There are so many things to be thankful for...good health, a beautiful boy, who while only 1 persists in thinking he's a big boy (here's a picture of him brushing his teeth), and a career I love, but this year I'm most thankful for my wonderful family.
Like so many others, we've had a tough year financially. With two struggling businesses, income dwindled until we decided to move in with my mother. I'm not sure how many thirty-something women want to move in with their mothers, but I wasn't one of them. I consoled myself with the thought it would only be for a brief time.
Now, here we are over half a year later and I don't want to live anywhere else, at the moment. My little boy loves his ba ngoi (maternal grandmother in Vietnamese) and she loves him. He's the only grandchild she's been able to see daily. She takes him almost every morning for a couple of hours and goes on walks or waters the yard. She feeds him breakfast and his late night snack. And, I get a precious two hours of time. In the beginning, when I wasn't getting much sleep, I used the time to nap. Now, I use the time to work.
An additional benefit of living with my mother, I now understand and appreciate her more than I ever would have otherwise. The saying, "Just wait until you're a mother," well I understand it so much better now. My mother's not the most loving of mothers...far from it, but she's one of the most practical. When I'm having a bad day, there's nothing like her wry sense of humor or feisty "snap out of it" to help me deal.
Hubby has been great about the whole situation too. He loves to garden and he, my mother and my stepfather went crazy this year in the backyard. We had okra, sunflowers, squash, bittermelon, a half dozen types of peppers, and a variety of herbs. Plus, he gets his fill of Vietnamese food, which he loves, courtesy of my stepfather who loves to cook.
Then there's my brother and sister. My brother and I are a lot alike and I always had a special place in my heart for him since I helped raise him. He has a great sense of humor and while not very affectionate, knows how to give a bear hug when I need it. He and my husband also went crazy on building new aquariums, which our little boy loves. My sister takes our little one for a few hours every now and again, which is a nice surprise break for us.
The rest of our family has been great about the whole thing as well. No one looks down on us, though some might think we're a little crazy since the house is a zoo, what with four dogs, a squawking bird and tons of fish. But, what's a little craziness when there's so much love and so many helping hands?