As it is Thanksgiving week, I decided to count my blessings in a narcissitic way. By congratulating myself on my wisdom and good decision making that has allowed my life to be so full of goodness and love. Let's begin.
First of all, my husband Grant. I met this bearded beauty in August of 2002 while we were both working night shift at Denver Children's Hospital. He was post-college and looking for some space to hike and camp, and I was "finding myself" in the Rocky Mountains and a BA in Anthropology. We were all wrong for each other from the start but were drawn like moths to a flame. We fell in love all over the western US- Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, Colorado.. everywhere we set up a campsite or hiked a trail was the foundation of our romance. We fought constantly, made out even more, and finally married each other during a thunderstorm in Ohio. We became best friends in New Orleans, got our shit together in Washington DC and started a family in State College, PA. Grant is the best decision I ever made.
Second, my babes Purslane Claire and Knox Thomas Steele. Becoming a mother changed my life in every possible way. It changed my body, my priorities, my focus, my job, my life plans- basically these children took my selfish heart and melted it around their tiny hands. Having children is the most painful honor ever bestowed on a woman- starting with their entry into the world. But from the moment these babes left my body and the intense pride came over me at having birthed a child, I knew I was strong enough to be a mother. And every day that I wake up and feel the weight of responsibility on my shoulders, I know that I can either go about my task with courage or be crushed under it. So I pray for wisdom and patience- then get to work. Because these babes make my world go round. Pursy and Knox are the second best decision I ever made.
Thirdly, my decision to become a nurse. One of the many reasons why Grant is the best decision I ever made is that he was somehow given a unique ability to understand my colorful parade of individuality. He gets me. So when I was filling out my application to graduate school for a MS in English, he flat out told me that was the wrong career for me. He encouraged me to go back to nursing school, which I did but only after thinking about it just long enough that it looked like my idea. I have been a nurse for almost 5 years now and though I would be foolish to claim that every shift with every patient has been a beautiful miracle, I have found a life work that plays to every one of my strengths. I am good at being a nurse. It is the third best decision I have ever made.
Fourthly, my decision to open my heart to women. (no... keep reading). When I met Grant, I had exactly three lady friends- two of which lived across the country. All my friends were guys- including my best friend and confidant. I loved setting myself apart by loudly proclaiming that I didn't understand women and perferred the company of men who were less emotional and didn't care that I didn't shave my legs. Did I mention that I was studying Anthropology at the University of Colorado... i.e. I was a pseudo-hippie. Not the political vegan kind, just the vegetarian hemp-wearing drum circle kind. Grant didn't care about my perference for male company and told me to get some girlfriends. Thus for the past 7 years I have been collecting the most marvelous assortment of female friends- from dramatic Margo in Orlando to southern sugar Becki in State College to loyal Julia in Denver to smartass Tiffany in Ohio- amazing women come out of the woodwork when you put yourself out there. Becoming a woman's woman is the fourth best decision I have ever made.
And because I love John Cusack in High Fidelity, I will make this a Top Five list. The fifth best decision I ever made was to start eating meat. It sounds trivial, but after 13 years of thinking, planning, and cooking vegetarian, the freedom that has come from eating whatever I want and whatever is served to me has been monumental. I have enjoyed Grant's 12 hour labor of love smoking a pork shoulder, simplified my favorite Pad Thai by making it with fish sauce, and discovered the magic that is a beautifully executed buffalo burger. Becoming an omnivore is the fifth best decision I have ever made.
Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow narcissists who have also made private lists of their personal triumphs that they are thankful for... now share them with the world.