Because THIS Wasn’t Supposed to Happen

Until this year, all those “I’m thankful for my family” Facebook posts clung to my Facebook feed like white noise. I understood the concept, clearly, as I’ve always been thankful for my family- but I never truly understood the meaning, until this year.
It’s not just because I’m a mother. It’s not just because I have a daughter so-freakin’-delicious and sweet that I melt 400x a day.

I am thankful for my family because I am in a place in my life that I NEVER thought I’d get to. In a million years, I never imagined I’d be all wifed-up, so happily, in south Florida, in a house that we bought ourselves, with a beautiful child to call our own.
Never.
Because the odds of someone with my upbringing- my past, my childhood, my pain and my struggle – were just not in my favor. The odds screamed “not able to love”.

But screw it. I got lucky. Or I made it happen- or a little of both.

So I truly, truly get it now.
I get what all those people will mean today when they say “I am thankful for my family.”
It’s because I pull into my driveway each afternoon full of the same butterflies and excitement I felt the day I got married, and the day I met my Bella.
It’s because when my husband arrives soon after, our home is complete, and the love is overwhelming. And the time passes too quickly.
It’s because when my daughter smiles and claps at our arrival, our hearts burst, and we look at each other with the same grateful look and we just know – we are so damn lucky.
It’s because when we’ve had stressful days at work, the warmth of our home instantly melts away the stress of the day – like cold butter on a warm baked potato, soaking into each other and making everything right again.
It’s because when I need ANYTHING – a hug, a piece of advice, a laugh or a package of paper towels at Costco, my mom is right there – literally, to be the best damn mother and Nonna there is.
It’s because when I see the happiness in my mother’s face, I know it’s from where we BOTH are in our lives now. Where we both struggled to get to, and how lucky we are to be here.
It’s because of my incredible stepdad, Bella’s AMAZING Papa, and the love he continues to give.

For my little brother – who is really my big brother and my rock.
It’s because I was blessed with a child while my grandparents, the most special people in the world, are still around to enjoy her. It’s because my grandma LIVES to see my child, hear her laugh, and give her kisses.
I am so thankful for this family, for every minute on this earth that I get with them.
I am thankful for the look on Bella’s face when I appear in her room each morning.
I am thankful for the way she squeals in delight from Daddy’s kisses. I am thankful for the way he gives them to her.
I am also thankful for Daddy’s kisses. His hugs, his direction and know-it-all advice. Because he DOES know it all, at least when it comes to me, and I can’t get through a day without him.
I am thankful for the fact that he fills the coffee machine each night with water before he comes to bed, because I always forget.
I am thankful for coffee.
I am thankful for the conversations I overhear him having with his own parents and grandparents, because that loyalty and respect that he shows to his family makes him the amazing man that he is.
I am thankful for the mess he leaves in the kitchen because I know he enjoyed whatever I cooked, or whatever treats I brought home.
I am thankful for our bed, Netflix, and popcorners, because it’s how we spend 99% of our free time together.
I am thankful for my daughters ability to light up a room. Her spunk, adventurous nature and her love for people.
I am thankful for the way my daughter chews her food, on one side, with her two teeth, because I am watching her do it now and it’s pretty flipping cute.
I am also thankful for our dog baby, Blue, and the joy he brings to ALL of us- especially our baby. She has no clue that he is different from her, and he treats her like his own child, and they spend their time together as if they were always meant to.
I am thankful that Blue helps me clean the floor under Bella’s high chair.
I am thankful, so thankful, for the friends that have become my family. For the way we understand each other, look out for one another and love as if the relation came from blood.
I am thankful for today. For yesterday and tomorrow, and for the fact that in this very moment, I have everything I’ve ever, ever needed.
Dreams do come true- I am thankful for never giving up.
Happy Thanksgiving.

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