With the celebration of Thanksgiving this weekend, I wanted to stop and think about all the things I am thankful for. It really comes as no surprise to me that my gratitude is mostly aimed at those who in the past and in the present have touched and influenced my life. As I get older, I find gratitude very easy to express.
Let’s start by looking back to the past. I’m so grateful for my upbringing in Grey County on a small 100-acre farm. Back 70 + years ago there was such a sense of community as everyone helped each other. If a family was having a particularly hard time financially, we kids didn’t really see it, as neighbours quietly pitched in donating time and resources to help them out. I’m so grateful I was taught how important it is to lend a helping hand when the need arises.
I’m so grateful for the happy, loving childhood I experienced. Family was everything and there certainly was a lot of relatives around. People tended to live their entire lives in the one area so it was easy to see aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins on a regular basis. Visiting was our main form of entertainment and what marvelous times we had. I’m so grateful for the wonderful memories I have of the times my siblings and I spent with our cousins. As a child, I learned about the important contributions both the nuclear and extended families make on one’s happiness.
Being responsible for your actions and having a strong work ethic were behaviours taught to us at a very early age. Everyone who lived on a farm from the age of 6 onward had chores to do. There was no money paid for doing this, you were not asked to do the work, it was just part of being a member of the family. I’m so grateful for learning these values as they have served me well throughout my life.
I’m so grateful for the influence my mother had on my life. Mum was a war bride and before she married my dad she worked in the civil service in London, England. A big city girl definitely had more modern, liberating ideas than the country girls of rural Ontario. Mum was ahead of her time in her thinking and she stressed upon my sister and I that everything was possible for a girl to achieve. In her eyes, I believe Betty and I have made her proud.
I’m so grateful for the lessons my dad taught me. He was an honest, hard-working man with a great sense of humour and he loved to tell a good story. Maybe some of those qualities have rubbed off on me.
And now to present times:

I’m so grateful for having Chuck by my side for 53 years. We have worked as a team raising a family, building a business and creating a happy life together.
I’m so grateful for my children, their spouses and for my four fantastic grandkids. I’m so proud of all their accomplishments.
I’m so grateful for the close relationship I have with my in-laws. Again, this reaffirms the importance of family. Chuck is from a very large family and I always enjoy our visits with this loud, crazy group. We share so many laughs and good times with them.
I’m so grateful for the good health my family and I are enjoying. How fortunate we are.
And finally, I’m so grateful for the privilege of living in Canada. What a great country to call home.
I could go on and on. This weekend I hope everyone will just stop for a moment and reflect on what we have and not what we wish we had. By doing this, we will realize that we are all very rich in so many ways. Happy Thanksgiving Day.