As the end of the year approaches, it’s time for all of us to be thankful and yet, this year, I’m finding it hard. For the first time since we’ve been working for ourselves, Ashtyn and I are facing real struggles. These are struggles I don’t talk about with anyone online or off. There’s many things people just don’t know about because I’m not the type to complain, whine, or want pity. I just want the struggles to end.

It’s been an especially hard year with CT. He turned 14 and a mix of teenage rebellion with inability to control certain aspects of his life due to being autistic have led to daily problems. Every day, hour, minute is a struggle and for the first time, homeschooling has actually felt like a chore. I’ve always enjoyed homeschooling, but some days I just want to throw all the school books out the window. It’s very frustrating. That’s just secondary to all of the other things going on that I just feel are too much to talk about.

So, I have to truly think about what I’m thankful for this year. I can’t be not thankful because I do have all of my basic necessities (sort of): shelter, food, clothing. I’m luckier than many people living in Michigan. I know people who have been living in their cars or shelters. I have to be grateful for that, but I still feel a bit lackluster going into the holiday season.

So, today, I’m going to try to list what I’m thankful for, if nothing else, to remind myself of why I’m so grateful to be alive. I have my life, which is the most important thing I can have.

So, without further ado…

I’m grateful for my girlfriend/partner, Ashtyn. Without her, I’d probably not be alive. She saved my life when I needed saving the most. We’ve had very few struggles, but now, on the eve of our 6th anniversary together, we’re facing our biggest struggle of all. It’s truly testing us as a couple and making us evaluate our lives and priorities. I owe so much to Ashtyn and yet, some days, I feel so far away from her. It is my goal to remind myself daily of how much she means to me and why I’m lucky to have her in my life.

I’m grateful for the two rotten “kids” we have, CT and Oliver (the Shih Tzu). Both know how to drive me absolutely bonkers, make me want to pull my hair out, scream, yell, and yet be the most loving, caring, unconditionally accepting person/dog in my life. The reward of parenthood is great, if you wait around for these rare moments, but all the off-the-wall ones leading up to them are bound to drive any other person to drink.

I’m grateful for my wheelchair. It’s comfortable and dependable. It acts as my legs. Without my wheelchair I’d be unable to move anywhere or get around. I miss just cruising around in my chair, like I used to in college. I know what it is like to have a crappy, lemon wheelchair so I LOVE my current chair. I don’t want to think about life without it.

I’m grateful for my computer. I seriously am. It’s been helpful in paying my bills and allowing me to work from home, thus far. I’ve also had the chance to meet many amazing people through Twitter, Myspace, and other online locations. Without my computer, I don’t know what I’d do.

I’m grateful to my Grandfather, Willis, for telling me no matter what, he accepts me. This was a revelation I was grateful for, even if he doesn’t truly understand who I am or why I am the way I am. He would rather I be in his life in any form than castigate me the way others in my family have. I looked at pictures of us when I was little, and it’s really clear how important he’s always been to me.

I am also grateful to have had some good years with my very ill grandmother, Noonie (Melba). She inspired me to learn to sing and taught me the fundamentals of performance. I just don’t want her to have to suffer.

I am grateful to have Sylvia in my life. My mother in law is a pain in my butt. I can say that with all honesty, but she does cook for me. I’m the only one who gets her to make homemade mashed potatoes and Beef Stroganoff. She also goes out of her way, to buy me things I like/need for work and play (like video games) and can stretch a dollar like no other. Our love/hate relationship is what keeps this household full of happiness (and occasional yelling)!

I’m grateful to live in a time where I don’t have to hide who I am. I’m grateful to have supportive friends, to help me through my transition. As I start this long and winding road, I’m grateful to be able to share all these insanity-filled moments with all of you through my blog.I’m grateful for my friends and readers. Without you, I’d be nothing. I’m so glad I’ve met all of you.

I’m grateful I have the ability to dream, create and inspire. As I like to say, “The Creativity is What I Crave…”

What are you grateful for this holiday season? Leave a comment and let me know!

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