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What I'm REAL-ly Thankful for this Month

Photo by: iStock

It is not lost on me that National Adoption month occurs in a month we set aside for thankfulness. Sometimes, I look at my life, I watch my kids -fighting over stuff- playing together and things just seem so… surreal. I usually hate it when people describe situations as “surreal” because I’m never sure what exactly they’re trying to say, but it seems to be the only word that fits here.

I don’t remember what I envisioned my life would be when I was in my middle years, (I turned 49 this year, so I can say “middle years” without wincing). Fact is, I probably never envisioned much of anything because the young rarely think about getting old, right? It always seems far off and them BAM. You’re there. You’re “old-er.”

Regardless of how I did or didn’t picture my life, I am thankful for the things I have and the people in it, and I need to do a better job of remembering the good stuff when I get pissed off about the wireless dropping or the long line at Starbucks.

Since I can be kind of a “get wound up by the small stuff happening in the moment” kind of girl, I thought I would take a minute and remember some things I’m really thankful for:

1. I am thankful I spoke the words, “hey, we should think about adoption,” out loud to my husband on a March day in 2011. It was kind of on a whim, to be perfectly honest. Adoption was something I’d always wanted to do, but I’d looked into it enough to understand the complexities and enough to know that wanting and doing were worlds apart.

2. I am thankful that I persisted when he gave me the, what-the-hell-have-you-lost-your-mind-woman look.

3. I am thankful for my husband and the strength of our relationship because adoption is hard. Parenting is hard. Our adoptions were hard even when other people thought they weren’t; in a hundred ways I can’t even begin to describe. Had I not had him, I would have completely and truly lost my mind. He does stuff that frustrates the hell out of me like leaving his dirty clothes ON TOP OF THE FREAKING LAUNDRY HAMPER but he really is my partner in every sense and I’m thankful we get to be parents together. But, not thankful about the whole hamper thing. Get it together, husband.

4. I am thankful for the birth mothers of my sons and the fact that they chose life and an adoption plan that allowed them to be cared for safely. I struggle every day with the fact that I don’t know specifics and the knowledge that meeting these two women is highly unlikely.

5. I’m thankful for my sons and the experience of getting to be a boy mom – every loud bit of it – even when I have to use a ladder to retrieve the Nerf darts.

6. I’m thankful for the full experience of motherhood. I’m thankful for my first-born, biological daughter and my own mom, in very different ways.

7. I’m thankful for the support I have, as a mom, a writer and a human being, even though it’s come from places I didn’t expect it to come from.

8. While it seems cliché to say so, I’m thankful that I’m healthy. Compared to most demographics, I’m older than the average mom of Kindergarteners. And while my back creaks and pops when I bend over the bathtub and while I curse every time my boys wake me up at the butt-crack of dawn and rob me of sleep I so desperately need, I am thankful that I have a strong body. I tell myself that my young kids are keeping me young, even though they’re really running me ragged and giving me wrinkles.

When I first sat down to write this, I described the path that my life had taken as “surreal.” Maybe I was trying to describe that look inward as something I am surprised about. I’m not sure what I expected my life to be? I’m not really one of those people who ever had a plan. Maybe I’m confusing “surreal” with the feeling of wonder and sometimes, the feelings of “WTF” when I really stop and think about my life: where I’ve been, where I am and where I’m going.

But, I think surreal is the wrong word. Things are pretty real, in fact, I don’t see how things could be any less real than they are.

My kids are real.

My love is real.

My feelings of “some days I don’t know what I’m doing” is real.

Yes, adoption and thankfulness go together, and lest there be any confusion, my husband and I are the lucky ones in all of this. I’m glad November brings me the opportunity to take a minute to count my blessings.

Jill Robbins writes about adoption, motherhood and midlife on her blog, Ripped Jeans & Bifocals. She has a degree in social psychology that she uses to try and make sense out of the behavior of her husband and three children but it hasn’t really helped so far. She enjoys dry humor and has a love/hate relationship with running. Her work has been featured on Babble, Scary Mommy, In the Powder Room, and Blunt Moms. You can also find her in the December print issue of Mamalode. She willingly answers any questions that end with “and would you like wine with that?” You can follow Jill on Facebook and Twitter.

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