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What Are You Thankful for This Memorial Day?

What are you thankful for?

lilacsI can start. I’m thankful for these lilac bushes. These fragrant, petal-heavy, sun-lit lilac bushes that I stumbled on while walking my dog along the Chicago River this morning. I smelled them in the air before I even saw them. I’m thankful that–now that I’ve picked myself a few bunches of these flowers–my apartment is full of their fresh, springtime scent.

I’m thankful that it’s a beautifully sunny Memorial Day weekend after a long and cold winter. That morning walks now mean the sound of birdsong and the pleasant feeling of sunshine and no heavy coat.

I’m thankful for my brother Owen. While we prepare to spend the next few days visiting with friends and enjoying barbecues and welcoming the start of the summer, my brother Owen is in Afghanistan, serving in our United States Army. He’s there so that we may enjoy the many beautiful things that come with being Americans. I’m thankful to all of the men and women who, like Owen, have served and continue to serve our nation. I’m thankful to their friends and family members who support them, even though it means so much sacrifice.

I’m thankful for my friends and family, some of whom I will see this weekend. Some of whom I will call throughout the weekend to hear how they are spending the holiday and to tell them that I love them. I’m thankful for my  goddaughter who turns one on Sunday, a precious little thing that I will get to hold and kiss next weekend when she is baptized.

I am thankful that my husband has two whole days off this weekend — a huge rarity in our lives these days — and that we will get to enjoy beautiful weather, good food, and fun times with one another and with our friends.

I challenge you to write down five things for which you feel grateful. It’s not always easy. As one of my friends recently said, “we all have our issues.” Yes, life can be hectic and hard and there is a lot of sadness mixed in with the happiness. But sometimes all it takes is something as simple as an unexpected bush of lilacs to remind you of just how much you have to be thankful for.

Happy Memorial Day weekend, all. If you’d like to share your thoughts, I’d love to hear from you at @allisonpataki. Be safe and have a wonderful holiday.

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Allison Pataki
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