30 days of gratitude: day 19 – sue

day 19

while living in grand rapids, michigan, i was introduced to this crazy woman and instantly fell head over heels. every young woman needs a mentor, and every mentor needs a young woman. the two of us have been unstoppable ever since.

i am grateful…

  1. that the wilsons thought we should meet each other
  2. for attic chats and brainstorming sessions on how to conquer the world
  3. for every healthy and delicious meal you and roger have prepared for me
  4. for your nut yogurt (so damn good)
  5. that roger has never forced me to try his pepper powder collection
  6. and for the joy it brings me when ryan accidentally sprinkles too much of roger’s pepper on his meal
  7. that i know i always have an adorable old farmhouse to call home when i’m in grand rapids
  8. for your motherly advice
  9. and your unmotherly advice
  10. for the amazing, boundary-pushing literature you’ve created for youth covering topics like artificially insemination and incarceration
  11. that you potentially come up with more crazy ideas than i do
  12. that i tagged along for the 300-mile bike ride from grand rapids to chicago to share tillie anderson’s story with hundreds of youth
  13. for your encouragement of my writing and interest in youth
  14. that i have a twin a few decades older than me to lead me through life
  15. that you are unafraid to tackle difficult issues in our society
  16. for every hug
  17. and every tear
  18. for your continued investment in my career development
  19. for teaching me that it’s okay to not have everything figured out
  20. for roger’s secret comedic side
  21. to have your marriage as an example
  22. for sipping mocktails in the sunshine in your epically beautiful yard and garden
  23. that you’re someone i know i can say absolutely anything to, with no filter
  24. that i’m your chosen daughter (is that the name we landed on?)
  25. for supper clubs and your continual creation of community
  26. that you ride alongside me on our emotional rollercoasters
  27. for your reminders to be kind to myself
  28. for your love and care of german shepherds (and all animals)
  29. for the handmade greeting cards you send my way
  30. that i have such a fierce, unstoppable, ever-changing female role model to look up to and share my life with

30 days of gratitude: day 18 – the grants

day 18

dear grants,

what a blessing it has been to get to know each of you more and more over the past four years. when you find someone you love, you’re not always guaranteed to love their family, but you are all amazing! i cannot wait to continue to grow my relationship with each of you, and potentially become an “official” grant one day. (no pressure ryan.)

i am grateful…

  1. for the time i completely fell off of my bike, skinned my elbow and knee, and had a super wet bum the first time i met steph and dale (and they still accepted me)
  2. to have witnessed the amazing transformation/renovation of the tugan units (wish ryan had gone in on that one…)
  3. for our first hawaiian new year’s eve celebration at the outrigger club, especially our on-stage dance routine and seeing travis hungover for the first time in my life
  4. for the first several months, where i didn’t get that everything out of gordon’s mouth is leading to a punchline (boom, boom)
  5. and for the endless amount of bad “dad jokes” that i now know (i might regret saying i’m grateful for this…)
  6. for heather’s deep love for her three wonderful sons and her adopted daughters
  7. for the time dale let me beat him wrestling, only after informing me he was going to kill me
  8. that steph and dale let us crash their mini-moon and adventure on fraser island with them
  9. and that steph was there to save my life as the spa jets sucked my hair into them (no thanks to ryan)
  10. for that time i tried to keep up with the boys in darwin and drunk dialed dale to tell him i liked him better than ryan (i still do dale)
  11. for the endless similarities in every grant boy and their unique differences
  12. for the two years we’ve spent in hawaii and the time growing closer to travis and blair
  13. for heather’s anzac cookies, perfectly timed cups of tea, and loving hugs
  14. for steph’s signature dance move, intense hatred of horses, and extreme love of dogs
  15. that both grant brothers married such amazingly beautiful, strong, smart, and supportive women that i hope to call my sister-in-laws (aka SILlies) one day (including carly)
  16. that i now know that travis is entertained by literally anything and thinks the smallest things are absolutely hilarious
  17. for steph and blair’s understanding of what it means to date a grant
  18. that blair was the first american to steal a grant (made it a little easier for me to do the same)
  19. for getting to spend the first year of hugo’s life by his side and ensuring he likes to dance
  20. for all the boys’ lively, carefree, simple, fun, and hands-on approach to life
  21. for all the amazing accomplishments that have landed each of you the “best grant award”
  22. for gordon’s delicious brekkies and seafood cook ups on the barbeque
  23. for the amazing friends of all of the grants (seriously, what a fun crew!)
  24. for room beers and slope adventures in niseko with steph, dale, and that awesome crew
  25. that there is another baby grant to call me auntie on the way (fingers crossed for a girl)
  26. for that time gordon couldn’t process that my mom doesn’t drink, “are you sure i can’t get you a wine sherry?”
  27. that i know i have a home in australia and a home in hawaii no matter where we are
  28. for every time that all the grants get to reunite in one place, even if only for a few days
  29. for the fact that heather and gordon were in the circus back in the day (like for real, best story ever)
  30. that my someday in-laws are all people that i love, respect, and adore

