Thanks for giving me a Thanksgiving I can be thankful for

It's been somewhat of a difficult year in that I have had to make a decision that I never imagined myself making. Great opener, eh? Truth is that I really don't even know where to begin. I'll begin by admitting that I don't know the first thing about unconditional love. I've had to learn it from my kids and my dogs. Unfortunately, I am a slow learner.

I'd love to blame my lack of being stellar at the art of loving on my folks but I'm at the age now where I can see that it is foolish to blame-shift. Meaning that now that I have kids, I see where my folks made some right moves where I was concerned. I also have more compassion for the wrong moves that still seem to exist in my mind's eye.

I've made what seems like a career of running from relationships that asked too much of me.  I have a laundry list of friends, family and lovers that I've washed myself clean of. Again, my age comes into play. I read too much. Although I enjoy a wide range of literature, every genre I read seems to be a blur next to memoirs.  I never stop in the middle and most often get consumed by each one.  I just finished "Then Again" by Diane Keaton. Great read. I ate it up in three days. The book made me think of how much I have deprived myself of by running.

I can't say that my mother and I are close. (Well, I could say it but it wouldn't be the truth.) I used to be proud of that fact because my mother was not the kind of person I thought I admired.  Now that I am a mother, my standards for admiration have shifted - immensely.  I admire mothers who are able to give attention to their kids any time they ask for it. I know first hand how difficult it is to get involved in something, like reading, only to have a little guy tug on my pant leg muttering and pointing. There are other instances I can think of where I view redirecting my attention to my little one as a question first: is this really worth putting my book down for?  I, however, don't have one memory of my mother ever being too busy or too distracted for me or my brothers.  Strange how I didn't remember that fact for over twenty years.

Reading "Then Again" gave me a good dose of 'look what you missed by not looking close enough' moments.  It wasn't fun. I was filled with so much grief that I just sat by the window and watched the cloud roll by. There wasn't anything else I could do. I knew I would cry if I tried to talk to anyone about it. That's how memoirs affect me.  I had a similar reaction of grief when I read "The Year of Magical Thinking" by Joan Didion.

This post isn't about grief, I assure you. But with life comes death. No doubt. Just as with love comes loss. How come it takes loss to realize how much we love someone? I think Joan posed a question similar to this in her memoir. I experienced my own loss this year and it was something I had a part in, meaning I had a part in the actual decision. I thought it was what I needed. I am not sure if it was truly what I 'needed' but I think it was for the best. The best not being available for comment for several years to come. Best can only be measured by time, the reduction or addition of it.

Although this Thanksgiving was somewhat bittersweet, it was real. Genuine. I breathed in every moment of it. I made decisions in the midst of it. I felt love. I felt loss. I felt grief. I felt joy. I felt. Which is not something I can say I did during past Thanksgivings.

So, I post this just to say thanks to Bear and Bahe. Two boys that have opened up my heart in very different ways. Two boys that teach me about unconditional love in a variety of ways. I'm thankful for them both. I'm thankful for my dogs, too. Even though I can write a separate post on my pups and the great love we share, I will spare you. My greatest treasures are my boys and my pups. I'm thankful to have each of them in my life.

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