So Much Thanks
An annual list of all that’s good
By Marianne Aleardi

This may be the first time I’m not worried if I’ll be able to fill this page with all I’m thankful for. Even though I have no idea what I’m about to list, I’m very aware of just how grateful I should be.           

I’m thankful my mom turned 90 this year. 

Joe and I have this new philosophy: We’re saying yes to invitations, even if our first response is to say no. So we’ve had many experiences where we often meet new people. I’m thankful we had the idea, and the courage to actually do it. 

I’m thankful for newly sharpened pencils.

I’m thankful for reserved seats in movie theaters. 

I think this has made it into every Nov. column since the first: I am thankful for my heated blanket. I now use it year-round. 

I’m thankful for Nick Sirianni and Carli Lloyd, who said yes when we asked them to appear for an in-person interview with me. I’m also thankful for the sold-out crowds who attended both. (And even more thankful when people who attended stop me to say how much they loved it. It’s so wonderful – because I always tell them how much I loved it!)

I’m thankful for weekends when we have lots to do. Joe is thankful for weekends when we have nothing to do.

After 4 years, I actually grew tomatoes! I’m thankful for Toni Farmer who helped make that happen. (You can watch how helpful she is, and how not-so-great I am, in our Facebook series “The Goal is to Become a Gardener.”)

I’m thankful for warm socks.

I’m thankful for Black iced tea – not herbal, not flavored, just plain old regular Black tea. It makes me happy.

I’m thankful for the game Connections on the NY Times app. I pretty much never get it right, but I’ve started to become comfortable taking on the challenge. It makes the few times I win really satisfying.

I’ll be forever grateful for the many South Jersey businesses who continue to partner with SJ Mag Media. They enable us to do what we love.

I’m thankful for vanilla ice cream. Really, it’s the best flavor.

I’m thankful Joe and I take walks when it’s raining. It’s very odd. But kind of fun.

I’m thankful for gluten-free pancakes that actually taste good.

I’m thankful when I say I want to take a selfie and my daughters just go with it (even though they really don’t want to). 

I’m thankful for our old home movies, which I had copied from VHS tapes to a hard drive. I can watch a few minutes of the girls dancing in our foyer 15 years ago with just a quick click on my computer. A great way to brighten up the afternoon.

Believe it or not, I’m thankful for Taylor Swift. I’ve been doing a deep dive of her songs and she is an exceptional writer. (My favorite line so far: You kept me like a secret, but I kept you like an oath.) Plus, if girls today follow her lead, women of the future will be smart, brave and confident. Won’t that be wonderful. 

I’m thankful for bonfires.

Even though Joe and I have been married for 36 years, I’m thankful we can still go out to dinner and talk as if we are the only 2 people in the restaurant. 

I’m thankful for funnel cake on the Boardwalk.

I’m thankful Joe loves cooking the tomatoes from my garden and turning them into a red sauce for us to have with pasta and shrimp. And wine.

I’m thankful for hotdogs (with mustard only) at Phillies games. They’re pretty gross everywhere else.

I was reading a social media post where someone said they loved how their home is no longer cluttered since becoming an empty nester. I can’t say that. I’m thankful I had days when my house was filled with backpacks, Diet Coke cans and hair ties laying all over the place.

I can’t say 2023 has been the greatest year. I feel keenly aware of all the not-so-great changes happening everywhere, plus people feeling unhappiness and pain – almost everywhere. But isn’t it interesting that I started this column knowing I would easily fill the page. That surprises me. I guess you can always look around and see the good. It may take a while to find, but somehow it is always there. I’m thankful for that.

Read more “Wide Awake” by Marianne Aleardi

November 2023
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