Even though our Christmas decorations are up, I'm still eating Thanksgiving left overs, so I think it's still appropriate to share some of the things I've been feeling grateful for lately.
TEACHING | During my free period on the last day of school before Thanksgiving, in walked one of my students from last year. He waited patiently for me to get off the phone, and then presented me with this hand written thank you card:
"Thank you for teaching me grammar and supporting me when I didn't get something or was down. You were always happy and kind. Once again, thank you for teaching me."
Soon after he left, several more students came in with similar notes. And at the end of the day, a colorful stack sat waiting for me in my mailbox.
"You were funny, and felt more like a friend than a teacher."
"I want to take the time to tell you how thankful I am to have had you as a teacher. Even after I left you still help me make breakthroughs."
"I have missed you and I always will."
"The enthusiasm you have for teaching is very infectious, and it always made me look forward to your classes I had with you."
"You really affected me because I learned LOTS of new things from you never giving up on a subject even if there was only one student that didn't understand."
"One thing I remember is when you let me stay after class because I was crying. And when you let [us] come into your 2nd hour and watch Harry Potter. I'm so grateful that you left Texas for us."
And I cried. They thanked me for teaching them about dead verbs and the Oxford comma. Most of them mentioned something specific that they remembered and appreciated about my class from last year. All of them made me proud to be a teacher and to have had been a small part of their lives. And not a grammatical error in the bunch :) Bravo to the 7th grade teachers who gave their students time to do this!
FAMILY | Early on Thanksgiving morning, my sister in-law's water broke. I happened to be on the phone with my mom when she got the news- so exciting! Mom had to scurry off the phone and finish her food assignments for the big, extended family dinner, so she could watch my nephew Clark until his baby sister arrived. I hardly admitted it to myself, but all of the excitement made it even harder to be away. We had such a happy Thanksgiving with our friends here in Minnesota, but anyone with a heart will be missing their family this time of year!
The sweetest thing happened when I got home from dinner though. Matt had left for a night shift and my big brother, now father of two, FaceTimed me to let me meet my new niece (who has the same long red hair that I had when I was born). While we were chatting about baby names (they later settled on Penny Layne), in walked my parents with my little nephew Clark, there to meet his baby sister for the first time. And I was there for it!
And I cried. Again. It meant to so much to be this far away and get to be there for that moment.
BLACK FRIDAY | I'm new to the Black Friday scene. I usually only hit a couple stores, just because, and I still can't convince myself that any sale is worth too big of a crowd. I went out by myself while Matt was sleeping off his night shift- So many pretty Buy One Get One deals! But my tried and true techniques for keeping consumerism in check won the day, and I put most of my cart back and plan to return half of my purchases. Still! It was just fun to shop! I went back out later with Matt, and he made some very handsome additions to his wardrobe, all for 50% off!
His: sweater | white & grey shirt | blue and white shirt | plaid shirt
& Hers: 4x6 frame | 5x7 matted frame | towels | copper frame | candles
GILMORE GIRLS | I grew up watching Gilmore Girls. I've watched and re-watched the series- it's a "background noise" go-to for me. So it was really fun to watch four new episodes over Thanksgiving weekend. The new episodes were worth watching, but they highlighted nearly everything I don't like about the original series. Are they trying too hard with the writing? Do I even like Rory anymore? WHY are we spending so much time on THIS??? Why is Rory dating HIM? How come Lorelei doesn't get it?!?!
Already though, I'm thinking about when I'll watch it again. I guess I just like visiting Stars Hollow :)
FRIENDS | I just realized that this was our very first Thanksgiving without family. We kept our chins up and showed a true "needs must" attitude, but it was really our friends and neighbors who made (and make) Minnesota feel like home. Besides Thanksgiving dinner, which we had with friends from Matt's residency, we had a Chili night "Friendsgiving" at our neighbors' early in December and an early Thanksgiving dinner in our home with several of our closest friends. Other friends and colleagues checked in to make sure we had somewhere to go for Thanksgiving, offering their own homes if we had no where to go. Minnesota nice is real thing. These are good people. And between my job and his, our neighborhood and our church, there are a lot of friends we're grateful for this year.
And the list could easily go on and on, but I'll stop here. Just a snapshot of what I was grateful for this weekend as we celebrated the holiday. Little things and big. Happy Thanksgiving!