A moment of calm before the holiday storm. I sit in a small coffee shop and I sip my almond milk latte and stare at a screen. Music plays. Two women behind me talk loudly. Outside, people shuffle by and traffic blurs up Amsterdam. I take a deep breath, swallow the mild November air that comes through the open door. My mind swirls with bits and pieces, things I should do and must do. There are bags to pack and emails to send and parties to plan. There are big things and small and they beckon for my attention, my energy, but in this moment, I push them away. Sip. Breathe. Think. And when I think, two words come to me, trite and true and tremendous:
I'm thankful for all of it. For the clarity and the confusion, the milestones and mistakes, the hellos and the goodbyes.
I'm thankful for this maddening and magical city that continues to raise me, this city whose heartbeat is mine.
I'm thankful for the colors of my life, bright and beguiling, and also for the blacks and whites, but maybe mostly for the grays.
I'm thankful for the memories, good and bad and sharp and fuzzy, for the stuff of my past that stays with me, warm by my side.
I'm thankful for the dreams, simple and profound, sweet and sobering, that come at night and during the day.
I'm thankful for the ideas, crappy ones and clever ones, itty-bitty and Louisville Slugger in size.
I'm thankful for stories, those I've read and written and lived, for my characters real and rough and imagined.
I'm thankful for passion, for the Aidan fire that's not so little inside me.
I'm thankful for my friends, older and newer, personal and professional, real and virtu-real.
I'm thankful for my family, blood and beyond, here and gone.
I'm thankful for the man who knows me and loves me best, who accepts my fierce flaws and shaky strengths, who tolerates my endless efforts to edit words and worlds, who holds my hand and kisses me good morning and goodnight.
I'm thankful for three little girls who've made me. Three girls with long, tangled hair and fair skin and blazing blue eyes who grip me and ground me, who fill me day after day with pride and fear and laughter and awe and wild, wild love.