How Being a Mom Changed the Meaning of Gratitude This Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! Turkey cheese plate.

Happy Thanksgiving!

‘Tis the season for food, family and gratitude! I plan to spend my day alternately feigning interest in football and pretending to help in the kitchen. As the day progresses I will be thinking about the many things I am grateful for and how much that list has evolved over the years.

As kids, we were required to share one thing we were grateful for before we could start savagely devouring our meal. This obligatory exercise inspired my brothers and I to cough up such bratty responses as “everything that’s not alive”.

With time I came to realize how lucky I am to take so many aspects of my life for granted every day. I rarely stop to think about my health, family, friends, home and career. My good fortune has allowed me to spend three decades of Thanksgivings surrounded by enough friends and family to feel wrapped in love but not so many as to skew the food-to-person ratio.

Today is my first Thanksgiving as a mom and somehow this one feels different. I am grateful for many of the same things but the reasons behind my gratitude have changed and the level of gratitude has intensified.

I am grateful for my husband.

He has become my coparent, birth-partner, exta set of hands and the other half of my sleep deprivation tag-team. Most of all he has become a Dad and I am so grateful that I got to watch that transformation take place.

I am grateful for our parents.

We turned four awesome people with a collective seven kids of their own into first-time grandparents this year. They logged years of putting us first and they continue to find ways to make our hectic lives more manageable. Now they are reaping the benefits and they deserve every bit of the joy they get from snuggling, playing with and spoiling our baby boy.

I am grateful for our friends

Our friends kept me sane and connected during my maternity leave. They traveled far and wide to meet our little guy. Today they continue to entertain, support and include us even though a typical weekend these days is barely recognizable compared to the irresponsible weekends of our past.

I am grateful for my health.

Thanks to my good health I am able to nurse my little man and run with him in his jogging stroller. I can survive on minimal sleep and lug him around with me everywhere. More recently, I have the stamina I need to chase him throughout our not-very-well-baby-proofed house.

I am grateful for my job.

Because of our jobs we have never had to forego holiday gifts and travel in order to keep the lights on and put food on the table. My job has given me the flexibility to be the kind of parent I insist on being. My coworkers are quick to support me and cover for me every time daycare calls.

I am grateful for my son.

And for every minute I get to spend making him laugh, giving him a bath, feeding him, rocking him to sleep and making sure he knows how loved he is.

Eventually Thanksgiving will come to an anticlimactic end after the ten minutes it takes me to eat myself to sleep. But this year I know that my gratitude will linger long after we’ve eaten the last of the leftovers.

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone gets to enjoy some fun, food-filled festivities and some down time.

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