I learned about Thanksgiving when I moved to Canada and it quickly became my favourite holiday. Gratitude is one of the most powerful human emotions, and I love the idea of a day to get together to celebrate the good things that happened over the year. So, every Thanksgiving, my partner and I have a nice meal and talk about everything we’re thankful for — it’s part of our goal to raise appreciative children.
As with most people, 2020 hasn’t been easy on us either, but we could still find many reasons for gratitude in this dumpster fire of a year.
We’re grateful for:
The safe roof over our heads and the food in our bellies
For starters, we’re so lucky to have these basic survival necessities fulfilled while so many people worldwide suffer without them.
Staying healthy and having access to public health care
We’ve been covid-free and quite healthy this year, and it’s reassuring to know we have access to good, free health care whenever necessary.
Keeping our jobs and financial stability through the pandemic
Times are hard, so we’re deeply grateful for our stable jobs in industries that haven’t been affected by the recession.
Our relationship — and not hating each other much during isolation
Socially isolating with your soulmate is awesome! I’m so proud of myself for resisting the urge to run away after we’d been spending way too much time together and every little thing he did started getting on my nerves. I’m sure he feels the same.
Our youngest son was born, and it wasn’t as terrible as I feared
After an awful experience with my first child — I was in labour for over 36 hours and almost lost him — I was terrified of going through that again. But it was all different this time: labour was much shorter, the baby was out in 30 minutes, and even though there was no time for an epidural, it wasn’t nearly as painful as I feared — or maybe my brain just deleted that information, who knows.
I’m so thankful that Kyle was born healthy and quick, and grateful to the team at Royal Columbian Hospital for treating us so well. I’m also happy and relieved for successfully concluding this childbearing stage of my life.
Taking one year of parental leave
Because of covid-19, this leave is nothing like I planned, but I’m so grateful for this time with my babies in their first, crucial year of life. Thanks, Canada!
Our oldest son started walking and talking
And everyone else could relax and stop asking us about it. LOL
Ever since he was a newborn, Eli was strong-willed and did everything at his own pace. He started crawling when he was one and didn’t bother to walk until January, when he got up and walked weeks before his second birthday. That was also when he started talking, calling our dog by her nickname. We had taken him to a few specialists to see if there was a reason for the delay and they diagnosed no problem, so I knew he would get there eventually, but the pressure from family and friends was a pain. I’m glad that’s over and elated to see our boy running around all happy and talking non-stop.
Speaking of my firstborn, I love him more than anything. Still, I can’t describe how happy I was when he finally went back to daycare after the strictest period of self-isolation this year. Caring for a toddler all day every day — while at the final weeks of a pregnancy, working from home, cooking and managing the household — nearly drove me insane! I was so pleased and he was so excited to meet his buddies, I’ll never say that daycare is expensive again.
The community spirit in our city
What I love most about New Westminster is that, despite having over 70,000 inhabitants, it feels like a small, tight community where people are always open to help each other. I had noticed that before, but it became clear during the pandemic, with neighbours helping each other in any way possible. I hadn’t experienced this community feeling even in my building in Rio, so experiencing it as an immigrant here is fantastic.
My parents could finally come meet the baby
They wanted to be here for Kyle’s birth in May, but the Canadian border closure stopped them. After months of wait, last week they arrived here under the family reunification rule. I missed them so much! Now, I look forward to their quarantine period ending so we can be together — and my partner and I can get help with childcare and some much-needed quality time alone and as a couple.
Having access to information and the ability to buy the things we want or need
It may sound silly, but I’m grateful that we have almost unlimited access to information and communication and enough money to splurge on superfluous things, like books and courses. And also, to buy what we need for our wellbeing when something unexpected happens, like last month, when we immediately bought air purifiers to help us breathe through the forest fire smoke coming from the US.
Our friends and everyone who’s ever come into our lives
As I write this, I’m grieving the loss of my former business partner and one of my best friends in Brazil. She fiercely fought breast cancer until her body ultimately gave up earlier this month, and she was gone too young, too soon. I’m sad and will miss her so much, but I’m also blessed to have had her friendship, light and wisdom through the better part of my life.
Losing her made me think of how grateful we must be for the people who come into our lives and bring positive changes and evolution. I’m thankful for my family, friends, coworkers and everyone I’ve crossed paths with, even those who made me grow through painful lessons.
Our life in Canada
And last but not least, we’re grateful for our life in Canada, for the chance to start over and start a family in the country we chose as home. I love and miss Brazil every day, but with everything going on there this year — the economy, the political insanity, the way covid-19 is being handled — we feel safe and thankful to be here.
So, this is it! There are more things I could add to this list, but these are the main ones. I’m sharing because we’ve been complaining so much about how awful 2020 has been, that I felt like I was forgetting to notice and appreciate the good all around us.
What are you thankful for this year?