I've been doing a bit of reflecting on this past holiday season - this past year really. There were so many lovely moments and a few things that stressed me out, but overall I am left with so much gratitude.
I am grateful for my husband. As I've mentioned before, my husband is, ahem, enthusiastic about Christmas. This is such a blessing to me. Every year, we not only host a holiday party/birthday party for moi, but also host my extended family for celebration on Christmas Eve. This season, both events were totally successful. We added an extra element to the holiday party this year but having a "Mad Men"-themed party. It was quite glamorous, with family and friends alike dressing in retro '60s fashion. Here we are, looking both lovely and in love:
I am grateful for my son. As some of you may be aware, my son is battling with substance abuse issues. I am so proud of him. He is still struggling, but he is taking responsibility for his choices. He is working to stay sober, though not always succeeding. He is living life honestly, sometimes asking for help, more often than not avoiding those who could most help him but always being truthful about his choices. Believe me when I say, this is a major change and has gone a long way toward mending our little family. The truth is a soothing peace in this case, even when I know he has relapsed I am so grateful for the truth. He is addressing his legal problems with courage and grace. It is so, so hard...standing by and watching him battle his demons is the most difficult thing I have ever done. But all of that seemed somehow removed this Christmas. This Christmas he was affectionate, funny, sweet, helpful and comfortable in his own skin. He joked and laughed with family. He shared loving sentiments. He was generous and wonderful. We love him so much.
I am grateful for my job. I work outside of our home - and I love it. I am a physician assistant, working for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Each time I go to work, I encounter people who have served bravely, served loyally, served compassionately, served without reservation, served humbly, just served. I am blessed in that every day I am able to give back. I am pictured below with a World War II veteran, Bill, who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor. I'd like to thank him again for sharing his amazing story, as well as permission to use his photograph on my blog.
I am grateful for family and friends. I am amazed by the support that has been offered to us over this past year - which has, frankly, been a bit more arduous journey than in years past. I have not come close yet to understanding all the ways that we are changed as a family, I am changed as an individual...but I am quite certain that we could not have done it without the support of our family and friends. I am particularly thankful for our mothers.
I am grateful for each and every breath. I have severe asthma. This past year has also been a challenge on the health front. I have been hospitalized several times, struggling to get and stay well. I have been alternatively hopeful and frustrated. At this moment, the entire year seems like a repetitive cycle of illness and (relative) health. I am really struggling with these limitations right now...but I have hope for the future.
I am grateful for my dreams. For 2011, my one little word has been dream. I've blogged monthly about my dreams using prompts from Ali Edwards' One Little Word class at Big Picture Classes. You can read all my previous posts related to OLW here. I have really grown comfortable with the word dream. In fact, I am even more certain now than one year ago that this word chose me. Between the stress of our family situation and the limitations of my health, much of this last year has been spent in meditation and contemplation, allowing me to fully flesh out my dreams. I have great plans for the coming year to take action on these dreams. I am quite excited about it.
I am grateful for you, dear readers. I look forward to sharing the coming year with you.