No question, it has been a turbulent couple of weeks in the United States. Here in Spain I've felt at times like a satellite watching my mother ship struggle through rocky waves.
A friend in California posted a video this morning about a woman who took 365 photos to remind herself of the little things for which she is grateful every day. I love this! What could be a more perfect time of year to give thanks than the week of Thanksgiving?
Here are some of the blessings I'm counting this year.
A best friend is the one who will confidently confide that you've got toilet paper stuck to your shoe as you walk through the five star restaurant. I'm SO thankful for my best friends who love me enough to call me on my bullshit, and then laugh with me about it! Speaking of which...
Friends Without Borders. They say you find out who your real friends are when you can go a year without talking and pick back up right where you left off. That may well be true but it's obviously nicer to go a year and keep talking!
I'm incredibly grateful for the many friends who have continued to keep up with us via email, WhatsApp, Facebook, texts and letters while we are far away from home. There is no substitute for hearing your voices, so thank heavens for Google Hangouts and WhatsApp free calls! I'm also so touched by the fact that my children's best friends from home continue to call and write them every week, and some are possibly even coming to visit! Staying connected means the world to us. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Outstretched Hands. I was flat-out terrified to move to a foreign country where I knew almost nobody, nor the language. Now that we've lived in Barcelona for four months, it's hard to believe I will ever leave this place. So many amazing people have reached out to our family to help us get settled in Spain, from old friends to incredible new friends to neighbors to school representatives to AirBNB hosts & many more. Just like a rock concert when someone dives in the crowd, there was a real chance that nobody would reach out to catch us when we jumped. Yet from the first moment here, everybody has had their hands up to keep us in the air and now we are sailing forward.
Aventura Children. Yes, they are loud and messy. Yes, I do have to apologize to the downstairs neighbors when they tell me my children sound like a stampede of trampling horses upstairs all day long. Yes, parenting is exhausting and sometimes tough.
YET. The three little humans I was lucky and blessed to bring into this world inspire me beyond words.
They are developing their own interests, personalities, perspectives and hobbies. The Scientist consumes 400 page novels in a day and shows signs of a passionate interest in economics, while Soccer Dude blows me away with a masterful command of beginning Spanish and Chinese... not to mention his wickedly silly sense of humor!
Little Angel just devoted a full week to a Halloween Candy science project about gummy bears wherein she used the Scientific Method, creating her own hypothesis about what happens when gummy bears sit in liquid for a long time and then testing it day after day. She is a meticulous, enthusiastic learner.
I could go on for days. In love with these kids! They are the best thing ever.
Adventure! Looking ahead to December I am sooooo excited that we are headed to six different European cities to celebrate the holidays! My mom was just telling my kids this weekend how much I loved to travel as a kid, and it looks like some things haven't changed! Blessed beyond measure to have the ability to keep traveling.
Between now and January 1 we will be spending time as a family in Valencia, Granada, Sevilla, Madrid, Amsterdam and Paris! I can't wait to get bundled up in warm winter clothes and watch my kids ice skate on a canal, visit a Christmas market, and watch the Eiffel Tower illuminate at midnight on December 31st. I know there will be plenty of icy weather, tired children, long whining hours in the car and maybe even tears along the way... but there is nothing I relish more than a life of adventure with the people I love. Can't wait!
Love. My husband is 6,000 miles and a nine hour time difference away from us for three weeks. This isn't the first time we've been apart and it won't be the last... but whenever he is gone I am constantly reminded of the many little things he does for us every day when he is here. Things that are easy to take for granted... like holding my hand while we watch a TV show, telling our kids to believe in themselves (and that he believes in them), driving us to the grocery store so we don't have to walk in the rain, cooking us a meal or mopping the kitchen floor. We married twelve years ago this week (nearly 15 years since we met!) and beyond the big things like passion and trust, for which I am still so grateful, it turns out there are all of these little things that also make love strong.
I'm grateful that Señor Aventura still dances with me when nobody is looking; still makes me his signature guacamole with a truckload of cilantro and a twinkle in his eye. Still makes my heart skip a beat when I see him from across the room.
Freedom. I'm so thankful for the right to be myself, and to speak my views freely and openly without fear. I'm truly glad you have that right too... even if sometimes we may genuinely disagree!
I'm thankful for you too! Happy Thanksgiving!!!
And now.... more photos from Abuela Luminosa's fabulous two week visit!
We are missing her already.