30 days of gratitude: day 17 – new england literature program

day 17

i don’t remember how i heard about it or what the application was like, but i do remember the profound impact that university of michigan’s new england literature program (nelp) had on me. the people, the place, the reading, the writing. seriously one of the most unique and memorable six weeks of my life thus far.

i am grateful…

  1. that i was sober enough (just barely) to receive the director’s last minute phone call on st. patrick’s day freshman year of college telling me that although i had been waitlisted previously, a spot had opened up for the spring 2006 new england literature program
  2. and that i was able to sober up even more to get myself over to her office for an interview immediately
  3. for six weeks in the maine wilderness with absolutely no technology or external influences
  4. for my kingfisher cabin family, including the lower half (love you anna, alex, shae, paloma, erin, and drew)
  5. that paloma let me shave her head and tape a piece of her hair into my journal (the first true bond of a lasting love)
  6. for the 39 other students and 15 staff who challenged little 19-year-old sara to grow the fuck up
  7. for every unexplainable bruise that seemed to appear on shaelyn’s bum (yes, i have photos but i will spare you)
  8. for the natural beauty of camp wohelo and lake sebago
  9. for the stunning sounds surrounding me always, usually coming from anna or andrew or nels or hannah or one of the other amazing musicians in our nelp
  10. that i got eight college english credits to hang out in the woods with some of the best people i know reading and writing and hiking and dancing and laughing (even if it did totally wreck my chances of getting into the english honors program sophomore year)
  11. for team fire, basically the best food group known to nelp
  12. that i now have frost and dickinson poems eternally memorized and set to song in my head
  13. that i survived hiking into 90mph wind and rain while submitting mt. washington (seriously, rain hurts like hell when it is going that fast)
  14. for alistair’s bright blue rain pants (and the dance moves that came with them)
  15. for the opportunity to explore my love for public art experiments
  16. that my fellow nelpers helped to break my default white food only rule
  17. for quiet early mornings alone on the dock with my journal, followed by abrupt morning dips with paloma
  18. for the moment when my amazing journal group leader took me aside and said, “sara, you are very intelligent, but if you don’t take yourself and your ideas seriously, no one else will” after i had read a jewel poem during a group read-around #bestjournalgroupever
  19. for the hilarity of hannah and kevin and sensor and schlitts and the other crew of comedians helping me not take life too seriously
  20. that i participated in the mass streaking of the staff meeting (even if we did get in trouble…)
  21. that i spent six weeks reading the works of the transcendentalists in the exact landscape about which they were writing
  22. for alex’s butterflies-in-your-belly inducing hugs
  23. and andrew’s rendition of every bob dylan song, but especially “she belongs to me”
  24. for stolen bowls of ice cream with my favorite lady clan
  25. for night walks void of artificial light and filled with wildlife squeaks and scatters
  26. for aric’s nelp vocabulary flashcards #bestgiftever (these still get hung up in every house i live in… narma)
  27. that i have two fat journals full of literary reflections, self journeys, and meandering musings that will live on forever to remind me of the amazingness of my time at nelp
  28. for every single letter and care package that my friends and family sent me while i was banned from technology
  29. for nine day weeks, talent shows, contra dances, wunder kammens, and every other nelp-y thing not yet listed
  30. that more than ten years later, the relationships i made at nelp are still some of the most meaningful relationships that exist in my life

