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What I'm grateful for this year | VRChristensen

What I’m grateful for this year

ThanksgivingI find myself complaining. I do. And it’s wrong. It’s cold out, and we are struggling to stay warm in my 116 year old house. But the thing is…I have the house, and I love it! It feels like such an honor to have gotten it and to be the ones restoring it. Even if my loan is taking an eternity to go through. But the thing is, despite the drafty windows, and the low water pressure, and the lack of central heat, I really, really, really love this house. And it was sort of a miracle we got it. So yes, I’m grateful.

I’m grateful, too, for my family. I have had the misfortune of witnessing a lot of familial unhappiness in my life. My two best friends are recently divorced, and while I’m glad they are both out of the bad situations they were in, I’m sad, too. The death of a marriage is a very sad thing, all those hopes and plans and dreams ruined. I’m grateful for my marriage, and for the man I married. He lets me live my life, he places no hindrances on me. He believes in me, even though I only really know that because people tell me how proud he is of me (he doesn’t tell me stuff like that). He values me as an individual human being who, companioned by him, is willing to work together to make both of our aspirations in life come true. My dreams are as important to him as his own. And I’m striving to be equally as supportive. I fear I take him for granted too often. I also, because of him, have these amazing children. I cannot describe to you how amazing they are. It’s not because they get great grades (sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t), it’s not because they are beautiful (I think they are, but of course I would) and it isn’t because they are extraordinarily talented, it’s because they are really, really enjoyable people to be around. I adore them, and I feel so blessed to know them.

I’m grateful that I am able to stay home with my kids. This move to Virginia has been tough. We left behind a life and a house in South Carolina. We were in good shape for a while, but the rush of relocating, then being left behind for a time in a horrible housing market, financing two households, has really hurt us. And so, for a time last year, I went to work. It was a good experience, and I’m grateful for it, but I’m more grateful than ever that I don’t have to work. Only…there’s a chance I may have to go back. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not lazy, I just feel the pain of my kids growing up. My oldest is 16. I have two more years, three perhaps, before she’ll be on her own. And it breaks my heart. True, they don’t need me while they’re at school, but it’s important to me that I send them off, and that I’m here when they get home, that, when there’s a school closure, or a holiday, I can be here to enjoy it with them. I cherish every minute I have with them. I don’t want to lose any of it. It goes by far too quickly.

But let me just say this, while I’m at it: When I am home, I am working. I’m writing and publishing, editing, cover designing, marketing and promoting. This when I’m not working on the house, cutting down trees, repairing windows, doing plaster work, stripping wallpaper, painting, etc. While I was working outside the home, my book sales tanked. Now they’re back up again, and I’m grateful for that. I’m grateful that I have been able to fulfill my dreams of 1) writing a book, 2) publishing it and 3) having people actually read the stuff. It’s really quite amazing when I think of it. And so usually I don’t. But I am grateful. Exceedingly so.

I’m grateful for my parents, for my sister, and for the brother I loved with all my heart—and whom I lost a couple of years ago. I’m grateful for the family to whom I am not blood related who helped to nurture me and guide me to make good and responsible decisions. I’m grateful for the teachers who have taught me, and for the friends who have supported me faithfully through good times and bad.

I’m grateful for the good times.

And yes, I’m grateful for the bad times, too. I’m grateful for what they taught me. I’m grateful for the person I am because of them. And while I really hope I never have to relive them, and while I’m sorry for friends I’ve lost and people I’ve hurt, if I’ve learned something in my trials, then it is all for the better.

I’m also really, really grateful for chocolate.

Just sayin’.

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