"Nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile".
As cliche as it is, today is a day to give thanks, express gratitude, and show love. And while I wish I were better at doing these things daily (hey, I’m working on it!), today is the day to play into the cliche and give thanks, express gratitude and show love to your loved ones, to special moments, and experiences that have shaped you.
The tail end of 2017 and beginning of 2018 very well might have been one of the roughest periods of my life, and yet, even with all of the negativity, hurt, tears and pain (both physical and emotional), I am grateful for the experiences (however negative or painful they may be), how those experiences have shaped me and for everyone who showed up and stayed.
Cheers to you and know that this is for you. Also know that no matter how many times (or in how many words) I try to say it, words could never ever truly express how thankful I am for these people, moments, or experiences. Simply put “You rock.” (But more deeply so, you are all my rocks.)
I aways ask people if you had 10 seconds to speak to your dog and your dog would understand you what would you say? 10 seconds would never be enough for all three of these pups. 10 seconds alone wouldn’t cover my ode to Chili, nevermind the other two. If you have been blessed enough to meet Chili, you know that he is a rock. (I would be thrilled to claim him as my rock, but again, if you’ve met him, he’s probably your rock too.) I’ve cried into this boy’s shoulder more times than I care to count and I swear to you he is more of a support system than some of my friends. He is solid, understanding and honestly, one of the most caring humans I have ever met. He is otherworldly, I don’t deserve him and I don’t know how I got so lucky.
Don’t know where to start with this girl. Whenever I say I have a sister, or talk about you to any one, the first words out of my mouth, consistently, are “I would literally die without her.” I do not know how to explain it other than that phrase because, quite literally, I would die without you. There are no words powerful enough, strong enough, or rich enough to describe what you mean to me or how you have shaped me, my life and my world. I could never say it enough and definitely remind you enough of how thankful and lucky and blessed I am to have you as a sister.
I am grateful that the world works in wonderous, weird and wild ways and that, somehow, these girls (Blair, too!) became fast friends and quick family. You are my soul sisters.
This brother of mine has quickly grown into the best man that I know. He embodies respect and grace. He shows kindness, compassion and drive. One day I hope to find a partner that matches Nathan’s dedication and loyalty. One of his very best friends has told me time and time again that Nate is the best man she has ever met. I’d echo that times ten.
And though sometimes I am not so willing to admit it, I am grateful for these boys. Whether they know it or not, they have helped me find my place in the word again and have helped to push me on the path to something that makes me feel alive again. Bennett (Banko) and I may argue and bicker like cats and dogs but I appreciate (sometimes) his realness. Collin (Kyral) unknowingly has helped me to feel more confident in my photography. Both have helped me to become more brave and outgoing. I wouldn’t dream of some of the opportunities I have had because of them, and I am forever grateful.
And, my god, am I thankful for this powerhouse of a woman. She pushes me further, harder, faster on the daily basis. She pushes me to be more brave, more alive, more willing. She has been there for me in my lowest of lows and has never judged me. She’s cried with me, shared across the classroom glances with me, and many WTF moments both personally and professionally. I wouldn’t be where or who I am without you.
And as much as I sometimes complain, I am thankful for these babies. While they keep me up all night and get me up every morning, they have every bit of my heart, so much so that sometimes it hurts. Every one of my 32 (and all my other loves from last year) have taught me their own life lesson this year. I cannot look past how much they shine. These children are full of love in a world of hate and lightness in a world of dark.
At this point, I have probably reached my “simply put” quota, as well as my wine quota. But in the spirit of the holidays, I am going to keep going. Simply put, you are my soul sister. You feel like home.
I am eternally grateful for this family, who has always accepted me as a part of their own family. I have put them on the same wild rollercoaster of a ride as my own family, except they chose to ride it out with me. These girls are both my sisters, friends and sometimes “enemies” or just simply put (sorry, last one I swear!) sisters who fight. Deanna has been there both for Eliza and I, Alyssa has been there for me even when she probably didn’t want to be there at all. Know that I grateful for every moment that we have shared and every time you have made fun of me, because this shows me that I am truly your family.
And, of course, I am grateful to my parents and grandparents (missing Grandpa Joe and Grandma Judy) for many more reasons than I could list but mostly for instilling in me fierce morals, endless hope and tireless compassion. Because you have given me the world, I feel as though I can give to the world.