I've spent my day doing what I love most...cooking. And cooking my favorite meal of the year, at that. There is something about traditional Thanksgiving fare that just lightens my soul. I love the simple flavors, the savoriness of it all. Not to mention that while it takes quite awhile, it is the simplest, most straightforward of cooking. And I'm damn good at it.
While I dislike the racial history behind Thanksgiving, it is my favorite holiday. I am hardly religious or even "spiritual," but the gathering together of the people I love so that we may feast and enjoy and simply be together, without all the consumerism that mars Christmas is lovely.
As I went about my tasks...boiling the yams and making stuffing, I realized how very different this Thanksgiving is from the last one. Last year seems so far away, perhaps because so very much has happened this year, and I am miles away from the life I was living last year at this time. All the joy had gone from my life and I was so numb, so anesthetized by my depression that I didn't even see it. I went through the motions, but took no joy in what has always been a joyful task for me.
I have so very much to be thankful for this year. I am thankful, as always, as I will forever be, for my beautiful, healthy, brilliant daughter. I am thankful for the task of being her mother, though it isn't easy and some days it is harder to see the joy, she, more than anything else in my life, gives me a reason every morning to be. If I accomplish nothing else in the world, being her mother will be enough. Though, to be brutally honest, I haven't always felt that way. I was not one of those mothers who looked at their infants the moment they were born and felt that indescribable feeling of coming home to oneself. I spent years struggling with the occasional resentment I felt that I was not living the life I had wanted, the fear of being "just a mother." I wish it had been easier, that I had felt the rightness of being her mother from the moment she was born, but then, those things that are the most important rarely come easily to me.
And while this has, in many ways, been the hardest year of my life, I am thankful for the things that got me here. I am thankful to be feeling again. And, yeah, the pain has sucked. But, I've also found the capacity for joy again. I'm still a little rusty at all of this, and parts of my heart are so broken I wonder if it will ever again be whole. But, even if it isn't, at least I am present in my life once more, present as a mother and a sister and friend, and that is beautiful to me.
I am thankful for my family, without whom this year could have been the death of me. I never cease to be amazed at the good fortune that gave me a second family to give me what my first could not. I am thankful for all the people who love me despite my craziness, despite my irrationality. I'm not the easiest person to love, and my family and my best friend (who is half a world away from me tonight, but still the one of the biggest pieces of what makes my life beautiful) make it look simple. I thank you and I love you with all of my all too imperfect heart.