As we sat snuggled under blankets on this chilly rain-soaked morning, I commented to my husband Mark that it was a perfect day to dress in comfy sweats and thick socks and sit by the fire. He agreed as we got up to face the cold November day. After we finished our coffee, he headed out to do a few errands as I focused on my endless piles of paperwork. He arrived home about an hour later, bags in hand. He gave one to me. “This is for you.” I opened it to find a set of velvety-soft sweats, and fuzzy pink socks. He kissed me and started a fire in the fireplace. When I thanked him, he waved his hand to stop me. “I love you,” he said. He shrugged his shoulders. “That’s all.”
Yesterday my class put on a play for their parents and the rest of the school. This was my first foray into producing a school play, and way out of my comfort zone. I was very nervous and could not wait for it to be over. Mark left his busy day at the restaurant to come watch. He arrived early and found his seat, flowers in hand. Each time I stole a glance at the audience, I saw his smiling face and felt just a little calmer. When it was over, he came to me and presented the bouquet. “You did a good job,” he told me. It was that simple, sweet gesture that made me realize how lucky I am to have him and how our new family just works.
I knew he would be there, but as I said my obligatory thank yous to the crowd, I did not expect to see my parents. They were there in the back, simply supporting me by their presence. They knew I was dreading this day and nervous about it. They don’t know any of my students and had never been to my school. They just came to carry the family flag.
Last weekend, my step-daughter came to visit. I love that she pops in every once and a while and that she feels comfortable here. We chatted and laughed and at the end of the evening, warm hugs were exchanged. When Mark and I married, we made a choice to be together. My step-daughter didn’t have to choose to be a part of it, but she did, jumping in with both feet. We are family.
I spoke to my sister Melissa a few days ago. She lives in another state, so I don’t see her as often as I do the rest of the family, but we are in constant communication and she comes to visit often. She spent almost an hour on the phone, swapping the latest tales about our children, and motherhood. Mostly we laughed, but we did discuss more serious issues and bonded over shared frustrations. Although separated by miles, we are always connected. Part of being a family is knowing someone is there for you whenever you need them.
This weekend marks the end to a hard journey for my sister Meg. It has been a very difficult few years for her, and as of today, she can close the chapter to a sad time and start a new one. She decided to have a little get together tomorrow to celebrate this new beginning. She put out an email to the family to gather at her house. We will be there, including my daughter who is in school, two states away. When I told her about it, her response was “What time?” Even as we scatter in different directions, each with very busy lives, when it comes to family, we circle back to support one another.
These recent events remind me to take the time to be grateful for what I have, and to be thankful for the people who make life complete. We are all threads in a beautiful tapestry, weaving together to create warmth that covers all of us. It is so easy to take it for granted. but my new mission is to consciously stop and appreciate how lucky I am. Family is everything. For that, I am thankful.