What I'm thankful for this year

With the holidays fast approaching, I began thinking about what I’m grateful for. This year has brought many changes into my life, personally and professionally. Some things have been good, some bad and some have been very necessary and brought a huge measure of peace to my life.

I find that I’m very grateful for my family. Not that I’m not always grateful for them, because I am. I have 2 outstanding kids who bring me laughter and joy every day, supportive parents who’ve always been there for me, and a wealth of cousins that are more than just family but also friends.

But this year, I find myself particularly grateful, and feeling very connected to, a couple of family members in particular.

My mother’s father passed away in his sleep of a heart attack when I was about 5 years old. I don’t have many memories of my grandfather, having lost him so young, but what I do remember is that I loved him deeply. As I began to take photos many years ago, my mother commented that I seemed to have my grandfather’s talent for photography. As a kid/teen, I didn’t think much of this, since my hobbies and interests changed almost daily. But as I grew older, having children of my own, this began to mean more to me. It gave me a connection to my grandfather that I missed, since he’d died when I was so young.

My oldest son loves to draw. Last year for Christmas, I bought him a ton of art supplies: charcoal pencils, oil paints, watercolor pencils, a sketchbook and a jumbo sized sketchpad for when he comes up with something awesome he’d like to draw and then display. Not to sound biased, but my son has some real talent. As did my grandfather. My mother has a drawing hanging on her wall of a log cabin that my grandfather drew. This log cabin is amazingly detailed and every time I see it, I am astonished by the talent it took to draw that. I see in my son this same talent. It will take several years of dedication and practice for him to reach the same level as my grandfather’s drawing, but I see him getting there. I see him one day even making a career of this. And I feel even more connected to my grandfather because I see the connection between him and my son.

Both of my sons are good with photography as well. These connections, between me and them, and my grandfather and them, are something I am very grateful for.

My dad’s mom is an amazing woman. She’s been married to my grandfather (a not always happy man!) for 63 year. She and my grandfather love each other very much, and they love all 5 of their children, all 7 grandchildren, and all 10 grandchildren(although the 10th is not quite here yet!).

I’ve always been a very avid reader. For as long as I can remember, books have been a passion of mine. I’ve never forgotten the day I went to Walden Books with my grandmother in my local mall when I was somewhere between 10 and 12 years old. She was buying several romance novels. I’d never read one before, and asked her why she enjoyed them. I don’t remember her exact words, but the response was something to the effect of she enjoyed them and that was pretty much it. She offered to buy me one and I accepted. That book, the title and author of which I don’t remember, hooked me on romance novels. It also inspired me to want to write a novel one day myself.

My grandmother was always supportive. She was always willing to read something I’d written when she came to visit, and always had positive things to say about whatever she read. She insisted, often and loudly, that I needed to keep at it because I was talented and could do it.

Over the years, between being busy raising children and working a full time job and getting a few rejection letters on books I’ve written, I’d begun to give up on my writing. My grandmother never did. She persisted in telling me that I should not give up, that I should keep writing. No matter what else I was doing, she’d still say I should write.

I’m glad my grandmother believed in me, or I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing right now. Although I don’t yet make a lot of money at it, I am actually beginning to live my dream as a writer. Writing articles was never something I’d thought of doing when I was dreaming of my writing career. But I love it. I enjoy writing about the topics I cover for Examiner.com because they mean something to me. I’m passionate about them, and that makes writing about them easy. In my spare time, I am working on yet another novel, and have decided that giving up on being published is not something I’m going to do. After all, I’m being published for my nonfiction work; why wouldn’t I eventually be published for my fiction as well?

If not for my grandmother’s never-wavering faith in my talent, I wouldn’t be continuing to pursue my dream. I wouldn’t be seeing actual progress and the promise of more progress in that pursuit of my dream.

It is because of her that this website exists, that I applied for and was given not just one, but two columns with Examiner.com, and that I was accepted as a freelance contributor to Yahoo! Associated Content. It is because of her that I have written posts that have been featured on Modernmom.com.

I will never be able to adequately express how grateful I am to my grandmother for believing in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself. The closest I will ever get to that will be when I do finally publish my first novel, it will be dedicated to her.

So, as I prepare for Thanksgiving, this year I say thank you to my grandfather, for passing on talent to me, and to my sons, that connects us to him. And I say thank you to my grandmother, for believing in me and loving me always. I love you.