30 days of gratitude: day 16 – brian

day 16

dear brian,

since that day amanda and i saw you in our high school math class, i knew you were someone special. double accelerated and a head of long dirty blonde hair. over 15 years later and i still revel in the friendship we’ve created.

i am grateful…

  1. that i befriended the little freshman in our math class sophomore year
  2. and that you could help me with all the math homework i never understood (and never will)
  3. that you introduced me to victor wooten at 16
  4. and for constantly introducing me to new music that i absolutely love
  5. for your ridiculous musical talent and ability to play every instrument in existence
  6. that my interest in country/folk music finally wore off on you
  7. and that i can now tell you in earnest that i love dancing to your band (i mean chafo was great and all…)
  8. for every time you call me seeking advice about a new girl
  9. that you can still surprise me (kind of) with your complete life upheavals
  10. that i know i can tell you anything
  11. for your intelligent mind, academically and philosophically
  12. that you’re as crazy as i am
  13. for the times you’ve talked me out of doing something stupid
  14. and the times you’ve embraced me doing stupid things
  15. for the long pauses of appreciation you take after a bite of well-crafted food
  16. that you hurt your foot and got ada camping at bonnaroo
  17. and that you mailed me the bonnaroo schedule (with acts i have to see circled) to me at nelp since i didn’t have access to internet
  18. that i’ve gotten to see you perform on several occasions, in several locations
  19. for our long talks over good beer
  20. that i got a local tour of puerto rico complete with the world’s best ice cream

  21. and for that time taylor, you, and i cruised around san juan’s finest hotels
  22. for the opportunity to live vicariously through your adventures over the past 15 years
  23. for your amazing mom, dad, and sister
  24. and that we still both get jealous when the other one does something epic
  25. for the bonding experience that was “pippin”
  26. that your dreadlocks phase came to an end
  27. for getting to spend time with the beautiful maysa

  28. that i know you’ll be my best friend forever (yeah, bff)
  29. for how well we understand each other’s highs and lows, and how to help each other deal with them
  30. that you’re my b-ri

30 days of gratitude: day 15 – my stc boys

day 15

dear adam, cooper, curtis, patrick, peter, and timothy (in alphabetical order),

although all of you deserve your own day, you would take up an entire week, so you get to share a gratitude post. and truthfully, i am equally as lucky to have each and every one of you in my life.

i am grateful…

  1. for freshman and sophomore english classes (vant and schaeffer really brought us together)
  2. that pete was impressing girls (like lindsay brady) with his gentlemanly wiles way back in 7th grade
  3. that i have endless video footage of patrick singing show tunes and cooper explaining historical events to me (i won’t post it here…)
  4. to adam for the depth of my understanding of how to play fifa and a slew of other video games
  5. for your legendary saints night out boy band performance
  6. for that time you visited curtis and i at michigan and somehow got on television pretending to bleed maize and blue
  7. for the time i visited illinois state and got all adam’s frat brothers wasted on homemade wine, and the time we all went down for dumelle’s big 2-1
  8. for the time i visited princeton and knew as soon as i met her that daniela was the one for petey (mainly because she instantly started making fun of him with me)
  9. and for the many times i headed over to east lansing or down to champaign-urbana
  10. that you all put up with me, even if at times i’m probably like an annoying little sister
  11. and that you all look out for me (and judge the people i date) as if i were your sister
  12. that your families are all amazing and that i’ve had the opportunity to get to know them well
  13. that you have all remained such a tight knit group of friends over the years and distances
  14. for ridiculous nights being drunk and disorderly at duerr’s house
  15. and for ridiculous nights being drunk and disorderly in john’s garage
  16. for cooper’s magic ability to turn serious when i actually need to talk through something
  17. and his magic ability to make deep dish pizza appear at 3am
  18. for the beautiful, intelligent, and witty women you have found to start your lives with
  19. for all the times you’ve let me crash on your couches, guest beds, and floors when i am back in chicago or passing through los angeles
  20. that when my grandpa just passed, a few of you were some of the only friends to personally reach out and see how i was doing
  21. for that time tim and i embraced our love for jam bands at bonnaroo
  22. for my first real lesson in love, heartache, and the meaning of “hardwork” from our state champion athlete
  23. for that time that i got to perform alongside the best pippin ever to take the norris stage
  24. for tgi fridays friend dates
  25. that we all get to say we are friends with the leader of the teenage mutant ninja turtles
  26. for that cow mailbox and the one time when i couldn’t find the cow mailbox, got confused, and walked straight into a complete stranger’s house instead
  27. that i have gotten to watch all of you boys grow up into such amazing men (my motherly pride is seriously disgusting)
  28. that you let me be part of your voxer group for a short while (even if you had another one that was boys only)
  29. that i know if i really need any of you for something, you’d be there for your “schneids”
  30. that some things just never change with you boys…

