374 days ago, Gayland and I were sitting in a shoebox-sized Manhattan high rise apartment relishing in the fact that in one day we would celebrate two things: Having made it to our first milestone in the pregnancy post hospitalization, 28 weeks gestation, and Thanksgiving! Though we were without family or friends to share the season with, it still was the best Thanksgiving of our lives as we had overcome what seemed impossible and unachievable a mere five weeks before, staying pregnant! It was a miracle then and remains a miracle now that Elyse is so perfect!
Jump ahead a year and we find ourselves again giving thanks for the bountiful blessings for which we have been bestowed. Needless to say, we are thankful we're in this life stage and not that one but we wouldn't trade that experience, the city or the fantastic people that forever touched our lives for the world!
In preparing my "list of thanksgiving" this year, I thought it appropriate to look-up how the word Thanksgiving is actually defined. Ole Mr. Webster says Thanksgiving is “the act of giving thanks; grateful acknowledgement of benefits or favors, especially to God.” Well eat a whole pie for Thanksgiving dessert and don't county your Weight Watchers points, he might as well have said Thanksgiving is defined as “Leslie Paffe’s life” because the two are one in the same!!
As I bethink on the year behind, I want to give thanks to God for my biggest blessings of 2013:
1. Elyse Harlan Paffe – there are no words…if you’re a parent; you get it…I can’t explain beyond that. She’s our world.
2. Ignorance – I’m thankful I didn’t know, regardless how many times I was warned, how hard the first six weeks of parenthood is. There is no preparation for sleeping in two hour increments, post-partum hormones (I still take drugs to remind me of those damn hormones), inconsolable crying, weird baby noises OH and balancing all of that with the fact you still have a marriage to keep in tact. Yea, I’m thankful I didn’t know all of that!
3. Turning 37 (in a month) - I’ve finally come into my own and this person, thankfully, looks different than the person I thought I would and should be. I’m honored to say I’m a wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, niece, career-woman, part-time dream chaser, athlete, pie and cooking-maker, wine drinker, fantastic food enjoying friend.
4. Family – It’s dysfunctional and crazy and maddening and beautiful and unique. I wouldn’t trade any of them for the world.
5. Friends –I have been incredibly blessed to have a few that date back nearly thirty years, one that goes back to 2000 a few from my days in Nashville and newer friendships I cherish as much as the old ones. Regardless where they fall on the timeline of my life, I’m so thankful for them all.
6. Opportunity – We live in a free country full of opportunity if we only allow our minds to see beyond the limitations we set for ourselves. For this, I’m thankful.
7. Faith – It has kept me warm in the coldest days of my life and allows me to exhale deeply knowing God is in control and will lead us where we are supposed to go.
8. An amazing job – Working for companies life Spurs Sports & Entertainment and GSD&M Advertising look good on a resume. Though they both provided memorable experiences and lasting friendships, not until I worked for the National Restaurant Association did I realize having a job could be fun! I love my company, my bosses, co-workers and customers. My wish is everyone could enjoy his or her work as much as I enjoy mine.
9. Breastfeeding – It has been one of the biggest joys in my life. With all the complications from the pregnancy, birth and post-partum issues, it still remains the only thing I planned to do that actually worked. My goal was six months and I’m almost at ten. With a strenuous travel schedule, I thought it impossible to continue, so this was, and will remain one of my biggest blessings of the year.
10. Forgiveness – Generally speaking, nothing specific. In the past year it has granted me the freedom to move on while still loving those that intentionally or unintentionally caused pain. This is the biggest blessing we can give others and our selves.
As we all gather around the table, my hope is your day is filled with family, friends, memories, hope for the future and thankfulness for those things in life we take for granted. Thanks to each of you for the goodness you have brought to ours.