December 21, 2004
My own list of what I'm grateful for...
Sent: Tuesday, December 21, 2004 12:05 PM
Subject: Grateful List

Hi everyone!

I'm pretty sure, that we have become the "Good grief, we're glad we're not them!" people
for the year.  You know the ones...the sad sack story that makes you hug your kids tighter
and appreciate your blessings.  Believe it or not, we feel that we have a thousand things to
be thankful for ourselves!  (Go figure.)  So, as this ridiculously bad year draws to a close, I
wanted to share some of my Grateful List with you.  Hopefully you'll grin a little, and realize
that even in the darkest night - there is always a light...somewhere.

Grateful List

I am so grateful...

...for my tiny little two bedroom house.
- With three kids in a two bedroom house, space is a premium.  To fit in the essentials,         
    we've had to learn to redefine "essential".  Some days, one or more children is called       
      into question as to whether they are  "essential".  
- We don't have room to run away from each other.  We must learn to enjoy being                
     together...or perish in the effort.
-  When my little one feels bad and needs to be hugged all day - I don't have a huge            
     house to figure out how to clean.
-  When there is a Scooby movie marathon on - I don't have a huge house to clean.
-  When I'm too-damn-tired-to-care - I don't have a huge house to get the       

.for the small mortgage on my tiny little two bedroom house.
-  It allows me to follow my heart and stay home with my kids.
(even if the world is now convinced that I have the IQ of a frog)
-  It allows me to pay for dance lessons that enrich my daughters' lives and have the             
     bonus side effect of biannually  torturing my family at shows.
-  So that when Winter's worst is thrown at us and we have two nickels to our name -             
     we still have warm beds to call our own.

..for Suave shower gel.
- for 99 cents I can escape life for 5 minutes in the shower and pretend I live in the                
      suburbs and use Bath & Body Works good stuff.

...for my laminate floors.
- vomit, fruit loops, slobber, mud, milk, potty...hello Swiffer...goodbye gross!

...for Swiffer
-  see above

...for our new roof
-  My cookware can stay in the cupboards during rain storms.
-  My oldest daughter will quit sounding like Chicken Little about her ceiling.
-  Hey, if I still had that money - I might start acting "high falootin'" - gotta stay real.

...for little kids who love to steal covers, hog the bed and think they can't sleep
- There is little in life I love more than a sleeping toddler reaching out in the middle of the      
      night to stroke my cheek,  because it makes her feel happy.   Comfort (for parents) is     
       highly overrated.

...that fish look so dad-blasted much alike.
-  It makes those "fishy swam to the big aquarium" midnight substitutions much easier.

...that fish are so easy to take care of.
-  It greatly reduces the number of substitutions necessary.

...for my toddler's chemo-driven hair loss.
- Hey, she had hair to lose!
- We still have her to lose her hair.
- It makes getting yogurt and oatmeal out of her hair, a bit less time consuming...

...for mountains of laundry.
-  It means I'm cleaning up after lots of people.  
-  It means my toddler feels good enough that day to paint herself with spaghetti sauce         
      (and her sister, and the  floor...see Swiffer notations)

...for not having a dishwasher.
-  What?!  Are you frickin' nuts?!!

..for picking up toys for the umpteen millionth time today.
- Because my cancer baby feels good enough to try to show her sister she can empty a       
     toy cupboard in 30 seconds flat.
-  Because my 3 year old is immune to her baby sister's shennanigans and treats her           
       perfectly normally by getting  out more toys to argue with her about.
-  Because I secretly hope that every time I stick my rear in the air while picking up toys,        
       that a small chunk of it will fall off - resulting in the svelte derriere of a 20 year old.

...for good friends who let me keep my delusions.
-  See above notation...and never tell me I'm insane.

...for my hair falling out from stress.
-  The bald spots will make the gray less noticeable.
-  The bald spots will detract from the size of my rear...see above notation.

...for my husband being blind enough to still think I'm beautiful.
-  Yes, he needs new glasses.  No - he's not getting them.  Did you not read what I'm            
        thankful for?! sticks and french fries.
-  Martha Stewart I'm not.

...for cordless phones.
- I can change a diaper, threaten a mouthy ten year old, fix a 3 year old's current                  
    catastrophe and hold a conversation with a girlfriend - all while dancing my                        
    daughter's newest routine.  Man, I'm good!

...for animal crackers, pretzels, granola bars and raisins.       
-  These are the foods of peace when you must venture to the outside world.  
-  I told you I'm not Martha Stewart!

Yes...I could go on for days.  Seriously though, its been a list like this that's kept my sanity
in tact when the universe conspired to tear it to shreds.  There is always a grateful moment,
a smile, a sunny spot in every just may have to stretch, twist your neck, torque
your back and strain your brain to find it.  Trust me...its worth the effort.

The last thing for this particular list...

I am so grateful...    for all of you.  

Your wishes and prayers and those of your family and friends have been our anchor during
this storm.  Dozens of strangers have had hearts big enough to reach out to our family.  We
can never say "Thank You" enough for your love and caring.  A Grateful List for all of the
kindnesses you have bestowed on us, would be several chapters, not mere pages.  

When you close this email, do so knowing we are grateful for you, grateful for your open,
generous hearts and grateful for the other people you have shared our story with.

Alicia, Nick, Aurora, Ambrosia and Avalon.
Our Journey:
Avalon's Army of Angels