30 days of gratitude: day 14 – chicago jr. school

day 14

dear chicago jr. school,

it only feels right that for day 14 i write about my second home, it is technically korrie’s birthday after all.

i am grateful…

  1. that the older i get, the more i appreciate the education i received at cjs
  2. that i spent the first 14 years of my life surrounded by love, diversity, and nature
  3. for your 50 acres of woodlands (including one of the last white cedar forests in illinois)
  4. that by the time i got to mr. mikulak’s 8th grade class, he had watched me grow up from birth (and already learned how to handle a schneider from my brother and sister)
  5. for the chance to play and experience every sport (since we only had 14 kids in our class)
  6. that environmental education, music, and art were required classes
  7. for the 12 character building qualities (i think they really did help build my character):
    CHARITY We care. We help others.
    COOPERATION We work together to support each other.
    COURTESY We use good manners.
    CREATIVITY We have our own ideas.
    GOOD JUDGMENT We think before we act.
    GRATITUDE We appreciate. We are thankful.
    HONESTY We always tell the truth.
    HUMILITY We are patient with others and ourselves. We are gentle.
    RELIABILITY We are dependable. We are punctual.
    RESOURCEFULNESS We care for our natural world. We solve problems.
    RESPECT We are kind, considerate, and thoughtful to others and self.
    SELF-CONTROL We do what is right. We chose to behave.
  8. that i was able to perform in our school assemblies and annual school musicals (even if korrie always got the lead…)
  9. for our annual camping trips and the trouble we got in during them
  10. for the outstanding educators that taught me and that i will remember forever
  11. for friday electives that taught me things like scrapbooking
  12. that in-school suspension meant i just got to hang out in the library all day and finish all my homework before lunch (i mean, taught me valuable lessons about why i shouldn’t hit patrick on the head with a dictionary)
  13. for the lifelong friendships that i formed within your walls
  14. that kenny decamp taught ballet after school at “bates” and that my love for dance started at age 3
  15. that the “big hill” seemed way bigger when i was a student with a sled
  16. that i got to have my mother as a preschool teacher and hang out in her classroom after school every other year
  17. that my first “boyfriend” was african american and when he dumped me for a cute korean girl, i dated a hispanic boy in the grade below us, and all the meanwhile my best friend was pakistani, and never did i realize that that was a thing to be grateful for until i attended a nearly all white public high school
  18. that mr. mikulak’s 8th grade prediction was that i would return to cjs to run the early education department like mrs. doolin (what an honor that would have been)
  19. that i have trespassed through your closed gates to show everyone i love just how amazing my childhood school was
  20. and that now reopen your doors and become a school once more (even if it will be under a different name and mission)
  21. that i was learning how to make animated gifs and write simple code in middle school thanks to our computer classes
  22. for the young authors program and the fact that i graduated 8th grade with 7 “published” books under my belt
  23. that the tune of edelweiss will forever have lyrics for me (oak trees fall over all, on our junior school campus…) and silos will only make me think of cjs
  24. for my 7th grade trip to washington d.c. and the wreath i got to place on the tomb of the unknown solider
  25. for inservice and teacher conference days, so us staff kids could explore the woods unattended, following the streams wherever they would lead
  26. for mrs. johnson, mrs. gaines, and mrs. arndt – three of the best art teachers a child could have asked for
  27. for mrs. woolard and mrs. spears for their cultivation of my performing arts skills
  28. for kindergarten song circles where the now mrs. donnelly subliminally exposed us to music from world-renowned musicals (there is a castle in the sky…)
  29. that i knew the cafeteria kitchen staff, so that i could go make myself a pb&j when the daily lunch items were disgusting
  30. that i was lucky enough to have an extended family of peers and teachers that made me into the woman i am today

