I am thankful for my daughter, even though she woke me up twice during the night and spent a lot of time glaring at me this morning while she was busy not getting dressed and ready for school. I am thankful for her curiosity and wit. I am thankful for her intelligence and insight. I am thankful for her empathy and kindness. I am thankful for her kisses and hugs and affectionate nature. I am thankful for her imagination and cleverness. I am thankful that she is flexible and adaptable. I am thankful for the time we spend together and the conversations we have. I am thankful that she is willing to give some of her toys to kids who don’t have many. I am thankful that she is a good eater and generally healthy. I am thankful that she makes friends easily and tries to be brave even when she is terrified.

I am thankful for my husband, who is unbelievably kind to and patient with me, whether or not I deserve it. I am thankful that he gets me. I am thankful that he is fun and silly. I am thankful that he always wants to learn more and figure things out and improve himself. I am thankful that he helps. I am thankful that he’s an incredibly devoted dad. I am thankful that he plans mystery dates for us and they’re always fun. I am thankful that he gives me massages. I am thankful that he finds hilarious the same things I do. I am thankful that we are evenly matched at board games. I am thankful that he is insanely passionate about music and that he has taught me about classical music and shared beautiful works with me. I am thankful that he has made me a soccer fan. I am thankful that he has supported me in running my business even though it hasn’t always been easy for us. I am thankful that he is always there for me.

I am thankful for my family, with whom I am terrifically fortunate to be close and have wonderful relationships with. My parents, my sister, and my brother-in-law all now live within a few miles and it is wonderful to all be together whenever we want instead of just at Christmas. I am thankful to have always had a positive relationship with my sister, as it’s evolved from me thinking I’m her second mother to two adults who share challenges and joys. I am thankful that my parents did a good job raising us and continue to support us in any way that we possibly need as we are adults. I am thankful that they have such a close relationship with Zoe and that she has been able to spend so much time with them. I am thankful they have helped with her so much so I can work or we can go on dates. I am thankful for everything my parents have shared with me and taught me and how they do not judge me and they do not tell me what to do.

I am thankful for my friends. I have not often had a best friend as an adult or a tight little group of friends, which I have sometimes lamented. But I do have wonderful, kind, generous, fun, nurturing friends who I am proud to have in my life. I have friends from elementary school and high school and college and various places I’ve worked, and churches I’ve belonged to, and Zoe’s preschool, friends who started out as clients, and friends who I’ve met through other friends. I am thankful for their love and whatever time we get to spend together, even though it’s not as much as we used to. I have friends of all ages. I am thankful for friends who trust me and friends who listen and friends who’ve brought food in hard times and friends who I could bring food to. I am thankful for meals with friends and emails from friends and friends who I hardly ever see but who I still keep in my heart always.

I am thankful for my work. I have known I wanted to be a writer since I was eight years old. I thought I would be a journalist because it runs in my family, but it turns out that wasn’t the right track for me. I have also always volunteered for nonprofits, since high school. Somehow I never knew you could work for nonprofits until after college. My entire career has been spent writing for nonprofits, and for the past seven years I have been lucky enough to run my own business helping nonprofits tell their stories. I love what I do. I love the variety. I love the people I work with who work like crazy to serve others. I love learning about the excellent work they’re doing on behalf of people who really need help. I am so thankful to have the opportunity to combine my love of writing with my love of service. I am also thankful my husband has a regular job so that the erratic cashflow that comes with being a freelance writer doesn’t keep us from paying our bills.

I am thankful for the practice of gratitude.