by Maria Cisneros
When I was in elementary school, I remember every Thanksgiving my teacher would assign us the task of making a turkey out of our handprints and we’d make a list of the things we were most thankful for. I wish I would’ve kept one of those assignments so that I could see exactly what I was thankful for back then. My list probably included my new Jem doll and my She-ra action figure. Nowadays, my list would include a couple of items way more significant than that. Materials possessions don’t carry much meaning; they’re necessary to make living easier and possible but the objects most precious in my life are the people in it. My most important people are as follows: my daughter, my family, and my friends.
Three years ago, I was given the grand opportunity of a lifetime: I became a mother. I remember, after having a very comfortable pregnancy and an even easier birth, I thought this whole parenting job was going to be a piece of cake. I was wrong, oh so, so wrong. There were many, many times where I wished beyond anything else in the world that I could just push her back into my stomach. I’d carry her for another ten months, I didn’t care! But alas, life is not as one wants it, rather as we need it; therefore, I am now definitely a parent. A couple of weeks ago, she turned the big three and I thought, since the two’s were so terrible, maybe the three’s will be terrific. I’m starting to see that’s not going to be the case at all. But still, my daughter is my pride and joy. The feelings I have when I see her smile and grow are indescribable. I have never known a love so pure and as strong as the love I have for my child. Don’t get me wrong, there are many times when she and I bump heads but should anyone ever cross her, believe me there’d be nothing sturdy enough to hold me back. So at the end of the day, when I read her the Elmo Hokey-Pokey for the hundredth time, help her say her prayers, and give her the glass of water necessary before falling asleep, I know beyond a doubt that she is my ultimate gift. I’m so very thankful and blessed to have such a spirited angel in my life. Without her, my days would probably be a little less hectic, my money would definitely stretch a little bit further, and my face wouldn’t start forming those dreaded wrinkles BUT my life would not hold the vibrancy and happiness it contains now. She’s my better half in life and as much as I’m scared of her growing up, I know we’re going to have a close bond…well, at least we will after she’s gone through her rebellious years…yay.
My family and I are very close. I can’t express just how fortunate I am to have them in my life. My brothers are the laughter in my existence. Each one has their own unique ability to make me feel special and loved; although they will deny it until their very last breath, they need me as much as I need them. I never wished to have a sister. I was perfectly happy with my brothers, even when they were huge pains in the rear; they have made my life interesting. My parents laid the foundation to the person that I am today. My mother is my absolute best friend. Without a doubt, she knows me inside and out and knows exactly what I’m thinking or feeling without even having to ask. I swear she’s psychic. My father has finally forgiven me for my rebellious teen years and we have settled into a very comfortable relationship. I have an intense respect for him and there’s no other man in the world that I can depend on more than my father. Then there’s my cousin, the reason why my teen years were so rebellious. She’s been my partner in crime since we were in diapers. There were the years when she lived out of state, the years when I wasn’t allowed to keep in touch, and the times when we’ve had disagreements, but our bond has always been able to withstand such turmoil. She is the one person in my life that understands every single thought and feeling I have. It won’t matter how much I don’t make sense, how stupid my ideas, or just how silly my perceptions of life are, she will always be there to back me up. We’re the biggest dorks in the world and I’m so glad the man from above saw it fitting to pair us up in life. My family is beyond priceless, they’re awesome.
Last, but certainly not least, my friends are some people I hold very dear to my heart. Those who have stuck by me through thick and thin deserve an award just for putting up with me. It’s not an easy task, trying to understand me, because I can be a bit harsh at times. The ones that I consider my dearest friends have helped me pull through some of the toughest patches in my journey on this earth. I can honestly count my most cherished friends on one hand, and I’m perfectly happy with that. I’ve had a good friend that I’ve known and kept in touch with since I was in the fourth grade. I have another one who I’ve been close with since I was a freshman in high school. I have made friends in all the different cities I’ve visited and lived in and all have made an impression on me. Some of my friendships have been temporary, not necessarily because I want them that way, but that’s just the way it turns out to be. Whether if it’s for the rest of my life or only a couple of months, the friends that I’ve been blessed with knowing have helped me understand who I am as a person. There’s nothing I love more than catching up with someone that I haven’t seen in a while and realizing that even though so many days, weeks, months, or years have past, we still have the ability to relate to each other and understand what point we are in our lives. Even though I have my daughter and my family, without my friends, I think I’d go crazy. There needs to be some balance in life and they’re the ones who keep me centered. Every once in a while I need someone to tell me that my head is too far up my butt.
It’s easy to rush through life and never stop to smell the roses but on this special Thursday, take the time to take a breather and look at your surroundings. Cherish the people who are currently there, be grateful for the ones that at some point graced your life, and be hopeful that the people you run into in the future will help you understand just how many beautiful things exist out there. I certainly know that I’m blessed to have my amazing, rambunctious daughter, my close-knit, comedic family, and my forever diligent friends in whom I know I can depend on for whenever I run out of patience with the other two. I must’ve done something right in my previous life to have been given this magnificent blessing. I’m sincerely thankful for them all. Happy Thanksgiving.