When I was a kid at Thanksgiving dinner, before we ate, we went around the table to say what we were thankful for. We always made fun of both my mom and my mormor (grandmother) for saying “I’m thankful for my family” every year. It was a nice tradition. I’ll do it with my kids this year if I can hold them off the stuffing long enough.

It’s a hard year for giving thanks. For many families, this is the first Thanksgiving without a loved one, lost to COVID-19 or for other reasons, and I can only imagine the pain of going through that while also having to stay distant. Even for those who are lucky enough to have escaped this, the year has brought unbelievable challenges.

But I still see the value in being grateful. So let me say, just briefly….

I’m thankful for my family, that everyone has remained healthy and we have come through so far intact. I’m incredibly grateful, in particular, for my husband. So many big life choices I’ve make are deliberate — job, school, when to have kids. That I met Jesse, almost 20 years ago now, was basically just luck. Being at the right dining hall at the right time. It was the best luck.

I’m thankful for the extra time with my kids this year. As I watch my older one, in particular, grow into her own person, this has been a chance to connect with her.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to reflect on what I want to do next professionally. The combination of the pandemic and turning 40 has pushed this thinking to the fore and I think it’s probably on net a good thing, even if I do not have any answers.

And, finally, I’m thankful to you for subscribing, forwarding, reading this platform. Being able to write in this way, here, has been transformative. Much of the (hopefully helpful) work I’ve done in the last few months on kids, child care, COVID and schools has only been possible because of connections I was able to make through this newsletter. Being a lady with a newsletter is a new thing, but one I’m grateful for.

I hope you find some rest this week and weekend, in whatever way you are able to take it.