A few of my friends have been taking to Facebook with 30 days of gratitude, since I only realized that halfway through November, and they were a little sporadic in their posts, I thought I might catch up with them in a lightening round. We'll see how many I can think up before Calvin wakes up this Thanksgiving morning...

I am grateful for:

1. Family: (I know, that's at the top of everyone's list, especially when you are sitting at the Thanksgiving table with all of them and they are looking at you expectantly for an answer to what you are grateful for.) But seriously, I am particularly grateful this year to call ourselves a "family" with the addition of Calvin. I am grateful for how he's brought us closer to the family we have.

2. Friends: (another usual one) but living away from family makes me treasure our tribe of friends even more.

3. The new baby in our lives: ...the relatively easy pregnancy and labor that got him here, the husband that unquestioningly slept in a recliner by my side at the hospital, the nurses and doctor that encouraged me through the labor and the first nights.

4. Comfort: Having a warm home on a cold day; cozy, soft blankets; socks.

5. Knowing people who aren't like me: My friends teach me how life is lived differently, whether in India, Italy, or just the suburbs. I am glad to know them and share their families and traditions.

6. Road safety: Remembering the car accident I had about two years ago, I am grateful that it was only my car that was hurt. I am grateful that there's so much consideration put into my baby's car seat, our seatbelts, and the design of everything from the tires to the steering wheel. Let's make it safer by not talking on our cell phones while driving, even hands-free. Any distraction creates a risk.

7. Abundance: The fact that Jason and I are truly challenged to come up with Christmas gift ideas for both ourselves and Calvin tells me that we have a lot. We are very lucky. The best I could manage yesterday was a handheld vacuum...only because schlepping the one we have up and down the stairs is a chore, so maybe it'd be nice to have two!

8. Books: For how much I can learn from them (baby sleep tips now a popular pursuit) and how they can offer a quick escape. You can never read too much.

And now our #1 is awake, so more later...

...And we are back:

9. Animals: Pets specifically, are pretty terrific to have in your life. The funny things they do that make us laugh, the way they need us (like the rarely-affectionate Piper curling up in my arms at the vet's office), the warm spot they leave on the bed after jumping down, their inscrutable personalities. Ok, maybe the hard-to-read personality disorder is specific to cats; dogs seem easier to read.

10. My job: Funny what this economy can make you grateful for, but in tough and changing economic times, I want to work as hard as I can to keep my job. I have been grateful also to have best friends at work. They say having a close friend at work is one of the highest contributors to job satisfaction, though I am still reconciling to the fact that two of my "besties" moved away, to Maine and Atlanta respectively. I'm now in the slightly awkward place of deciding if my new closest buds are either my boss, or my direct report. Probably neither one is without its complications. But let's just be grateful that this is one of my biggest problems.

11. Music: While I am not a classical music smarty pants, and even struggle to name a favorite, contemporary artist, I can't imagine life without music. The right melody can elevate a moment or a memory to a special space, just like the soundtrack on a movie or fitting background music in a restaurant. I should listen to more music.

12. Seasons: Telling us that time is moving forward, the changing of the leaves and growing chill in the air is something I am grateful for, even if I won't like the perma-frost of snow and ice that comes next. The longer, sunnier days and first walk outside that doesn't require a jacket will cheer me up again.

13. Chocolate, ice cream, chocolate and peanut butter together, pies, cake with white frosting, cake with chocolate frosting.

14. Finding the perfect gift for someone: Though it can't happen everytime, it's so satisfying to see the look in someone's eye when they open the unexpected, perfect gift. First there is the obligatory, expected look of "how wonderful, thank you!" but with the really perfect gifts there is that second wave of realization and delight. I like that the best. I saw it when I found my sister's favorite childhood book, Spectacles, and gave it to her. She had never owned it, but took it out as much as the Frankford branch of the Philadelphia Library would let her.

15. Photographs: I am grateful for photographs that can help us remember the details we will forget, the people we want to remember, the places we've traveled and celebrations of our lives.

16. Fresh vegetables and juicy fruits: An answer to #13. I am also grateful for a plate that includes the colors of fresh produce. Nectarines, peaches, grapes, butternut squash, carrots.

17. "This too shall pass": I am grateful for the wisdom to know that if there are bad times, that they can't last forever. I also try to remember that the same goes for the good times, so enjoy them while they last.

More later...

Two days later and there's been no time to be grateful for more. I forgot to mention health, that's important and proves that this list was by no means in order of priority, or complete.



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