Every year, before we start the seder (which is always at my house), we go around the table and talk about what we're grateful for. This year so many amazing things have happened, I've been thinking about the one or two I could quickly bring up at my turn. My book came out. It was really well reviewed. I got the fancy launch party, national TV, being quoted in The Times. Amazing, amazing stuff.
So yes, I'm exceedingly grateful for all that I've accomplished. But, while I was talking to Iz this morning, about what it means, at least to me, to be a parent, I told her that along with the frustration it seems like I'm often stuck in the middle of, there's a joy so all-encompassing you can't imagine what it's like until you live it. In the past year Jack mastered reading, going from early mornings and reading recovery, to reading Harry Potter to me at night. I never let him see the tears in my eyes as he stumbled over words, working to sound them out, watching him discover his love of books. In the past year Izvhas not just survived most of her first year in middle school, but has found this voice and leadership role neither of us knew was in her. I can't imagine what life would be like without these two remarkable souls who grew inside me. They expanded my heart in ways I never imagined possible.
And then I thought, even though I bitch and complain about the work of house guests, of cooking, of hosting holidays, of never getting time off for myself, how grateful, truly grateful I am that my family is here. We can make each other crazy, but I know, as a fundamental truth in life, that they will always be here when I need me and there's nothing I wouldn't do for them. I am grateful my brother is here, with his one kidney now officially failing, but still doing his thing and living every day filled with as much as he possibly can. That my sister is bringing her boyfriend/fiance who is thoughtful and sweet. Watching them is like looking through a rack of Hallmark greeting cards. I love that she finally found true love and glows much of the time.
I'm grateful that my parents will be here. They both struggle with their own issues, health and otherwise, but have come to this place where they can be together in my apartment, comfortable together. That my step father is here, who is so much a part of my family I can't remember life before him.
I have been married for almost 22 years to a person who continually sees me in a new light, who supports me no matter what I do, who is so proud of me it helps me be proud of myself. The word grateful doesn't cover it.
I am grateful I am here. In this place. In this moment. My mom sleeping on the couch. Jon emptying the dish washer. Jack mastering Age of Empires. Iz cleaning the hamster cage. The sky darkening as rain heads in. The laundry stacked for me to bring downstairs. My back stretched out from delicious yoga. Leftover Chinese food waiting in the fridge for lunch. A book proposal in my head, ready for me to put on paper. My toes freshly polished in vibrant blue. Roses, the color of sunset, opening on my windowsill.
Mess. Chaos. Disorganization. Too much to do. Beauty. Love.
I am grateful for my life.