I am thankful for my beautiful daughter, wonderful friends, loving family, and plentiful work.
This Thanksgiving brought time to reflect on change and new beginnings. My dad started chemo on Monday, but was well enough to prepare a delicious turkey on Wednesday. My mom, sister, Bean girl and I all sat down at his table for the first time ever this Thanksgiving. We ate and laughed, and even though we're all feeling uncertain about the future and concerned about his health, we enjoyed ourselves and our time together immensely.

Bean girl had Thanksgiving with her father this year and I spent the holiday with my boyfriend's family, who enjoyed this year as their first in Arkansas. It was beautiful- his mother really made a feast! The sheer amount of food was almost overwhelming, and good lord was it tasty...
Its so strange watching a family that's so different from my own, their customs and traditions... the family dynamic is foreign but warm, very open and accepting. We all circled around the table; his father & mother, brother, & children... myself, their family friend, and my boyfriend's ex-wife & her boyfriend... all sitting together as a family. They toasted and then his son asked everyone to say what we were thankful for. I said I was thankful to know everyone, and to be included. I fought tears yesterday thinking about how lucky I was.

Family is so very important. I look forward all year to Christmas, to spending time with my mom dad & sister, grandparents, aunts & uncles, cousins. Everyone's so spread out, from London, England to Baton Rouge, Louisiana... but we all come together once a year for a couple of days. We eat and open presents and tell stories, and god, do we laugh... My ex-husband says his favorite part of the divorce is not having to spend Christmas with my family anymore, and I'll never understand it. These people are my very core- and without them I'd be nothing. They are my support and understanding, to love them is to know me.

This year my family is extended. Being with my boyfriend and his family has been wonderful. They're a strong family... so loving. They believe wholeheartedly in an unbreakable bond in roots and blood, and its obvious in the way they speak, the stories they tell. They include everyone, and they're fiercely protective in a way I admire more than I could even say. Being included means being understood, loved, & protected. Getting to know them means understanding even more who the man I fell in love with really is, was, and will be.

This year it all just means so much more. Maybe its my dad being sick, or maybe its the divorce, or maybe, just maybe... I'm getting older and wiser and I'm realizing the true value of having people that can see me and love me, flaws and all, because of a common bond. There's just nothing more important than that.