So Much to be Grateful For

This is my second Thanksgiving in the city.  When I move away from home, I do not fly home for Thanksgiving.  I find Thanksgiving travel to be the most frustrated and with only four days, it seems as if I spend all of the holiday in the airport.  Last year, I ran around getting groceries to prepare for dinner.  This year, I am being a New Yorker.  I have dinner reservations.  It feels good not to worry about preparations.

There are several things that I am thankful for.

You – My Readers.  I am humbled and honored that you take time from your busy schedule to read my musings.  We are constantly inundated with stuff in our inbox, text messages, tweets.  So when I hear someone say, “when I see a new blog post I wait for a quiet time and read it with a cup of coffee.”  A friend told me that.  That is the biggest complement I can receive.  My dad used to say, “avoid talking loud and saying nothing…worse yet getting diarrhea of the mouth.”  I know most people say for a successful blog you need to have an entry every day or tweet.  I value your time so I do not want to have an post for the sake of.   Also, I do not have something inspiring, funny, encouraging, or enlightening to say everyday.  I wish I possessed that talent, but I do not.  Also, I was raised that “just because something enters in your head does not mean it needs to come out your mouth.”  My goal with my blog is best stated by Maya Angelou: “when a writer or an artist tries to tell the truth and tries to tell it eloquently, it appeals to all people, regardless of race.”  When I post an entry, my wish is that it appeals to all and makes you laugh or smile or encourages or causes you to think about something in a way you had not considered.  Thank you for honoring me with your time.

My Family and Friends. I have said it before and cannot express it enough.  My greatest asset is the love and encouragement I receive from family and friends.  They are the pillars of my foundation.

My family Thanksgiving traditions I keep wherever I go.  I called home last night and was delighted to hear my nieces and nephews continuing those traditions.  In my family, we retired mom from cooking years ago.  My sisters and I make the meals and mom has taken over as the official “taste tester” in dad’s absence.  Years ago, my older sister started bringing the kids in the kitchen for the holidays, particularly Thanksgiving.  Each one was responsible for one dish.  Now when they were younger, that consisted of helping stir or crack eggs or roll dough.  However, at the dinner table, they would ask “did you try the potato salad, I made it.”  As they got older, they started to own a dish.  This is wonderful bonding time and when stories and traditions are retold.  I miss being part of that the most. My dishes are: collard greens, mac-n-cheese, and mom’s seafood gumbo.

Also, one niece was born on Thanksgiving.  She’s our Thanksgiving baby.  After her birth, my sister said, “Oh my goodness I gave birth to your baby.”  Now she is much prettier than her auntie, but her personality has earned her the nickname of my “mini-me.”  My mini-me is officially a teenager and she bemoans that even though I am miles away, I still manage to interfere with her dating prospects.  I have spies back home to keep the undesirables away.  However, I am honored that even though she and her sisters call me old, they still don’t mind hanging out with their auntie.  They are anxious for a trip to NYC and when I come to town, they are cool hanging with auntie and bringing their friends along.

Opportunity.  New York has a pantheon of cultures.  Sometimes you never know how fortunate you are until someone else reminds you.  It is not until I talk to immigrants that I am reminded that in spite of my struggles moving to NYC, at least I have the opportunity.  This country is unique in that no other place on earth offers the opportunities to all regardless of race, gender, or religion.  We may not attain to our hopes and dreams, but the opportunity of the American dream exists and especially in NYC.  I am grateful for freedom and even though as a nation we sometimes disagree and show our ugly side in public, at least we are allowed to disagree publicly.  That spawned this blog.  Thankful for the Native Americans whose generosity to the Pilgrims caused this country to exist.  Thankful for our men and women in uniform who voluntarily serve this country.

New York City.  You know, despite the trash on the street and the high price of real estate, it is still the best city in this country.  It is a true American original.  People talk about the rudeness of New Yorkers, but I tell you this – this city has a hard core but a generous underbelly.  When there is crisis or tragedy, nobody rallies like a New Yorker.  9/11 nor Sandy can hold this city down.  New Yorkers are a special breed.  I’m loving this city.  New York, you know how to make an impression. Last week, I went to see the Cotton Club on Parade – wow!  Only in New York.

Start spreadin’ the news, I’m leaving today
I want to be a part of it: New York, New York

If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere,
Come on come through, New York, New York.

Ronda Lee
Founder, Editor-in-Chief
Ronda is an attorney, writer, and entrepreneur. She is a contributing writer for the Huffington Post. Originally from Chicago, she has lived in Los Angeles and New York. She loves to travel and is passionate about education equity, especially for first generation college students.