Being grateful for so much

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My son-in-law Spencer with Blake and Morgan.

The long Thanksgiving weekend has always been my favorite because we all tend to stop and enjoy each other, no matter our faith. We are united in just sharing good will and appreciation for what we have. Those feelings seem more powerful than ever this year.

When I saw and heard of the massive hardships so many of us endured in our lives these past few weeks I am amazed how those hardest hit are still grateful.

It’s remarkable to me to hear of the outpouring of generosity of so many to those still suffering. Each day I hear of wondrous deeds. Close to my heart is the woman who found photo albums and made an effort to find their owners by putting the photos up on Facebook. I am a keeper of photos and so appreciate that act of kindness.

My mom was a great collector of photos kept neatly in endless albums, all well marked by the year or the event. My favorite is a photo of her pregnant with me standing big belly to big belly with her pregnant girlfriends and my Aunt Ruth. I was born a week before my cousin Peter and I love looking at the picture taken only days before I was born.

Then there is a photo of me as a little girl with my dad. He had his arm around my waist and was wearing the sweetest gentle smile. Another favorite is the one with me at the park on a swing. It is part of my memory bank of me as a delicate child who couldn’t tolerate being pushed high on the swing. Who would have thought that of me, a person who takes risks everyday? But I do think I’m brave because I had such a sheltered protected childhood.

When my parents passed and we had to sell their house I asked my brother if he wanted any of my mom’s albums and to my delight he said no. So they sit in my closet to share with my children and now grandchildren. There’s something about a hard copy photo that enhances and brings back the memories of my childhood and life years ago.

I know my kids do the Shutterfly thing, but for me I’m always looking for hard copies of the special moment. Just this weekend my blessed Blake slept over and we had such a special time together. On my refrigerator is a family photo taken at his house. When he arrived on Saturday we looked at who was in the photo to try to remember when it was taken. It could have been several different times because my daughter Samantha, his mother, is a wonderful party giver. Well, Sunday morning after we had a swim together he blurted out, “grandma, it was Thanksgiving” and I knew just what he meant. So we went back to the photo and looked to see who was there again and remembered that his Aunt Elizabeth was there from Dallas for the Thanksgiving holiday.

This year I’m so grateful to have a new precious person in our lives. Little Hudson born to my son Josh and wife Tracey. He warms my heart. Then there’s Jonah and Addison living far away but who I speak to several times a week. I have a goal of doing “Face Time” with them, seeing each other on the screen since I won’t see them until December when we will all be vacationing together in Mexico.

Then there are the wondrous Blake and Morgan. This last sleepover was my favorite because I found out Blake is a great organizer and cleaning helper. He helped me reorganize my piled up mess of papers on my night table, then we went on to the clutter under the kitchen sink that had gotten out of control and reorganized it too. He even accompanied me into my closet as I searched for an outfit and helped me organize my blouses by color! A new Blake has emerged. It’s a wonder to see how my grandchildren children grow and change. There’s so much to be grateful for.

And then there is my husband who has been through so much, but bravely survives against all odds. His will is strong and it sustains him. I am so grateful.

My wonderfully talented staff in Queens and Brooklyn have made a real difference in the communities we serve. During the Sandy crisis they gave of themselves endlessly. I am so grateful.

My health was challenged this year and I was so fortunate to have caught my disease early and I am so grateful.

To all my readers I wish you a joyous Thanksgiving of togetherness and gratefulness that we are here.