Thanksgiving is upon us. Time to reap our harvests, count our blessings and stuff ourselves with decadent food. Time to gather with family and celebrate the art of gratitude. (Just a side note for any American readers – Thanksgiving in Canada is held in October to reflect our earlier harvest, not just because we insist on being different.)
This year, in the Madhouse, I think the thing I am most grateful for are all our friends who have become family. Those people who, though not related to us by blood, have brought more love, more laughter, more hope and more help to our door than we even knew we needed. You know who you are, but as I am giving thanks I want to do this properly (I hope I don’t forget anyone, if I do blame it on the DID). Thank you Wendy, Beth, Diane, Shawn, Ed, Kim, Mickey, Gaby, Teresa, Jeremy, Julia, Karen, Tonia, Jenner, Ruth, Kathy, Elias, Sean, Michelle, Steve, Tammy, Hunter, Ray, Todd, Lisa, Ty, Tina, Jenifer, Riley, Anne, Keith, Sara, Besh, Pye, Ernie, Rian, Heather, Cindy, Myles, Effie, Glenda, Rudi, Joyce, Dave, Lynn, Mounir, Denyse, Julie, Kathryn, Michaela, Alexi, Nancy, Saidat, Michelle, Peter, Susan, Susie, the lovely couple who came and fixed my front garden, and, of course, my mom.
Although this year has been full of heartbreak, mindbreak (I made that up, can you tell?), confusion, and illness there have been many things that have been wonderful too. Rian had her first year in school where she wasn’t constantly bullied. Alexi made a best friend and so did Rian. My beautiful little girl had the courage to sing a solo, a cappella at the school talent show and received a standing ovation. Alexi went away for a week with a friend’s family and had a great time! They both have wonderful counselors, who have been huge blessings to our family. They’re still growing, despite my constant requests that they stop – kids clothes aren’t cheap. They’re still laughing and they’re still learning. These are things to be grateful for.
I have finally come to the realization that, although I need to put the past behind me, I first need to acknowledge how it has affected me before I can move on. I have learned to accept help. I have learned that I love a great number of people and it’s easier to love some of those people from afar. I have learned that life is worth living and it’s important to rest. I’ve learned a fake smile can’t hide the pain forever, but good friends can help heal it. I have learned that loving someone doesn’t guarantee their love in return, but it’s good to love anyway. I have learned to believe in miracles even when I can’t see evidence of them. I have learned that the obvious answers aren’t always the correct ones. And I am thankful for these things that I have learned and I am hopeful that in the future I won’t always have to learn lessons the hard way.
I’m thankful for this blog and the folks who read it. I really hope that someone out there is able to take something away from Surviving the Madhouse to bring blessings into their life, even if it’s a smile.