After a particularly horrendous week, I feel the need to stop wallowing in self-pity and take stock of the good parts of my life. Here are some of the people and things I am grateful for:
1. Jim. He came into my life 2 years ago…I waited a long time to find the “right guy.” He is gentle, loving, supportive, and a great dad (and stepdad – how many stepdads help their stepdaughters dye their hair?). Jim drives the kids wherever they need to go. Our birthdays are four days (and one year) apart – we’re so alike it’s scary. We rarely fight because we know why the other one reacts that way. We love to travel on short trips, and go to concerts and shows.
Jim and I at the Eagles Concert - Magnetic Hill, Moncton, Summer, 2008
2. My parents. My mom died in September, 2007, but she raised me to be a strong, independent woman. I will always remember what she taught me. My dad came to live with me to help with the kids after my marriage broke up (he’s been with me for almost 12 years now). We run the bookstore together, and he does a lot of chores around the house. We don’t always see eye to eye (we’re both stubborn!), but get along well most of the time.
3. My kids and stepkids. All of them are smart, and reasonably well-mannered.
Kaylee is the oldest – the mommy of my granddaughter (see #4). She has expressed interest in being either a photographer like her Gramma was, or a radio person like her dad. Kaylee lives with her man, Scott. They both work hard to raise Elise.
Scott and Kaylee...
Devin is Jim’s son and our only boy. He is our junior techie, and keeps the many household computers running. Devin is part of the tech crew at school, and has put in some very long hours working behind the scenes on their theatrical productions. He lets our dog sleep in his room at night while the rest of us are upstairs.
Anna is my middle daughter. She is a talented artist and photographer, and active on her school’s cheerleading squad. Anna is our fashion plate and delights in spending my money.
Brianna is Jim’s daughter. She also does cheerleading. Brianna is our giggling girl. She loves jumping on the trampoline. Brianna also enjoys drawing, and likes dogs.
Hope is our youngest. She is an amazing singer. She takes care of Jake, making sure he’s bathed, walked and fed. Hope is our most assertive child – if we forget to get ketchup at the fast food joint, she will go back and ask for some.
Kids in Shediac - Summer, 2009
4. Elise. This little sweetheart is only 7 1/2 months old, but she has stolen my heart. I always said I wouldn’t be one of those grammas who carries a photo album around in my purse, but I do anyway (just in case I run into someone who doesn’t have Facebook).
Elise - Seven Months...
5. Jake. Even though he’s been “in the doghouse” all week for destroying my seedlings THREE times, I don’t know what we’d do without him! Every morning when we come downstairs, he greets us at the door with tailwagging and kisses. When we come home from work, he tries to look innocent, even though he’s probably destroyed something while we were gone!
6. Jim’s parents. They help transport children to and fro, and hold family dinners at their house. They got medicine for us when we were all sick with the flu. They have welcomed me to their family with open arms – I couldn’t ask for better in-laws.
Jim's Mom at her 70th Birthday Party...
7. Our extended family. We both have siblings, nieces and nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins, who we don’t get to see as often as we’d like, but we always have a great time when we do get together.
8. My friends. I have been fortunate to make some wonderful friends in many cities across Canada and the U.S. You know who you are – I love you all!
9. Our country home. We moved in almost 18 months ago. I appreciate our picturesque view of the river and the hills on the other side every day. We all enjoy seeing the variety of wildlife and birds who live here: deer, foxes, beavers, porcupines, raccoons, groundhogs, the occasional garter snake, eagles, hawks, ducks, seagulls, chickadees, goldfinches, robins, starlings and crows (haven’t seen a skunk yet, and hope not to!).
A Bird in Our Yard (taken by Jim)
10. My business. I spend the day surrounded by old books. Not much makes me happier than finding a gorgeous binding from the 1880’s with gilt-edged pages! I have met some very interesting people through the store, and I learn new things every day.
Our Curved Front Door at the Store...
Thank you, everyone, for being an important part of my life…you’ve all helped make me the person I am today!