Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving... I'm one of those cynical people who always thinks of the smallpox and the horrific treatment of the Native Americans at the beginning of this country when thinking about Thanksgiving, and the hypocrisy of the holiday’s origins makes it difficult for me.  Thanksgiving is one of those holidays I can take or leave.  So this year, we are "leaving" it.  In fact, since we've moved to GC, I have made it a point to try and avoid all travel on this holiday.  This policy was born I think, more from the need to retain sanity than anything else, truth be told.  When B was little, he was not a good traveler.  If he had to sleep in a bed that wasn't his, he almost inevitably had night terrors.  This went on until he was about 4.  When H came along, there was the issue of traveling with two little ones.  What with sleeping on couches and/or sleeping with two kids kicking me on either side, I decided I was not going to travel anywhere that couldn't be returned from on the same day.  Because our town is definitely NOT a "destination spot" and everyone has just come to see us for the kids' birthdays, no one wants to travel to see us.  What's more, my kids don't like turkey, they don't like stuffing, and they don't like pumpkin pie. (H will probably have a Thanksgiving Ramen, in fact).  And yet...Steve and my sense of tradition have convinced me to have a small Thanksgiving, just for the two of us to eat.  

My personal feelings about the origin and history of Thanksgiving, aside, I do appreciate the sentiment behind it.  And this year, I have a lot to be thankful for.  We actually got through an entire year without having to take one of the kids the emergency room!  This sounds like a joke, but it's really not.  We have been to the ER for the children 4 out of the 7 years that H has been alive.  This year, they have both been healthy and happy.  My husband and I celebrated our 13 year wedding anniversary this year, and our relationship is stronger than ever. We have weathered some pretty hard times, what with work and lack thereof.  Rather than creating tension between us, I think it has brought us closer together and I know that I appreciate him more now than I should have done.  

I finally, finally became a partner at my firm.  While the reality of that situation is that things have not really changed much, I at least feel secure in my job.  I understand that now I have a stake in the business, it's actually more work and more worry than before, but I also feel like it's work and worry with some "value."  I am very thankful to have such wonderful staff and colleagues, who are willing to work with (and through) the craziness that is sometimes ME; that were willing to step up and take care of my practice when I was out with the flu - going above and beyond what was asked of them to make my life easier when I finally got back to work.  To have a business partner with whom I can discuss any question, concern, strategy and fear without thought of recrimination or exasperation.  This is a rare gift and while our styles could not be any different, my business partner and I complement each other like two halves of a whole. For that I am truly thankful. 

I have been challenged and survived (and, dare I say, excelled at) some very new experiences in my practice which I know have made me a better, more compassionate, yet more effective and assertive attorney. This year I feel as if I have come into my own in my profession.  For the first time, I feel that I have the respect of other attorneys and the judges I work with, and that I deserve it.  Anyone who knows me knows that this is a BIG deal for me.  (I mean, I'm the third daughter of a machinist and a homemaker, who grew up in a tiny town.  Who am I to be advising people what to do?!) This year, I learned that who I am and where I came from is what makes me good at my job.   

Finally, I am thankful for my friends who are also working, professional parents, who are there for support, advice and just plain fun. For the understanding and sympathy I get when I am ready to pull my hair out or give up; for the advice, some even professional!, given without judgment, when I ask “What in the H am I supposed to do?!”  Life is hard, keeping a family together is hard.  But with such supports, I know I won’t fail.  So, I will be Thankful tomorrow, and continue to be thankful every day that I get to be me - wife to a wonderful husband, mom to some fantastic kids, attorney with a practice that I love and friends that I love.  Origins of the holiday regardless.   


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