Video of our weekend to follow blog
This Thanksgiving I opened my email to find a letter from my mom. I love getting emails from my mom because she hardly ever sends them but this one was quite special. This was my first Thanksgiving away from home, and although our new little family (Mike, Rafaella, Olive, Jersey, and I) were living the good life in Cabarete with amazing new friends, holidys always make it harder to be without your family since so many memories of growing up flood in to mind.
My mom's email was thoughtful and loving, reminding me always that we were in her thoughts and prayers. She told me how much she would miss me since this was the first time, since 1980 (the year I was born) that we would not be together but that it was comforting to know that I was happy with my baby girl, husband, and such good friends.
Hello tears! Those flooding memories I talked about - here they come.
Did you ever notice that good memories have the ability to cheer you up or bring you down? It's not that the memories made me sad, it was that this year would bring new memories and THAT made me sad. Life is tough that way. Moving on and moving forward is exciting, but even when great things are happening in every point of the compass around you, moving on and forward can be the hardest direction to take. Though saddened that I wasn't home watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade at my sister's, eating stuffed mushrooms, I quickly knew that my mother's email was not about sadness but about happiness for the life I am living right now.
Later on that evening, I was sitting around the pool with 4 other girlfriends: Sara, LaToi, Raquel, and Katherine, doing what girls do... talking. LaToi, I believe, started talking about how sometimes she looks around and can't believe that this is the life she's living. This resonated with me because there have been so many moments I ask myself, "Are you taking this all in?" These are the times that I look to Mike or Rafaella or even our doggies and can't believe that we are living this life - together - which makes me luckier than most to have someone to share this with. We are so fortunate. "Renting a luxurious villa on one of the most beautiful places of this island" fortunate. "6 other houses full of friends to spend the holiday with" fortunate. "Setting up a family day full of flag football and volleyball" fortunate. This is the life we're living right now. The life that my mom was happy for me to be living. LaToi was right. This is an opportunity and getting this opportunity will forever be a part of my story now. It quickly reminded me of the lyrics from the song that gave me the name of this blog, Good Life by One Republic, "When you're happy like a fool, let it take you over. When everything is out, you gotta take it in."
And so instead of looking at what I was missing this Thanksgiving, maybe it's a better idea to look at all that I have and be grateful for it.
... And tell my mom that next year, we're all spending Thanksgiving here!
Top 14 moments to be THANKFUL for on Thanksgiving 2011
14. We only had 2 tires blowout on our way to and from Cabarete instead of 3. (Props to the Highway Patrol who stayed with us and entertained us for 2 hours - Oscar de la Renta)
13. A massage listening to the rain - real rain.
12. A quiet Saturday morning at what seemed like our own provate beach with my family but specifically the dogs being able to run around like wild beasts (in video)
11. A beautiful villa on the beach to spend Thanksgiving with wonderful friends and a real Thanksgiving dinner - with yummo stuffing.
10. Cabarete Coffee Company - organic, local, and delicious.
9. Mike fulfilling a lifelong dream of surfing (or trying. It was only your first time, Meeks, you will get better.)
8. Sitting with Elizabeth on her porch while Pepito made us delicious fruit milkshakes - just like mom makes 'em!
7. Mike taking the middle of the night feeds to give me a break (one of the many reasons I love him!)
6. Mambo Fish Tacos at the yummy Mexican place
5. My first attempt at making my mom's flan - although I screwed up the first and had to go back to the store to get more ingredients - it was still tasty (props to Miki for coming with me)!
4. Watching our little daughter take her first steps and swim into the great big ocean.
3. Finding out that Auntie Sparkles (in espanol Tia Esparkles [Shayna]) not only loves babies, but loves our baby and our baby LOVES her back so much that she stayed with her Auntie for hours!
2. A huge game of flag football (& volleyball) at the beach with families watching and cheering and knowing that I had a part in setting it up.
1. Taking a nap on the couch with my baby and dogs while sneaky daddy took pictures. (this picture could be a Christmas card to follow - many of you know what that means!)