30 days of gratitude: day 13 – jonathan

day 13

dear jonathan,

there are very few people that fit into every relationship definition, but you are one of those everythings for me. although we lead oddly separate lives in rarely overlapping spheres, you and me are intrinsically intertwined.

i am grateful…

  1. that you are like a brother, sister, father, mother, best friend, creepy uncle, loving aunt, therapist, muse, stranger, teacher, employer, and every other form of someone to me, and yet there is not a single word to describe us
  2. that despite my “obvious nervousness” you hired me for my first big girl job freshman year at university of michigan
  3. for the times you brought me chicken nuggets and a frosty
  4. that brandon couldn’t resist my sarcasm and wit (and neither could you)
  5. for the time you accidentally killed my goldfish while watching them over break, but kept their bodies in the freezer for me until i returned in case i was sentimental and wanted to say goodbye
  6. that we became friends and remained in touch even after i left you for a better job 🙂
  7. for the numerous and overwhelmingly kind recommendation letters you’ve written for me (all lies…)
  8. that i have been able to surprise you at more than one of your theater performances
  9. that you think my dramatic antics are highly amusing
  10. that you trust my opinion when it comes to things like your screenplays (even if i never get back to you with notes)
  11. that i can go months without talking to you and still know you’re always there when i need you
  12. that my eternal optimism may have rubbed off on you slightly
  13. for all the times you have talked some sense into me before i do something dumb
  14. and for all the times you’ve listened (albeit while shaking your head) after i’ve done something dumb
  15. that you are older and wiser than me (and have made all the mistakes so i don’t have to)
  16. that you finally quit your old job and pursued your dreams
  17. that this image exists
  18. that there is a creepy scary clown book that makes you think of us
  19. that you know me better than i know myself
  20. for your kind eyes and complex soul
  21. that one day you’ll probably write a hilarious sitcom about my family and my life
  22. that we hilariously don’t have a single photo of us together from the past 12 years (that i can find at least, although i feel like i tried to rectify this one time…)
  23. that no matter how shitty i feel i know i can always text you for a super quick pick me up
  24. that we will be friends forever (because you’ve seen it)
  25. that you are a loving and dedicated father to two amazingly beautiful children
  26. that you write silly blog posts for my clients when i don’t want to
  27. that you taught me to be flexible in my beliefs and to reevaluate them often and adjust accordingly
  28. for your beautiful way with the written word
  29. and that there are so many “jonathan quotes” that can be found scattered in my journals, on my computer, and on post-it notes stuck to my desk as helpful reminders (example: “playful confidence is a gem matched only by true and deep humility in a woman. arrogance, however steep or soft, is not a trait to be associated with desirability. ever.”)
  30. that i have a person like you to guide me through this journey called life (good thing it comes with lemons)

30 days of gratitude: day 12 – aunt vivian

day 12

dear aunt vivian,

it’s a shame i didn’t have a relationship with you until high school, but i think we’ve made up for it in the last 15 years! life wouldn’t be the same without your wisdom and humor.

