Thankful For…


Giving things away

Thank-you notes, writing them as much as receiving them

The honor of friendship

My children’s friendships with their pals

My children’s friendships with one another

My children’s friendships with me

My dear husband

November’s neon rose sunsets

Texting on a flip phone

Peonies, not to single them out or anything from flowers, which are amongst the best things in the universe

Missing meteor showers and middle of the night sky things I probably wouldn’t see even if I were to look

That this autumn didn’t make me feel churned up the way autumn usually does

Morning walks to the bus stop with my fourth grader

The sensation of missing people

Friend’s engagement that has her giddily happy

The current babies

The past babies

The current babies’ mamas for sharing their children so generously

My daughter’s mother for sharing beyond generosity

Her family for including us in theirs

My family near and far

Generosity in all its expressions, there are so many if you notice

Pokemon cards

Housemates’ friends-and-work-filled lives brushing up with ours

My teenagers’ engagement in their worlds

The preschooler’s expressions, verbal and facial, even the ones that annoy us

Meeting Santa and other fascinating people for my work

Al Gore, Barack Obama and Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton

People who help during disasters






My feet—and my pretty toenails

Readers of my work


Colleagues in all manifestations

Handmade things


Friends’ hopes and dreams

My hopes and dreams

Peace when we find it and that we aspire to it

By no means is this list exhaustive—I didn’t even put down frozen yogurt, Nashville or co-ops or even hope—because the truth is my gratitude abounds. If I believe one thing by now, it’s this: our appreciation counts.

I don’t think this is all about saying thank you or even some notion of silver lining or everything happens for a reason (baloney to that). I have some friends struggling in giant ways and I’m pulling for their health first and foremost. There are two indentations on the sidewalk I traverse every single day that resemble rabbit’s ears and having learned that a seventh grader who lives on that street stops there, foot in each “ear” for luck, I’ve begun to pause there every time I walk by—and wish for the health of people who need it. What I know about my friends’ struggles is this: they find happiness even in the crevices and if the lucky ears just magically worked, the happiness would flow fast as a spring stream. Meantime, gratitude is about noticing and when you notice, you find happiness in all sorts of places.

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Author: Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser's work has appeared on the New York Times, Salon, and the Manifest Station amongst other places. Find her on Twitter @standshadows

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