every day to remind me that I am loved. Sometimes he says it with flowers. Sometimes he says it by thanking me for making dinner or picking the kids up after school. Sometimes he says it by laughing at my jokes even though he's heard me tell them before. But he never fails to say it.
Prepping for dinner*
Jim battles the mighty bottle...*
Jimmy and Aunt "Cake" (Kate)*
Aunt Valleri. And gingerbread cookies courtesy of my mother.*
Did someone say pie?
The kids' table.*
Another year has passed, and there is so much to thank God for that I could easily bore you to tears. Instead, I leave you to your comfy pants, your football games and your early morning shopping sprees. Happy Thanksgiving, all, and God Bless.
*photos courtesy of Catherine Kruta