Thirty Days of Thankfulness

I missed the blogosphere bandwagon yesterday, not realizing the current posting ‘fad’ focuses on expressing what I’m thankful for in a daily dissertation.  So please pretend that today is actually yesterday, the first of November in the year 2011.

I am thankful for my family.

Terry, Derek and Rachelle (Dec 2010)
  • Thankful for My Husband, Terry.  More than twenty five years of love and friendship, through thick and thin.  He never ceases to amaze me with his brilliant musicality and compositional talent.  His recent interest in the culinary arts means I come home to a new delectable food adventure nearly every evening.  He overcomes his disabling chronic illness each day, never succumbing to depression or giving up the fight.  He tilts windmills with home remodeling contractors and global corporations peddling home appliances.  He is passionate and compassionate and I love him dearly.
  • Thankful for My Children, Derek and Rachelle.
    • Derek, and his wife Royna, just returned home after a four day visit with us during the last weekend of October.  Number One Son came into the world busting the Apgar scale, despite an arduous labor ending in an emergency C-section.  Even though he didn’t learn to walk until fourteen months, he never slowed down all the years we corralled him.  He excelled at nearly all sports, having an uncanny sense of balance and an intuitive understanding of body mechanics, such that he competed nationally as a judoka in her early to mid teen years.  His true artistic gift surfaced late in high school, blossoming under a mentor at community college.  His talent for art and love of video games led him to the Guildhall at SMU and landed him an excellent placement even before graduation late last year.
    • Rachelle, oh how I miss you.  I haven’t seen you face-to-face since last January.  The wonders of the Internet at least allow me to listen to your concerts live, but it’s just not the same as being there.  At least I’ll get my daughter fix in three weeks when Terry and I drive to North Texas for our third annual Moss Migration for Thanksgiving.  Rachelle’s gift for vocal performance surfaced almost before she learned to talk.  I caught her singing as a baby and toddler almost more than she did talking.  Years and years of choir drudgery and exceptional vocal mentors honed her magnificent mezzo soprano.  As she approaches the last semester of her undergraduate degree in musicology at UNT, she is gearing up for a round of auditions (and the attendant travel) to various graduate schools around the country.
  • Thankful for My Extended Family.
    • My Father, who is always willing and able to help with demolishing a dying pine or trimming back a few limbs on my oak trees or any electrical wiring project that crops up.  He readily supports my bread baking habit, where he reaps the rewards in loaves of fresh home-made and home-baked loaves.  He also tags along on some of my astronomical adventures courtesy of the local Astronomical Society.  I have a general class amateur radio license thanks to him.  My troubleshooting talent can be directly traced back to me tagging along with him while growing up, as he fixed all many of items for family and friends.
    • My Mother, who inspired me to read at a very early age (three or four) and instilled a love of all kinds of literature.
    • My Uncle, Ron, and his wife Treva, are an inspiration and an example of a blessed marriage.  Ron and I feed each other’s addiction for the next great book to read to the chagrin of our spouse (I’m sure).  Ron’s watercolors keep winning awards at various galleries across the Midwest and East Coast.  Someday soon I hope he returns to writing that next great short story, novella or novel that I know is lurking just below the surface.
    • My Aunts, Melody and Jan.  Melody, my mother’s sister, lives close by, within an hour’s drive in Topeka.  Jan, my father’s sister, lives farther away in Ohio, between her brothers (one in Kansas and one in Virginia).  Both of these women hold special places in my heart and fond memories from my early childhood.
    • My Cousins, starting with the paternal side of the tree, Wendell, Eric, David and Katy.  Since I was the oldest cousin (from the oldest offspring), I got to see each and every one of you grow-up, from infants to adults with families of your own.  Katy, the youngest, tied the knot just this past June (on or very near both my daughter’s birthday and what would have been my grandmother’s eighty-ninth birthday).  Wendell and his wife Kristen recently became the proud parents of twin boys, William and Logan.  On the maternal side of the tree, I have many cousins, some of which I’ve reconnected with on Facebook and others who remain in obscurity.  Since my mother was somewhere in the middle of six children, I am not the oldest of the cousins on this side of the family tree.   Oldest to youngest (by family group): Roberta, Peter, Rebecca; Tracy, Kelly and Phillip; Brandi and Summer; and, Charles and Anne.  I know I’m missing some in the above list, mostly because there are cousins out there who are younger than my kids and I’ve only met them or heard of them once or twice.

Even though 2011 marked the first year of my life without a living grandparent, I am grateful for the time I had with both my grandmothers.  Doris, my father’s mother, passed away last year, and Juanita, my mother’s mother, passed away in June of 2005.

Juanita and Me (at my high school graduation)

Quotes on Families:

Families are like fudge – mostly sweet with a few nuts.
~~~ Author Unknown

When our relatives are at home, we have to think of all their good points or it would be impossible to endure them.
~~~ George Bernard Shaw

One of life’s greatest mysteries is how the boy who wasn’t good enough to marry your daughter can be the father of the smartest grandchild in the world.
~~~ Jewish Proverb

Family life is full of major and minor crises — the ups and downs of health, success and failure in career, marriage, and divorce — and all kinds of characters. It is tied to places and events and histories. With all of these felt details, life etches itself into memory and personality. It’s difficult to imagine anything more nourishing to the soul.
~~~ Thomas Moore

In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future.
~~~ Alex Haley

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