November 24, 2010

Thankfulness, Part 3

I was raised pretty isolated. We were 25 miles from town on a ranch. We hardly ever entertained, so the only time prior to going to school that I interacted with outsiders was when we drove to town to get the mail and groceries. I’m the youngest in a family of 7, so by the time I came along, all my siblings and cousins had pretty much grown up. The two just older than I are brothers, so they hung out with each other a lot. So even within my own family, I was a little isolated.

As a consequence, I learned little social skills. Everything from the big things like what do you to when you got to a dinner party to the mere how do you make small talk and navigate your way through a conversation. When I went to school, this (and other things) even furthered my isolation and feeling like an outcast. But then, as you do, I picked things up. I learned to say no and mean it when I got a job as a bartender, and my husband was the one who really taught me social skills, something I’m eternally grateful for. I’ve always been empathetic, but now I know how to show other people that I am. Not something to take for granted.

Gaining these social skills has made my interactions with people so much better, and this is what I really wanted to talk about today: the number one thing I am thankful for in my life are people.

I am thankful for my husband. He’s always been there for me, kind and gentle and big and strong and understanding yet also not letting me get away with things. His strengths and weaknesses compliment my strengths and weaknesses so well. We are a great team. He is the reason my life is as wonderful as it is, and I love him very much.

I am thankful for my two kids. You know, you hear people say something like this and you're like, oh, yeah, that old saw. Of course you are. But saying those words does not in any way encompass the depth and range of feeling that being a parent entails. I’m more afraid for them than I am for any other beings on the planet, and I am more in love with them in this unique and complex way than with anything else on the planet. It is a unique thing, in the true sense of the word. In all the relationships people have in their lives, having kids is singular.

I am thankful for my family. My dad ~ a rancher, a rock hound, a cavalry soldier, a father, a hard worker, a kind man, a social man who had little chance to socialize, a dreamer, a realist. My mom ~ an artist, a musician, an original, a very kind and supportive person, a mom to seven, generous to a fault. My six brothers and sisters ~ a family of black sheep, each with strong convictions yet we really like each other and tell stories for hours when we get together.

I am thankful for my husband’s family. I couldn’t have asked for a more kind and generous and supportive and loving family to marry into. I have absolutely the best mother-in-law ~ we have so much in common ~ and my father-in-law was such a hard worker and gave so much to his family. I genuinely love and like every one of my inlaws.

So many other people, too. Close friends, teachers, distant relatives, people I’ve worked with, friends I’ve met here online, not to mention those individuals I don’t know well but who have had such a profound effect on me because of something they’ve said or done but they probably don’t even know it.

I am thankful for you all. I can’t tell you enough what you all mean to me. I do not take you for granted.

Questions of the Day: Whom are you thankful for?

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