Happy Thanksgiving! Naturally, we're focused on what we're thankful for.
I like to think that I'm thankful throughout the year but when Thanksgiving rolls around, I feel even more blessed for all that I have. This year has thrown my family a few unexpected curveballs, and I'm still having difficulty accepting some of them. Now that I'm a parent, though, I can't crumble when life is difficult. I've had to pull it together on occasions when I just wanted to cry myself to sleep. Being a parent has taught me how to hold myself together, for not only my daughter but for my husband, too. So this Thanksgiving, I am beyond thankful for my little bundle of happiness. At 20 months old, Maggie is truly a blessing, giving me strength and a newfound love of embracing the little things in life. I'm so grateful that I'm a mom, but I'm even more thankful for the inexplicable and unconditional love that I have for my little one. -- Jennifer Berger
Some women are born to be mothers. I never had such aspirations. My education was my first priority. Then my career. Marriage? Not a goal either. After a long, rich dating life not without opportunity to wed, I met Richard. I knew almost instantly he would be the one I’d want to father any child I might want. Six years later, we decided to start a family. It took almost a year until I became pregnant with Harrison. The day I brought him home from the hospital, it was as if my eyes took in color for the first time — during the drive, all I remember is the intense blue sky framing the vivid red and orange leaves that clung to the trees up high. A week later, Harrison celebrated his first holiday. We took turns holding him around the dining room table and gave thanks as we never had before. My sweet Thanksgiving miracle turns 9 this week. That’s a lot to be thankful for. -- Valerie Kellogg
For the first time this year, my two children, my husband and I will celebrate Thanksgiving at a restaurant. Events have conspired to make us give up on a home-cooked holiday — and I’m not just talking about the aftereffects of superstorm Sandy. My father, who has Parkinson’s disease, is in a nursing home in New Jersey and my mom doesn’t want to leave him alone. My mother-in-law, who lives in Queens, is 83 and the traffic-clogged drive to New Jersey is too much for her this time. My husband and I could host a smaller celebration just for his side of the family, but the thought of the cleanup exhausted us. I’m not sure how the restaurant will go over with the kids, both teenagers, or with my husband and me, for that matter. But at least someone else will do the cooking, serving and dishwashing, and we can afford to pay the check. That’s something I’m grateful for this year. -- Beth Whitehouse
Amid the mind-numbing stories of loss and devastation wrought by Sandy shines the kindness and compassion shown by people around us. This thought hit home particularly for me: That people need people — even more than power and gas — especially during a crisis. Sharing a meal, a house, a few laughs, and holding hands and saying a prayer for our neighbors helped us all pull through the past two weeks. Without human kindness — no matter how much electricity and fuel we have in store — this world would be a cold and dark place, and our journey unbearable. So this Thanksgiving, I am ever more grateful for humanity, the power within us and beyond us, and for the love that binds us all. -- Leema Thomas
There are so many things to be thankful for this year. My family and I are in good health, we survived Sandy with just a few days without electricity but no damage to our homes, and early next year Andre and I are getting married in a small ceremony with close friends and family in attendance. But one of the things I'm most grateful for is that our son, Jonathan, is FINALLY sleeping in his own bed. If you've ever slept next to a flip-flopping, kickboxing, all-over-the-bed toddler, then you understand what I'm talking about. It's the little things. --Shameka Dudley
It’s Thanksgiving, and more than ever, I’m thankful for my wife, Samantha. Sam, the mother of our toddler son, Evan, is a wonderful companion and a calming presence. But more than anything, she is a phenomenal mom who has taught me how to be the best dad I can be. Sam’s patience with me — and believe me, sometimes it takes a lot! -- has helped me feel confident that our rambunctious 15-month-old is safe in my care. -- Patrick Whittle
We want to wish you all a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving!