Wednesday, September 10, 2014

All That Is Good

Maple the Pup
A couple days ago, I was nominated on Facebook by my cousin's girlfriend (whom I adore) to do a gratefulness challenge. Since a gratitude list is my first "go-to" when I am feeling blue, I decided I would rather have it here on my blog as a place I can always look at it when I'm down. This exercise could not come at a better time, so the first thing I am grateful for is.....

1.  Jessica Serrano, whose kindness comes through in every aspect of her life - with family, with her job working with children, with her dog, and especially with my cousin, Gilen, who holds a very special place in my heart.

Gilen and Shaun
2. My cousin, Gilen, who was born almost exactly ten years after me. I got to witness a lot of Gilen's child milestones first hand and because of that he became a great teacher for me, too. I can't ever remember hearing a complaint from Gilen. Even when he was eight and in almost an entire body cast during a summer in the San Fernando Valley with a glistening pool teasing him from his backyard, he never pitied himself.

3. My cousin Gian, and his awesome partner, Liz. Like all of the Guenthers, Gian is like a brother to me and I couldn't be more excited for him and his new path, a path that won't be easy but will be complimented by Liz, who has one of the most level heads on any person I think I've ever met. Gian teaches me to keep an open mind especially when called to a career that is meant to be completely selfless and of service. And I'm grateful for Liz who though she has a level head that I can connect with, she also likes to shake it like a salt shaker.

4. Gary and Kerrie and the four amazing little girls who embody the spunk, the athleticism, and the charm of their parents. I'm grateful that no matter how long I've been out of California and away from home, when I text Gary that I'm in need of car insurance immediately, he calls me back willing to help out (after he gets a few good razzes in).  Dependability is something the Guenthers are not in short supply of. And I'm grateful to Kerrie for her honesty and humor which often go hand in hand.

Lauren & Maple
5. Gret and Brandie for being more than family, but friends, and my godsons who make me laugh in a way that no one else can. I'm grateful to them all for giving me the best gig around town - the godmother who gets to take them to places like arcades and trampoline zones, but also gets to see their faces when a light bulb goes off and they put together an English sentence they feel proud of.

6. Gail and Guy - aunt and uncle extraordinaire - who are really more like another set of parents- the ones that believe in tough love but also that mama-bear-tribal love that teaches family is first, always, no matter what.

7. My brother, Shaun, and my soon-to-be sister-in-law, Lauren, who have been so supportive of Mike and I in our transition back. These two teach me all the time that there is always more room. The heart never fills up. There is always room for more friends, more puppies, more families, more wine, more Simpsons. They have opened up more than their homes to us, but also throw us invitations to their circle of friends all the time, and have trusted us on occasion with their greatest treasure of all- Wally!

Dee and Morgan
8. My friends, Morgan and Scott, and their little girl Dee,  and their three dogs. Visiting the Shanahans is a family affair in all the best ways. Morgan has not only given me work to help get me back on my feet, but also continually gives me faith that everything will work out. Scott, who shows me all the time that change is hard but necessary and also knows how to deliver sage advice right at the moment when I'm about to give up hope. Dee, who holds a special place in my heart from our days gallivanting around New York City. (Okay, so she was 10 months and it was just a couple afternoons, but they were awesome!) But Dee continues to give hugs just when I need them. And their dogs for encouraging me to get my own dog, something I have wanted for a long time but have been too scared to commit to.

9. My Maid-of-Honor who hates being publicly called out on social media. But for giving me patience and honesty and helping me talk things out like a damn professional. Her opinion really should be worth its weight in gold because she deserves a lot of money for the shit she comes up with.

Me and the Boys
10. Carmen and Vio and their hubbies, Eli and Francesco (respectively) and all of their amazing kids who, when I'm with them, make me look at life through a way more interesting and funny perspective. They are my New York and Philly families, without which, I would not be who I am today.

11. Mike's family, who teach me that there is always more room and there is always more food and more wine! The Bacchiones and Zellers love nothing more than to spend time with each other. They have a family bond that is infectious no matter how near or far I am from them.

12. Jeff and Erin, who I feel like have become some of Mike's and mine closest couple friends. I am grateful to them both for their humor and their temperament, but even more so their curiosity and zeal for life, something we all can get down with - whether it's dancing in a Turkish alley with a gypsy,  roadtrippin' across the country to help a brother out, or staying up late talking in an airbnb in San Francisco the night before big job interviews. I love these guys a little more deeply every time I see them.

Julie and Laurel
13. Songadeewin and NYU and all the people in between. Without NYU, I would never have had Songa. Without Songa I would have never had most of my best friends and my husband. I am also incredibly grateful that this year alone, I have been able to re-connect with friends from NYU, (even my long lost roommate, Alma!) Songa friends from New Zealand to New York, Philly to Louisiana, Vermont to California, and the conversation and love is always right where we left off. Megs, Court, Julie, Laurel - that shit runs deep.

14. The life I created in New York will forever be a part of me, as well as the friends, experiences, subway rides, and restaurants that come with it. I still have not said goodbye to you, New York, and I don't think I have to. I honestly feel it is just goodbye for now.

15. Traveling around the fucking world. Even though I have been struggling to get back on my feet, I wouldn't change a thing.

16. My mom who teaches me to just keep moving.

17. My dad whose endless support in my life and especially since coming back has made my "struggle" more of an esoteric one than an actual struggle.  I'm grateful he has opened up his home for me and Mike and I'm so grateful for this time with my dad where we actually sit down and have dinner together as if we are making up for all the ones we lost when I was in New York.

Mike and Me
18. Mike, who I recently described to someone as "a man who is filled with joy and serenity most of the day, everyday." Where do I even begin? The man married me well after he knew better. And he continues to love me through all the snot, tears, crazy ideas, and transitions.

19. Maple - my pup. I have wanted a dog for a long time and I think this one actually found me. She is teaching me patience and humility, a much needed dose of it.

20. And lastly,  I am grateful for my health and my body, especially the latter which I so often like to criticize. I don't have the nicest bod in a bikini, but I'm stronger than hell.


Anonymous said...

wow those jeff and erin people sound awesome, I would love to get to know them better

Erin said...

^ hahaha. We <3 you guys! We were just talking about how fun it would be to take another trip together sometime...

I recently submitted applications to UCLA and Cal State-Channel Islands. UC-Santa Barbara is coming up soon. Lots of chances for us to end up out West with you crazy kids (and your adorable new pup):)

daleboca said...

i love making it onto these lists:) thank you. being grateful for able bodies and health is something we all need to remember!!

Carmen said...

such a good thing to practice. we should all do it more often. and your description of mike is so perfect.