Being thankful

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This time last year, many were having “socially distanced” Thanksgiving celebrations. This year, most are able to gather together again if they are so blessed.

If we have learned anything during this pandemic, it is to be grateful for the normal, mundane and — dare we say — “everyday” things.

Happiness and health are a gift. If we can add some turkey and stuffing that’s just icing on the cake — or whipped cream on the pumpkin pie, as the case may be.

There are so many amazing and wonderful things to be grateful for in this season: our health, home, business, careers, engagement, scholarship and more. I have a warm house, happy family and adorable wiggly dogs that are happy to see me each day.

I think what I really need to do is sit back and list so many of the things I have to be thankful for this year. I encourage all of you to do the same.

I am eternally grateful for:

Snuggling with our adorable dogs. Yes, my dogs got top billing. Not because I love them more but because they love me so much. There is a reason empty nest parents tend to adopt dogs. They make amazing child replacements.

If spoiled properly, dogs require care, feeding, bathing, snacks, meals and entertainment and behave as if I’ve returned from abroad every time I arrive home. This is heady stuff.

Almost losing our Nova this year made me appreciate them all the more. Dogs are part of our world and we are all of theirs. I cherish my time with these souls.

Compliments to our children. I am first and foremost a parent, no matter how old our children are. I love hearing they are kind and accomplished people. As a mother, raising good humans was my utmost goal. Feedback that our “build your own human, no experience necessary” experiment was successful is always nice to hear.

Great conversation. I love a good story. Make me laugh or make me cry, but make me feel something. Engaging conversations are food for the soul.

Fan mail. Speaking of conversation, every single time someone takes a moment to share their lives and joys with me, I appreciate it so very much.

No alarm mornings. I am not much for sleeping late in the traditional sense. I tend to be an early riser. I have those adorable dogs after all. There is just something special about knowing I can wake up on my own — or at least to a cute wet nose of a loving dog – rather than an alarm clock. There is something about coffee in a quiet house that just restores me.

Puttering. This is what I call being able to just dive into a project at home. Whether it be painting or renovating or just organizing a closet or rearranging furniture, I love being at home. An entire day with nothing I “have” to do and nowhere I have to be is just about the best thing in the world to me.

Clean home. A clean and organized home that smells nice and meets our needs is my happy place. When Mr. Wonderful is on board and works with me -— often to make it bigger and better — that’s just about the best feeling there is. We have been in it together since 1996.

Inside jokes and family stories. When my cousins and I get our family on the deepest level and laugh about it, it’s the best. From “Target? I’m not going to Target!” in relation to a vacuum cleaner (you had to be there), to the umpteenth telling of the time my uncle as a young boy finished saying dinner prayer “God Bless Grace …  and all the other pretty girls.” Shared tales are the fabric of family. Laughing repeatedly at them reminds us anew.

Church clarity. When a moment in the church service really hits home, I feel immense gratitude. I’m far from perfect. My mind does wander. Then at some point in every sermon a moment of clarity zings into my brain. Words become feelings. It’s deeply spiritual.

Boat people. How I love floating in “Party Cove” off the boat and listening to family and friends laugh and splash. We are boat people. It’s not new, but our boat is among my favorite places in the world. The smell of sunscreen will forever have my heart.

Love. Finally, I give thanks for the words, “I Love you.” I say “I love you” often and to many people. Family and friends deserve to hear it because it is absolutely true. I cherish my people above all else.

As we give thanks this year, I will appreciate those gathered around the table — and those near and dear to my heart, if not my immediate locale.

On Thanksgiving, I give thanks for who — not what — we have been blessed with.

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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