First and foremost, I'm grateful for my Savior. Those who have been with me for a while know that I don't discuss my faith much. In truth, it defines everything in my world. My faith in Christ frames and give context to every life experience. I don't discuss it in my blog much. I tend to believe that if folks can't see my faith in my life, talking about it is pointless.
Next on the list is my dear bride Amanda. As we approach the twenty-year mile marker, I can honestly say I've never met a more amazing woman. I could start and maintain a new blog on just this topic. Our family would be lost without her. To say that I love and appreciate her just doesn't seem adequate. I lack the words and resources to appreciate her at a level that she deserves.
Then there's my oldest, Connor. I've written about him here before. Watching him grow from hysterically funny baby and toddler, to daddy's shadow, and now to a bright, honorable, crass, young man and trusted confidant has been one of my life's most rewarding experiences. He continues to amaze me.
Nathan. Enough said. Read the blog. If my gratitude for my "little big man" isn't apparent, I'm failing miserably.
I am thankful beyond words for my grandfathers. Having them both at 44 is a treasure. I don't have a word for the blessing of having them mentally sharp, and as healthier in their 80's than most in their early 70's. They are a constant source of learning for the four of us. They are an anchor for us. They ground my kids with their heritage.
Outside of our family, I have a very small group of rabidly loyal friends. They know me and love me in spite of it. My moods don't scare or even annoy them. They value me for who I am, not what I am, have, or can do for them. They are a rare treasure. Any "friend" will help you move. A real friend will help you move a body. Again, I lack the words and resources to adequately appreciate my "body movers". These folk have invested tangibly in my family and me. Their generosity, openheartedness, patience, and fidelity are the stuff of legend.
Another group intersects the "body movers". The fact that there are those in this group who aren't in my small group gives me great hope. Nathan has his own group of "body movers". Some are in my group, others aren't. These folks love and value Nathan because he is Nathan. They "get him". They see him as an individual, equal in value to everyone else. These golden people could care less about what loving him says about them. They love him. For them, I'd move a body.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the now lengthy list of amazing educators who have partnered with us to bring Nathan to where he is. No one will ever understand the personal sacrifices they made, and they will never admit to it. As I've pondered the names and faces on this list, I've found myself dumbfounded. Some have risked professional disciplinary action to do what was best for him. Others have altered their career path to stay with him, because they believed in his potential and wanted to continue their work in bringing it out. The paltry sum that they were paid for their services can barely be considered a tip for what they've given our family.
I'm grateful for the "Gifts from My Enemy". Having TS/OCD has defined me as a person. I'm grateful for the benefits it brings. It's made me who I am. I'm thankful that I'm finally at peace with it.
I'm grateful for music, and for being blessed to pour my soul over the strings of my bass. I can say things there that my soul can not find words to contain. It's a truly unbelievable part of living. I've had far more success than I deserve in this regard. It's been a wild ride!
I'm grateful for my job and my boss. I work for an amazing corporation. My boss understands my family situation and supports me unquestioningly. I dearly love my coworkers. I'm blessed to be surrounded by such quality folk. A few are even on the "body movers list".
The last group I'll mention is you. I appreciate my readers. Your faithful following of my blog provides a therapeutic validation of what I'm trying to accomplish in sharing my thoughts, feelings, and experiences. I claim to offer nothing other than my "view from the inside" as a special person raising a special person. As long as there's someone reading, I'll continue throwing this "message in a bottle". It is my sincere hope that my experiences will add value to your lives. Know that it's OK if raising a special kid hurts every day. It's OK to admit our insufficiency to the task. It's way beyond OK to grab onto our blessings with all we've got and to feel grateful for what we have, no matter how small it seems in the darker times.