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Barbara Lombardo of Saratoga Springs, NY, is a journalism adjunct at University at Albany and retired executive editor of The Saratogian, The Record and the Community News. Follow her on Twitter @Barb_Lombardo.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Unashamed to be grateful on Thanksgiving

A year ago, a doctor at Albany Med said my father wouldn’t make it to his 82nd birthday in December without dialysis, a life-prolonging option that dad rejected. He’d had enough. He’d made peace with himself, his family and God.  
On Thursday, he will be holding court at the end of my dining room table, no doubt asking for a second helping of my son David’s stuffing and a small piece of his son-in-law Jeff’s blueberry pie. The kidney failure halted, and though the past year has had its medical and emotional ups and downs, Dad is with us. That is a gift for which I am grateful.
My sons will be at the table, too. The Windy City promises to remain calm for Joe’s flight home from grad school, and David is confident that he’ll be able to file his Thanksgiving Day stories for his editors at the Daily Gazette in time for dinner, or at least for the traditional post-meal Scattergories. Nothing makes this mother happier than to have her children at hand.
And then there’s my husband of, let’s see, holy smokes, 34 years, doing our own things while also enjoying each other’s company. We had nine fun years before kids, a wonderful and relatively easy time raising them, and transitioned without a bump into the empty nest. I’d tell you that we warn David, who lives in town, to knock before entering, but that would be too much information. Let me just say that I am so thankful to have Jim as my partner in life.
I am grateful, too, that Jim and I stay in touch with our siblings and that some of them and their children will be joining us for Thanksgiving. I bought my overly long dining room table 30 years ago with the hope that it would be surrounded time and again by family and friends.
I consider myself lucky. Many people, I know, have suffered losses, are facing serious problems, are struggling, have aching hearts. My thoughts and prayers are with these relatives, friends, colleagues and strangers.
I am thankful for my health, for a comfortable and happy life, and for the predisposition to recognize every day as a gift. Sounds simplistic and sentimental, but so what? I have much to be thankful for. I hope you do, too.


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