22 Aug 2014
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It Really Is a Wonderful Life!

Taking stock at Christmastime isn't just for the movies.

It Really Is a Wonderful Life!

I’ve been having vivid, symbolic dreams of late, along the lines of The Wizard of Oz and It’s a Wonderful Life. As this is my column that runs closest to Christmas, it made me think about the spirit of the holiday — and about where my life is.

How often do we reflect on what we have in life? People are rushing to fill last minute gift lists and everyone seems to be completing plans to celebrate the holiday. Even though my family and I are Jewish and we don’t celebrate Christmas at home, we can’t help but be swept up in the joy and happiness — and the crazy crush — of the holiday. The lights, the story, the gestures of friendship and good will — they’re intoxicating.

Even for the kids, they’re learning to make part it of their lives, and figure out— as non-believers — how they fit into what’s going on all around us.

As children, my parents loved the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, so they took my children to see the traditional holiday show in NYC. My 9-year-old son got a little of the Christmas story mixed up with what he’s learning at Hebrew school (“You mean Joseph, whose brothers sold him into slavery,isn’t the same one who married Mary?”) but they loved it all the same. My 5-year-old daughter has formed some pretty steadfast rules about Christmas herself:  “Momma, a tree just isn’t pretty unless it’s got the star at the top.”

We’re fortunate to see the romance and magic of right now, and even in a difficult year, with daily reminders of the occasional absence of such, I thought it would be fitting to take stock of what I am grateful for. So in my best homage to George Bailey, I’m going to reflect on all that is good.

I’m grateful for the daily reminder of my husband’s strength and perseverance. In the , he shows me his constant ability to see the forest for the trees and to go forward. While not necessarily rock solid each day, he still has demonstrated how you pick yourself up after getting knocked down on occasion, and facing the day anew with lessons learned. He is a steadfast role model of trying your best to manage in an imperfect world and of being in it for the long haul.

I’m grateful for my children, who are healthy, funny, engaging, friendly, bright, caring kids. I am grateful when I remember to be conscious about looking at the world through their eyes with them, for they teach me so much more about life than I know now. And I love their love for one another.

I’m grateful I’m speaking with my sister again. We had a falling out last year, and I made a vow not to share that in this column, but all I will say is that I’m thrilled she is in my life again and that we can have a sense of humor about it. She’s the only one who can make me laugh in a particular way, and I’m happy we’re laughing again together.

I’m grateful for my parents who have taught me about unconditional love. They are abundantly generous in all ways and I treasure each moment we have with them.

I’m grateful for my friends. We have been fortunate to live in places where we’ve had the luck of meeting and . Kind hearts, humor, hospitality and loyalty are things we find most valuable in the people we call friends and we’re so fortunate for the many we’ve made over the years.

I’m grateful for great neighbors, who make living on a shared drive more fun than it should be. Where you live is luck of the draw — once you’ve found that perfect house to call home, you hope the people right next door are going to be good people. We couldn’t have been luckier. Most recently, they opened their hearts as well as the front door when they invited my daughter to decorate their Christmas tree with them. It was her first tree trimming, and it was pure magic for her.

I’m grateful for great teachers. My  this year who have instilled in them an amazement for soaking up new things. Each day, my children come home bubbling with new things they’ve learned. Their teachers have inspired them beyond my dreams, and they have also accepted each of my children for the individual learners they are. I am conscious of that every day and couldn’t be more thankful.

I’m grateful for the fortuitous decision of deciding to live where we live. In some ways life is happenstance — who you happen to bump into on the street may change the course of your life. So too is the experience of picking a place to settle down. We’ve lucked into being in a beautiful, vibrant, well-located part of the world, a region rich with history, tradition and most usually an aptitude for embracing the new as well. We’re near much of our family and we love the community where we are.

I’m grateful for Patch. This somewhat experimental publication is now shaping the future of information exchange and local news and to be part of it is exhilarating. I so appreciate the opportunity I have to do what I love and to have been given a forum to express my views. It’s not often you can try to make a living doing something that you love and that is so rewarding. And I’m grateful for each of you who reads what I write and that you share the interchange of ideas.

So as we celebrate the season of joy, I hope you take a moment to reflect on the things and people in your life that you are grateful for. It's perhaps the best gift to give yourself.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah and the happiest of all New Years.


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