I Am Grateful

Reflecting on the Holidays

Me? I used to love the holidays. Our family is huge and leans heavily towards the crazy side.  🙂 In the best ways, of course! I love them and are grateful we are tied together.

Our holiday gatherings used to pack the house. The years have seen the children grow, the traditions change, and the holiday gatherings grow smaller and smaller. As immediate nuclear families grow, so does the desire to stay within our own little circles. So too, many have moved further away prohibiting huge clan gatherings. Many have passed as well. 

To the chagrin of some, I have found less joy in some holidays. Thanksgiving is one. Although I am thankful for much, Thanksgiving is one of the holidays which remind me of my late sister Lulu. She loved almost every holiday and went full-tilt in planning and decorating! She loved to cook and always put out a fantastic spread. 

Remembering those than cannot be with us we decorated rocks and tossed them into the ocean at a family- favorite location.

She has quite the vivacious personality. Her laughter rang so loud you could distinguish it from one hundred others. Her sarcasm was biting, but her love was deep. We were lucky to have her. For all that, and more, I am grateful. If I could have one thing I do not, it would be to have her back.

Lu and I on St. Patrick's Day - pausing for a picture while decorating the Irish Club.
Lu and I at our little sisters' baby shower in 2010

Back to Reality

Since I cannot have this, I have chosen to focus on the tangible things in my life I am happy to have. My children are number one. Oh, they can be royal pains at times, but they are good, decent people. I am very proud of them all. 

I am grateful for clarity of mind. Most of the time this is true anyway!

Happily, I have healthy, amazing grandchildren that crack me up, hold my hand, and say the sweetest things with complete sincerity.

My journal. Yup, I am grateful for this non-animate item. It keeps me sane and organized - most of the time!

I am grateful my mother's sister, the matriarch of the family is alive and well, not to mention a class act. And, I love how caring, smart, and so very funny she is. She is another with a distinctive laugh. You cannot help but join when you hear it ring out.

Gratefulness fills me when I think of the friends I have had since I was a child that are still active in my life. They are my family too as I could not love them more if we were related.

I am filled with thanks that my children are all self-sufficient and have found partners that love them dearly. Also, that they are living productive lives with great futures in store.

 Thankful for my crazy beautiful family @ http://nisiwanders.com/archives/1609

Thankfulness fills me when I remember the funny and sweet memories I have of those that have passed.

I am grateful for the ability granted me that allows me to continue to learn, academically and personally.

Most definitely I am thankful for the chances I am given to travel. Not only my tremendous and large country, but others as well. These experiences on the road make me a better person.

I am grateful for the siblings I still have and that I love so much. Being with them "makes my heart sing."

Thankfulness fills me when I think about little things. Like being able to see the leaves change in the fall. As well as having time to reread a favorite book or seeing fireflies light the night.

And, of course I am grateful Boston. We have the best sport teams in the country! No matter where I go, I where my Boston gear with pride. 🙂

MY BEAUTIFUL FAMILY @ http://nisiwanders.com/archives/1609
Just A Small Portion Of My Beautiful Family. Oh, yes, that is a blow-up doll in the front row. She takes the place of my cousin Janet when she is not present. 🙂

For a Future Date...

Tonight, I am reminded too of happy memories from childhood. When my parents were alive, they too enjoyed the holidays greatly. My mother because she loved to cook and to socialize. While my father, he just loved any chance that came around where all the family gathered in one place. They each had tendencies and traditions that always make me smile to remember. I will write more about those in an upcoming post. My parents were quite the characters. I am happy they left these memories behind.

What are some of the things you are grateful for? Do you think of these on a holiday like today, or also more frequently throughout the year? Myself, I try to remember what I am thankful for throughout the year. It does the mind good! 🙂

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12 Comments on "I Am Grateful"

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V Wilson
Wow! I just woke up, at just a bit past midnight, feeling like I had to write a post about my big brother. I saw your post and absolutely loved it. You are so right. The holidays are a bittersweet time, full of all of the sorrows and joys of our lives. I, too, have grown kids, and am so grateful that they are happy and have found partners they love. But life is still hard and I miss them so much! I am really looking forward to your posts, coming in the mail. I really think so many bloggers… Read more »
Nisi Wanders

Vicky, Thank you for the very thoughtful message. I kept trying to keep it upbeat, being a holiday and all. But, you’re so right. Everything isn’t always perfect and happy. There are so many other type of moments and emotions we go through in life. I did hesitate before publishing wondering if I should take out some stuff. I’m really glad I left everything in I was feeling. :). I really appreciate you taking the time to comment.


lolllll i didnt even realize the doll was not real. i HAD TO GO BACK AND LOOK. But wow you have a large and beautiful family, so much for you to be grateful for. Like you said, everything is not always perfect but we have these great memories to hold on to.


This is a lovely post, reflecting on those who have passed and couldnt be with you. I love the idea of writing on the rocks and throwing them out to sea – lovely.


All the good things to be grateful for 🙂 So nice!


What tribute to your family! Love seeing the photos and hearing about what’s important to your heart. There is so much to be grateful for! I, for one, am grateful for my family. Like your said, crazy as they are, I am blessed. My loved ones have come and gone in my family too – over the years – elders pass on and new babies are born. It is beautiful, and such a privilege to witness the joys and their living. Blessings to you! Light, Emma, PathofPresence


Family is one thing that I am thankful for this year. They have helped me out a lot in the past year with my blogging with supporting me do and help me create.


I do think about being thankful ‘for all the love I get and the more I am able to give’ during the holidays as well as throughout the year. I like the decorated rocks, they look so beautiful.

Faith Still (Home Ec @ Home)

What a big beautiful family! My extended family gets together every 4th of July at my parents fish farm in Ohio. It’s always a fun day of reconnecting and lots of fishing.

Joylee Armeje

You have such an adorable family. I’m glad I have had the chance to read this post. Reminded me of things I should always recognize to be thankful for. Thank you!

Marjie Mare

I am so thankful for my family, they are my strength, your post reminds me to make sure they know how thankful I am to have them.