Looking back at Thanksgiving 2015, I had a LOT to be grateful for including 75 comments from readers who (mostly) loved that post and are STILL commenting on it four years later!  http://margueriteelisofon.com/2015/11/25-things-to-feel-thankful-for-in-a-challenging-world.html

Since everyone enjoyed my last Thanksgiving list, I thought that I would update it this year. Most people would agree that the world is a more challenging place than ever in 2019, regardless of which side of the political divide you find yourself on. As for my own tiny world, some things are MUCH better, so let me list those first on my gratitude list.

  1. My son Matt is home from Los Angeles for Thanksgiving, Christmas AND his birthday, so my empty nest is full again!
  2. My twins will celebrate their 29th (gulp!!!) birthday together with their mom and dad.
  3. My son sold his second television script to TBS and has an option on a film script.
  4. Samantha’s opportunity to speak at the United Nations for World Autism Awareness Day AGAIN.
  5. My daughter’s invitation to sing at the Korean embassy on December 3rd for International Disabilities day at a reception for MIKTA (Mexico, Indonesia, Turkey, Korea and Australia).
  6. The joy on Samantha’s face whenever and wherever she performs on stage.
  7. My husband enjoying his best year EVER professionally, despite the naysayers who think lawyers over 65 should retire.
  8. My health. My breasts are safe for another year after two needle biopsies were negative.
  9. My deaf  92-year old mom’s gift of hearing aids, which will (hopefully) make Thanksgiving dinner less frustrating—and more inclusive—for our family.
  10. My wonderful friends—old and new—that supported me through an emotionally trying year.
  11. Robin Reinach, my BFF since 7th grade… So glad we found each other..
  12. Wonderful memories of Samantha’s movie Keep the Change—unexpectedly and wildly successful— and how it has forever changed our daughter’s life and ours.
  13. Being a United State citizen—not as proud of our country as I was in 2015—but relieved that I can’t be deported or separated from my children.
  14. The Q train. I can get to Broadway in 15 minutes. A reward for suffering through the drilling, noise and upheaval as a long-time Second Avenue resident.
  15. Dip powder manicures. My nails are the only part of my anatomy that has improved dramatically at 63.
  16. The U.S. Constitution and an enduring democracy.
  17. Greta Thunberg for leading young people around the world to take action against global warming.
  18. Kody Lee, a blind autistic man, for entering and winning America’s Got Talent.
  19. Kody Lee’s mom, for believing in her son’s talent and persevering through his challenges, with the same passion and determination I devote to my daughter.
  20. Marjorie Madfis and all of the autism moms and caregivers who nurture their children through adulthood and help find them meaningful employment.
  21. Zumba class and the friendly group of ladies who share my joy in dance.
  22. Nearby restaurants that serve Thanksgiving dinner.
  23. Not being a turkey.
  24. The time and space to write whatever I want.
  25. Hope.

The holiday trifecta of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s will never be my favorite time of year. Our family is in a whole different universe than the Norman Rockwell painting of the big, happy neurotypical family gathered around a turkey dinner.  Still, I am grateful for my family, even at the most difficult times, which often turn out to be what everyone else calls holidays.

I would never want to miss the silver-lining moments and truly special times our family has shared. I treasure the magical-if-fleeting memories of deep connection that happen between my daughter on the spectrum and the rest of our tiny family.  Those memories are what give me hope that next year will be filled with continued good health and greater joy.

According to Andy Dufresne from The Shawshank Redemption—one of my favorite movies—“hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies.”


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