As I reflect on Thanksgiving weekend, I recall those who’ve helped me and deserve my personal thanks. People who’ve made a difference in my life and helped me become the person I am by guiding me and being a positive influence in my life or career. These are the folks who are often forgotten when we give thanks at this time of year.
This is my opportunity to thank them.
Being a mother, wife, career woman and family caregiver certainly makes me who I am; I draw on those roles everyday in every part of my life and couldn’t image existing without them.
Every year at Thanksgiving, as a family we appreciate what we have and give thanks to those who’ve given us opportunities. Traditionally, Thanksgiving was a celebration of good harvest and the appreciation of plentiful food. Today, it’s an opportunity to be thankful for much more.
Sometimes the most obvious is forgotten. Here are my Thanksgiving wishes…
To my parents: My father, God rest his soul, gave me the ability to tell a good story. He was the greatest storyteller in the world. As a child, as far back as I can remember, before I lay down to sleep, he told me a bedtime story – not from a book, but from his book of life. Thank you Dad. Your kind, gentle wisdom taught me character.
My mother, who is the strongest and wisest woman I know, at 84, lives independently, plays 18 holes of golf and has the strength to withstand any obstacle that attempts to get in her way. I look to my mom for knowledge and understanding everyday and am so blessed to still have her in my life. She taught me to always take a chance and to never give up on myself. I can’t be more thankful that she instilled this in me.
To my husband: As a young nursing grad starting my new life and career, I got married and learned very fast that life is not easy, that you have to work for everything you attain and to fight for what you want. As a couple we made many mistakes – some we learned from, some we didn’t. But in the end, we realized how to build a life together. Being married taught me accountability, and my husband taught me common sense and how relevant it is in everyday life. I’m thankful and am mindful of how life can throw you a curve ball every once in a while.
To my children: Through our marriage we share our two beautiful, sometimes challenging, teenage girls. My oldest daughter, who’s left the nest for university, has sparked many emotions in me. I miss herdearly,however it’s a fabulous time in her life to start her journey. Handing our children the keys to independence is difficult, but there comes a time to let them explore and test the skills I’ve taught them. I thought I was well prepared to see my older daughter go for it, but I realized how hard it was for me as I drove away and watched her in the rearview mirror. Yup, I cried the whole 12-hour drive home. Still, my daughter taught me it’s OK to let go of the things you love, to trust your instincts and to be strong. I thank her for that.
My youngest daughter – who’s 16 going on 30 – right out of the gate taught me patience, although, some days I think I’m still learning this skill. She also taught me that grey is OK as a fashion trend because she’s given me enough grey hair. My youngest daughter is just like me and she reminds me that if I don’t have all the answers it’s OK, too. I realize how wise our children really are and I know my daughters will always be teaching me something. That’s the part of being a mother I’m most grateful for.
There are many people in my life to thank for giving me knowledge, confidence and helping me to be who I am – my school-age friends, my coach, my nursing school teachers and mentors, colleagues, my favourite bosses and my not so favourite bosses. There are so many key influencers that have come and gone in my 47 years with each person contributing incountless ways. And then there are those individuals who deserve credit for greater things, who’ve made a lasting impression and anunforgettable impact. There are a handful of people I owe that credit to – the ones who made me better at what I do.
Think long and hard. I’m sure you’ll recall influential people who guided you and helped make you the person you are.
A piece of advice: Thank them!
My Thanksgiving list wouldn’t be complete without thanking you. I hope you had a chance to give thanks to your family, friends and colleagues this past weekend. If not, make sure you do.