Thanksgiving. A time for family, football, food and fun. Yes, I did that on purpose.
Instead of using this blog post to pontificate about whether or not turkey actually makes you sleepy (only if you eat about a dozen whole turkeys) and whether or not cranberry sauce should be made in a pot or slid out of a can (of which I won’t eat either) I wanted to use this venue to send out thanks to those who have made a positive impact on my life. To those people who I have not thanked enough over the years. Like most of my blogs I am typing “from the hip” so if anyone feels slighted please don’t. Just know that you are not as important as you think you are….ha ha. Just kidding.
First I should start off with family. I have a fantastic wife who embraces me for who I am. She puts up with my nonsense and gives it right back. I am thankful for those times when we can put aside the variety of stressful situations we are working through, money, medical, mommyhood (yes I did it again, get over it) and just laugh at one another. Be it watching a movie or playing with Ainsley, just being able to let is all go in front of you is a blessing.
Speaking of blessings, if my wife is #1, then Ainsley is 1A. My daughter. She just turned three two days ago and she is the best thing that I can ever been a part of. No matter what type of day I am having. No matter how much pain I am in. She can always turn it around. Her laughter is priceless and knowing that she sees me as someone she can depend on pushes me to do better. To get up off of my but and try and get healthy. To take advantage of opportunity. To see the value in what I already have. I love nothing more than her. I never will.
My sister Jen, brother-in-law TJ, niece Kylie, and nephew Preston. I appreciate all you do, especially for Ainsley. You are the best godparents and are just so much fun to hang out with. I remember my baby sister when she was real little being carried around by our mother. The rosy little cheeks and the endless energy. To see you now with a wonderful husband and family makes me so proud of you. Having a positive attitude no matter the headache. You all are the best, especially because you let me wear cut off muscle shirts at Clearwater Beach. Now if we can just stop falling in parking lots and get that compound started we will be in good shape.
My little brother Jeff and his extended family. All I can say about you is that you are a fighter. You keep trying to do what you can. You have been knocked down so many times, some by me (recognize older brother authority), and you keep getting back up. You continue to meet hurdles and figure out a way to get it done. Once you wrap up school and start a career I can see everything coming together. And at the very least you can always be counted on to have an exotic animal or two floating around the house somewhere.
Dad. I know we have not always seen eye to eye. I remember quite a bit about my childhood and the different ways you were a part of it. I remember dressing up like you for Halloween, in my best postal worker costume, and playing football with you being as assistant coach. Marching in parades and driving me to college. We have had some incredible times. I am thankful that we are still in contact and trying to maintain some connection. I know life has gotten in the way and situations are what they are, but we are trying.
To my in-laws Phil and Kelley, and my sister-in-law Alissa. You have welcomed me into your home when you did not have to. You have accepted me as part of your family and I am forever grateful. You have accepted me when times were good, and when I was a crabby bastard frustrated with life. You have always been there for us and that does not go unnoticed. All I can continue to say is thank you and that one day you will have to let em pay for dinner. And oh yeah, Eastern Promises 2 is possibly in production. Get ready.
Nana, Aunt Debbie, Aunt Ellen, and Uncle Ricky. You are my connection to extended family. You are the ones who I can remember being there for us when we were kids, when we got married, and when Mom and Papa passed. From good times to bad, you have always supported us. I cannot count the number of vivid memories I have of you all. Playing canasta with you and Papa, running around and cracking my head open on a dresser, hiding under a table while Ellen and her girlfriends came over because I thought they were cute, barbequing, and family reunions. You all have wonderful families and are inspirations to me.
Dave, Justin, and Jarva. You are that guys that got me thru college. The number of stories that we have to share wouldn’t fit within this post. Things like Vegas, bachelor parties, Libby, Tuck in a sock, expo-in at the round, plugs stuck to headboards and windshields, haircuts in the bathrooms, bonfires, and shots of Rumple Minze immediately come to mind. You are great friends and no matter the distance or time between calls, we can get together at any time and it will be like we just saw each other yesterday. I love you guys. You are all brothers and I will be there for you. Anytime. Anywhere.
Aaron. Oh Aaron. You are one of the most sincere and honorable people I know. You are an excellent father, a fantastic professional, and an even better friend. My life is better because you are in it. You always bring the best out of me and I know that I can count on you for anything. We have so many stories together and always have each others back. You are one of the few people that I can reach out to on all fronts. You understand my life and how to help me move forward in it. Sure, we have stories like the “laundry room” and others of the sort, but I am most thankful for your generosity, joyfulness, and positive attitude while always keeping it real. You always back my play and you are family. Always will be.
Chris, Greg. You two are the folks that I connected with most here at Binghamton. Greg, although relationships and processing those relationships was not always comfortable, we found a connection discussing the value of relationships and I thank you for that. You always remembered the person and no matter how business like I try to make it you brought it down to the person. That and you ate food off the bottom of the over to be polite. The fruitcake lady and I will never forget that. Chris, you are the person that I can just chat with all day long. We are in very similar places in our life and appreciate similar things. Although my vocabulary is not on par with yours, I can usually keep up. Talking about Real Genius, automobiles (and how we can’t afford a new one), and family is always enjoyable. I am thankful for your “drop ins” and as you know if you don’t come see me I will come and bug you.
And now most sincerely,
Mom. I specifically wanted to end this with you. Even with you not being with us anymore, I feel that you are still one of the most important people in my life. I constantly think about you and what you would say to me when I am struggling with life. I remember all that you did and put up with for us kids. Being there now (on a lesser scale) living with illness and not letting that interfere with our happiness. We were always your priority and you never made excuses. I love you and I always will.