Wide Awake: Thank You
Remember why life really is good

Every November, I use my column to list all I have to be thankful for. It used to be difficult and I would worry about filling the page, but as I age and my children leave our home, it’s not so hard anymore. As the years pass, seeing all the good in life is much easier.

I’m thankful for thick raisin bread. I’ve started making French toast with it, and it’s like we’re having breakfast at a gourmet restaurant.

I never thought I would say this, but I’m thankful for texting. It keeps me in touch with my kids. I imagine 15 years ago, when kids went to college, parents would hear from them once or twice a week, if that. Thanks to our technology today, I connect with my kids almost every day. We may not be sharing long stories, but it’s still a connection. I’ll take it.

I’m thankful “This is South Jersey with Marianne Aleardi” – our new TV show airing on NJTV – will premiere this month. We started planning for the show two years ago, and it’s finally happening.

I’m thankful to John Servidio and Steve Priolo, two executives from NJTV. They OK’d our television show and helped me every step of the way. They could have been annoyed and bothered with me (and my questions) plenty of times, but they never were.

I’m thankful for Tastykake cherry pies.

I’m thankful I still have one daughter at home. I know the day is coming when I won’t, but for right now, life is good.

I’m thankful I like my husband. Knowing it will soon be just the two of us, it’s good to know the years ahead will be fun.

I’m still thankful for my heated blanket. I have been for four years now; I don’t think I’ll ever stop.

I’m thankful that after five months of having my dining room table covered in frames, they now have pictures in them, and I’ve moved them to the basement. (Let’s see how many months go by before they’re actually hung.)

I’m thankful for my latest discovery – wine slushies.

We have several new people working at SJ Magazine, and I’m thankful that we finally have a team where everyone is committed to their job. I never had that here before, and it’s a great feeling. I actually stop myself sometimes when I’m in my office, and I realize my co-workers are in this 100 percent. I am grateful.

I’m thankful for chocolate marshmallow ice cream.

While I’m not thankful to be back in the car line at school (I hate the car line), I am thankful to have one last year driving a child to school. Sometimes I think back to when I had all three girls in the car on the way to school, when they would fight over who sits in the front seat, then talk and laugh and even bicker for the entire ride. They filled the car with life. It’s pretty heartbreaking to think that time is gone, so I will cherish this last year.

I’m thankful for Camden Mayor Dana Redd. First, she said yes to an interview for our May cover story. Then she agreed to appear on the second episode of “This is South Jersey.” But more than that, after to speaking with her in depth, I’ve discovered she’s an incredible woman. At a time when there are so few women in politics, Mayor Redd is an impressive leader and role model. I’ve seen young girls run up to hug her on the street. I’ve also been with her when young women yelled out the car window, “DANA!” and she replied with a “HEY” right back at them. She is doing much for Camden, but even more for the young women who live there.

I’m thankful for the fleece jacket I keep in my office closet. It’s soft and comfortable, and no matter the temperature outside, I usually need it inside.

I’m thankful we live so close to New York City. I’m also thankful we can drive to the beach in a little over an hour.

Still thankful for zappos.com. And this year, I’ll add soap.com.

I’m thankful for apple cinnamon pancakes. (Isn’t everyone?)

Every time I write this column, I’m thankful for the people who read it. I appreciate how many people make a connection with me because we are sharing many of the same experiences or we simply have the same outlook on life. That is a gift that few people experience. So, I’m thankful for you.

November 2014
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