It's that time once again for this year's edition of I Give Thanks. As I do each year around this time, I am looking back at my life in 2012 and everything for which I am thankful. And at the same time I am setting my plans and goals for 2013.
This year, I give thanks for . . .
- My ancestors and their colorful history. That they persevered and scratched out a life when they landed in America. From Jan Pootman who arrived in 1661 in Albany, New York, to Matthew McGinnes who came from Ireland and became a citizen in 1888. They have taught me that nothing should be taken for granted and that the world doesn't owe you a thing. You make the world you live in.
- A nation where I can enjoy many freedoms that others cannot.
- The strong, independent women in my life - both the dead and the living - who decided that they weren't going to accept life at face value or the way society told them to. These women were fairly conservative, mostly poor, and didn't see themselves as suffragettes or feminists or women's libbers. They just had an innate sense of what was right. And did what they had to do to give their children more than just food and shelter. They gave the gifts of opportunity, laughter, hugs, shoulders to cry on, examples of how to live, faith, wisdom and love.
- The men in my life even given the fact that they have often left all too soon. Grandfathers, fathers and brothers who started families but didn't stick around to see how they finished. These men have taught me how not to behave, how not to treat women and children, and how not to handle responsibility.
- The ability to get out of bed each morning, of my own will and strength.
- The wisdom to understand the difference between what I must do and what I want to do. Most days I am truly blessed, for they are the same.
- That I live in a time and place where I can be who I am. And I can accept others as they are. And I can voice an opinion. And I can listen to the views of others.
- The knowledge that I must let go of what is in my hands in order to receive the next gift.
- The desire to play the entire keyboard that is life, not just the most common keys.
- An online community of genealogy colleagues whose support is equal to none.
- The family of fellow geneabloggers, how they inspire me, how they challenge me, how they make me think. They are more than just a group of memory gatherers: they animate facts such as birth dates and death dates; they bring to life how their ancestors lived and loved; and they often share the personal, from reflections to feelings, from past to present.
- A career in genealogy and family history, doing what I absolutely love.
- A sense of humor.
- A roof over my head and a meal on the table.
- The responsibility and duty of caring for an aging parent. I am thankful for the journey that is and has been Mom. Where we've traveled, especially in the past 12 years, is not a trip you'll ever find in a guide book. Despite all that's been written about Alzheimer's Disease, especially early-onset, no guide book exists, for each journey is unique. I can never say thank you enough not just to the woman who brought me into this world but to someone from whom I learned life's lessons. Mom gave me my work ethic, my sensitivity, my love of learning. We didn't always agree but she also let me know that was okay too. She also taught me how to say, "Thank You."
- The friends and loved ones who have passed on this year and what their lives meant to me.
- A universe that bends towards justice.
- Memories of what was and the hope for what may be.
I give thanks.
© 2012, copyright Thomas MacEntee