Here is this year's list of reasons Heather's Growing Family is thankful.
1) Everyone is a "forever" member of the family. We all have the same last name now and are all permanent members of the family. No one is a "foster", "pre-adoptive" of temporary family member. We are just a family.
2) Jacob and Matthew are getting excellent educations and doing well. This is a huge relief for me. There is nothing more important to a child's chances at success and realizing their dreams than a good education.
3) Everyone is healthy. Thankfully, we live in a country with great medical care and we are fortunate to be able to access it.
4) We have enough food to fill our stomachs every day. Not everyone in this country or other countries has that. We are fortunate to be able to eat as much as we want every day and we are thankful for it.
5) For friends and family. Being a parent is tough at times. Being a single parent is tough at times. Family and friends make the bad days possible and the good days more enjoyable.
6) A job I love. Even my children will tell you I am much happier and less stressed now. I spent almost 10 years at a job that I really disliked for 7 years. Thankfully, I now have a job I really enjoy with great co-workers and supervisors. I no longer dread going to work or count the hours until I go home. I enjoy my job and find it much easier to balance work and family needs with a job I enjoy going to.
7) Our pets. Yes, they are expensive and get in trouble but we love them any way. After all, who better to snuggle with on a cold or sad day than an animal. Who better to lift our spirits than watching dogs run and wrestle or our crazy cat climb the ladder on the bunk beds.
8) Clean drinking water. I don't think I ever really appreciated this until I saw people living in areas where clean water was not accessible. Not just for drinking but also for bathing.
9) Education. We live in a country where advanced degrees and college educations are open to almost every one. Sure, it may cost too much and require loans and working part or full-time, but it is possible.
10) The opportunity to show my children every day that democracy works. They protested with me last winter, see the people collecting recall signatures and go to the polls when I vote. We have had many conversations about why people are unhappy and what they are doing to try to force change. Whether the recall is effective or not, the politicians have started listening and some of the outrageous bills have now been defeated. My children have seen that peaceful protests do work and that every one of us can and should stand up and make a difference in our communities.