|Throw back to three years ago, when my sister got her class ring the same day Brad put a ring on my finger.|
First, I am thankful for my husband, who is one of the kindest and most patient people I have ever met. For the last few months, while I have struggled to navigate the rugged terrain associated with being a new teacher, he has made sure I have clean clothes to wear, food to eat, and a clean (sometimes cleanish) house to come home to. He has laughed with me over small mishaps, been friendly to my coworkers, fixed things in my classroom and volunteered at my school. He has also reminded me daily that I do not have to do it all, and while I sometimes struggle to listen, it is still nice to hear that he does not expect me to wear my Wonder Woman cape full time.
Our dogs Kona and Sage have proved to be a blessing in our lives. Our planned puppy, Sage, makes me laugh daily as she attempts to navigate the world on her too big puppy paws. Kona is our sky dog that we never expected to have, and is one of my favorite things to come home to. She needed a new home quickly, and we took her on a leap of faith and a prayer. The friend who gave her to us kept saying she couldn't believe how nice we were to take her and to try to make it as easy for my friend as possible.
She reminded me how lucky we are to be surrounded by so many wonderful friends and family. Six months ago, when I was preparing to transition jobs, I was feeling very insecure and alone. I prayed almost daily to find a support system at my new job. My prayers were answered in a variety of forms and I could not be more appreciative. Beth Brown, who has become, as my mother puts it "my Juanita" after her best friend who is willing to tackle any project, big or small, so long as they are in it together, has been the person I tell all my funny kid quotes to, as well as my shoulder to lean on after a rough day. Teresa Woods, who is my mentor, co-teacher and friend, tells me weekly that I am doing a good job, and makes sure that administration knows it as well. The rest of the first grade teachers have offered me everything from advice, to food, to a closet to hide in should I ever need it.
However, I had forgotten in my fear, just how supportive this family can be. Thank you Bev for giving me tips for dealing with parents, and for offering to help me to set up my classroom. Thank you Carter and Lanaux for the flowers you sent me the first week, that arrived just when I needed them. And thank you everyone else in the family for simply hoping and believing with me.
I am also exceedingly grateful for my grandparents, who have given us a tremendous gift by allowing us to renovate and live in their trailer until we can afford to get our own house built. With us in this endeavor have been Jake and Juanita Burnopp, who have helped us as if we were their own and worked with us to take said trailer from death trap to downright charming.
However, the people I will never be able to say thank you enough times to are my parents, who have guided and supported us through everything. Additionally, they have continually provided a great amount of love and support to our friends. How many people do you know that would cancel their dinner reservations to have an impromptu wine and cheese night with their kid's best friend who is in from out of town, or casually tell my friend who worries constantly about raising her daughter well, that she is a good mom.
I am reminded daily that they have raised my beautiful, smart, intelligent and courageous sister and I to be strong, capable women. I am thankful that we were both taught to fight for what is right, stick to or principles, never settle for anything less than what is best, and most importantly to stand by each other. This is especially important because I am thankful to have someone as strong, smart, and brave on my side, as Ally, and would definitely rather has her as my friend and sister than as my enemy. Although she is not with us physically this year, and is fighting the battle of her life at the moment, I have total faith that she will come out on the other side a winner, and that the world will be a better place for her having been through this.
Lastly, I am thankful for hope of a better tomorrow. I am thankful for this hope being shown in tiny ways to me each and every day. I am thankful I get to work at a job where I see children committing acts of kindness and becoming better people on a daily basis. I am thankful to see laws changing so that everyone can enjoy the same rights to marriage, family and let's be honest, tax benefits. I am thankful that more weddings mean more wedding cake. I am thankful for babies born into this family and the amount of love I know will surround them. I am thankful this family will always set one more place around the table and extending the love that this family represents. I am thankful that our family is all accepting whether you have a GED or a PHD. I am thankful because as long as our values keep getting passed along, there is hope for a better world.