I continually reflect on what I’m thankful for throughout the year, not just on Thanksgiving Day or weekend.  However, I rarely put it in list form.  Let’s see how many I can rhyme off without taking too much of your time.

1. I am thankful for my husband, my best friend, my rock, my soul mate, my Mikey.  He has been by my side for more than half my life and has been my one constant through it all.  For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, through good times and bad.  There’s not a lot we have’t gone through together.  I am thankful he has never turned his back on me.

2. I am thankful for my oldest son, Matthew.  He has taught me more about life than I could ever hope to teach him.  He has shown me what dedication, determination and love is really all about.  He has introduced me to a foreign world that I knew nothing about and taught me that anything is possibly, when the time is right.  He has shown me that autism doesn’t define who he is; he defines autism.  He has allowed me to dig deep within my heart to make sure the world is ready for him.  He has encouraged me to step up to the plate and advocate for his rights and encourage changes for all who need assistance.  He has shown me that he is indeed independent, even if it’s in that rebellious short of way that all teenagers struggle with.  He has taught me that it’s ok to be different, not less.

3. I am thankful for my Angel in the stars.  Emily changed my world 12 years ago.  Her short journey had life-altering effects on who I am as a person.  Again, my girl helps me help others.  Because of her I have been able to share a story that lets others know they are not alone.

4. I am thankful for my youngest son, Marcus.  Just when we thought life was going along tickety-boo, Marcus had other ideas.  He surprised us from the get-go and continues to stop us all in our tracks every day.  A real comedian with the biggest, brownest, most gorgeous eyes ever; he’s certainly made a huge impact on our family in only 6 short years.  He is my softie with a heart of gold and a stubborn streak that puts me to shame.  I look forward to sitting back and watching the good he’s going to do in this world.

5. I am thankful for my Mom and Dad.  With me since day 1 they are my biggest fans and wisest critics.  They set the wheels in motion for the person I have become.  They laid out the morals and values they felt I needed to walk this road and even though I may have bucked them a time or two they remained firm and guided me in the direction they hoped I would travel.  They cheered, they taught, they advised, they reprimanded, they laughed, they cried, they encouraged, they discouraged, they expected, they demanded, they sat back, they stepped in, they loved.  They parented.  Period.

6. I am thankful for my sister.  Even though we fought like cats and dogs in the early years we ended up being closer than close during our latter teen years.  We hung out, we shared common interests, we laughed, we cried, we were each others confidant.  We will always be each others ‘only’.  With families of our own and schedules that keep us both going nonstop we are always just a call or message away.  I can always count on her to be my words of wisdom, my reality check and the voice of honesty when I need it most.  She’s the most real person I know I am glad she’s my ‘only’.

7. I am thankful for a job I enjoy going to.  After almost 14 years I still get up each morning and enjoy going to work.  I have met some wonderful people over the years who have allowed me to share in some of their darkest moments and their brightest days.  I have been humbled to work with customers who have included me in their lives and shared much of what they have to offer with me.  With the work I do I have developed relationships with people that has extended beyond Monday – Friday, 8:30 – 4:30.  I have visited their homes and invited others into mine.  I have made many friends, some of which I have helped and others have helped me far beyond the scope of heating oil related business.

8. I am thankful for my home.  Almost two years we ago we decided it was time for change.  Change is often scary and always unpredictable.  Even though many were skeptical, 15 months after we made it official, I can honestly say that we probably made the best decision we ever could have made by relocating.  Our newly found love of country living has done more good for all of us than I could have ever imagined.

9. I am thankful for extended family members.  For cousins and their spouses that have gone from my babysitters years ago to my friends today.  Cousins that have embraced my boys and love them unconditionally.  Cousins that have welcomed my husband and included him as a ‘brother’, giving him the sense of sibling worth that he never thought he’d experience as an only child.

10. I am thankful for my closest friend and confidant.  Even though she is provinces away she is always close by.  She has taught me that two people who are very different can still be so very much alike.  She has taught me it’s ok to pull back a little bit and that quality speaks volumes over quantity.

11. I am thankful for lessons learned.  For being heartbroken, for being used, for being bullied, for being blatantly ignored, for being judged, for being lied to, for being talked about, for being laughed at, for being discarded when I was no longer useful, for being the only one excluded time and time again, for being blamed.  I am so thankful for all the lessons I learned because of the way so many people chose to treat me and my family.  I am thankful that my ability to hold my head high and live my life through my eyes will take me farther than feeding into the negativity that has followed me and will continue to follow me throughout my life.

12. I am thankful for nature and for being given a second chance to appreciate something I took advantage of for many years.

13. I am thankful that I don’t have a lot of money.  I have what I need and I appreciate what I have.  I remember where I came from and I work hard to provide an honest upbringing for my boys.  It’s not about the bottom line of the bank account.  It’s not about the ‘stuff’.  It’s not about flaunting in the face of others.  It’s about being real.  And I am thankful to say I am real.  What you see is what you get.

14. I am thankful for the confidence I have to stand up for myself and be my own person based on who I am and not how I want others to perceive me.  I am proud and pleased with who I am and continue to always make sure I am accountable to myself and my family.

15. I am thankful for my love of music and for being able to share that love with my husband.  It is because of that love that we met and it continues to be an integral part of who we are as a couple.  Music is the universal language that speaks to every heart in every circumstance.  I am equally thankful that our sons appreciate all genres of music the way we do.

16. I am thankful to those of you who take a few minutes to read my posts each time I add an entry.  I hope some of what I write about strikes a chord with you, that I have been able to open your eyes to something new and that I have put a smile on your face a time or two.  Without you reading, I wouldn’t be fueled as much as I am to write.

17. I am thankful to have written a list so lengthy.  I know I could keep going far beyond the words listed here but sometimes less is more.

18. I am thankful to have this glorious afternoon with my family.

19. I am thankful for the opportunity to give thanks.

Until next time….

About angeloftheisland

Welcome to An Angel’s Island. I’m Tracey (aka angeloftheisland). I’m also Mom to 19 year old Matthew who constantly keeps me on my toes. He’s our “special” boy who shows us daily how he deals with the world of ADHD, a Nonverbal Learning Disorder and Asperger’s Syndrome. He’s my hero. Marcus is 8 and reminds me everyday that he’s in no way going to make the school years boring for his Dad and me!! I’m also wife to Mike for 25 years now. Mike is my best friend and soul-mate and he has showed me over the years, that yes – dreams do come true. Our life may not be the most exciting but there’s always something going on. Welcome to our Happy Place, newly renamed Hilliard's Happy Hideaway. I hope you enjoy what I’ve shared about our family.
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