#1 - My mother. Years ago when I first began blogging, I don't think I ever believed I'd say those words. But recently it has hit me just how much she has been there for me - and even more importantly, for my children - over the past couple of years and more. The descriptions I heard of the Duggar parents' interview via Facebook drove home just how valuable it is to have parents who are willing to change, to learn from their mistakes and to say "We're sorry." By the way, my dad certainly deserves his share of this gratitude as well, since he provides the support that my mother needs in order to be there for us, and the housing, and the trash removal, and the lawn care, and all the other little things that you don't really think of until you have to take care of them yourself. Not to mention all the furniture he and my mother have moved for us. But what really drove it home was when I switched the Princess to another day care recently, so she could be closer to my work, and it ended in disaster. In spite of how busy she is these days, my mother offered to keep her for the two weeks it would take my child care subsidy to transfer back to the previous (much better) day care, and I'm so grateful that she did. The look in my daughter's eyes the last day I dropped her off was like a trapped animal, desperate and terrified. It killed me. I went back on my lunch break and picked her up, and my mother came and got her from my work place, and she never went back. I don't know what I would have done without my mom. I couldn't leave her there one more hour, let alone two more weeks. The day care story is too long for here, but at the insistence of Little Bear's counselor I did notify the child abuse hotline of my concerns. I don't know what was going on other than neglect, but there's no excuse for her feeling as unsafe as she did, or for some of the behavior I witnessed briefly in the few days following her removal. That day, I felt as if my mom made up for everything I ever held against her by helping me take my daughter away from there without losing my job. I can't imagine what I would have done without her.
#2 - My job. It's not what I pictured myself doing, but I'm so happy there. Mostly because I'm seriously in love with my boss. Yeah, yeah, I know. I tried to talk myself out of it for a while, but finally I just had to accept it. We make each other laugh, and even if we never have any relationship beyond the office, the laughter is good for me. I told a friend the other day that I've laughed more in the last three months than I did during my entire marriage, and it's true. Honestly, if another six months go by like this I'll probably have laughed more than in my whole teen/adult life previously. The crazy thing is, I always thought that eventually I'd meet somebody like him and she would become my best friend. It never once occurred to me that this person I was looking for might be a man.
#3 - Target's cheap build-your-own shelving. It's helping me finally get my living space under control, slowly but surely. Every time I get a bit of extra money together, I buy a couple more, and the apartment is at long last beginning to feel comfortable.
These are just the things I'm grateful for that are new in my life. I'm still thankful for all the usual things as well, like my family and Scouting and my church family, and the opportunity to attend college, etc. I've just recently become aware of how much better my life is now than it was two years ago.