i am grateful…

  1. that my dad has a twin sister equally as cool as he is
  2. that i can still fit in most of the clothes from ruthie’s guided shopping sprees from my youth
  3. for spring break 2009 when you let me crash lily’s texas tour to help me recover from a broken heart
  4. for your incredible basketball skills, especially in the pool
  5. that you, ruthie, and pupsi (and annie) are such amazing female role models
  6. that we both love gin & tonics
  7. for the 60th birthday we got to celebrate together with you twins
  8. for your support of my endeavors, especially when it means donating to causes like the boys & girls clubs of grand rapids
  9. that you have taught me that true love comes in all forms
  10. and that it takes work to last (35 years and counting?)
  11. that ruthie is embarrassed by us in public (but secretly loves us more for it, maybe…)
  12. for that time you “accidentally” touched the matthew barney exhibit with your foot to see what the goopy sculpture was made out of (example of #11)
  13. that you rock socks with sandals and can pull off a visor somehow
  14. that you (but probably mainly ruthie) support my love of the arts by taking me to amazing exhibits and musicals
  15. for your sense of humor, worry-free attitude, and outgoing spirit
  16. that you let me spend a few weeks at your place every summer in college
  17. and that i now consider your house one of my adopted homes (although i guess i have to fight pupsi for my bedroom every now and then)
  18. for the stories of your past adventures
  19. that you aren’t afraid to fill me in on the schneider family secrets and memories of my dad as a child
  20. for your and ruthie’s heartfelt listening and “subtle” guidance
  21. that you need me to help set up your technological gadgets and teach you how to use facebook
  22. that i am a “schneider woman” and am proud of everything that comes along with that title
  23. that you were able to join us for one of our recent family reunions
  24. that you’re in good health, even if we had to postpone skiing in tahoe
  25. for the fact that you’ll binge watch netflix shows with me (despite ruthie’s disapproval)
  26. that you infect everyone you meet with joy and laughter
  27. that you and my dad blow your noses the exact same way (not grateful that i may have inherited that trait)
  28. that you love sports and cheer for michigan for me
  29. for your stubbornness and independence
  30. that you’re my aunt (who dreams about what it would be like if i was your daughter)

30 days of gratitude: day 11 – aisha

day 11

dear aisha,

from first grade on, you have helped me grow into the woman i am today. you have taught me so much about acknowledging privilege, embracing humility, and taking responsibility (just to throw some cbq’s out there). my memories with you are some of the fondest from my childhood and adulthood.

i am grateful…

  1. that your mother decided to send you to a boarding school (chicago jr. school – cjs) in elgin, illinois in first grade
  2. that my mother allowed you to come home with us basically every weekend
  3. that we thought it was a good idea to dump the bathtub water all over the bathroom floor and play slip ’n’ slide on the tile (that dang heating vent did not make a great stopping bumper)
  4. for your amazing spelling skills in elementary school
  5. that you let me be batman and were okay with being my robin (metaphorically)
  6. that your mom decided to take you out of cjs for 4th and 5th grade (not sure if that is accurate), so that i could take my first flight to come visit you in columbus, ohio
  7. for every single one of our shopping trips to gabriel’s (although i guess we should always try before we buy from now on…)
  8. for the tgi fridays waitstaff that humored us and “believed” that we were actually twins celebrating our birthday together
  9. for your tough love (we all know i needed it)
  10. that we had big dreams of opening a salon where i did hair and you gave massages
  11. that you matured faster than me and could give me the low down on boobs and periods and sex
  12. for your weirdly optimistic cynicism
  13. that you gave birth to the magical creature that is anna lisa
  14. and that i have been able to watch her grow up into a spitting image of you
  15. that no matter how long it’s been since i’ve seen you last, we always pick up right where we left off
  16. to have been your maid of honor and by your side through everything (even if only in spirit)
  17. that you have always been a role model to me, demonstrating strength, fearlessness, and the ability to stand your ground
  18. that i can be there for you when shit gets crazy
  19. that you are a constant reminder of how grateful i should be for all that this life has provided me
  20. for that time you wore all white and pretended to be an angel
  21. that you work so hard to support your family with all those long nursing hours
  22. for your laugh
  23. that your mother and grandma have always treated me as an adopted daughter
  24. for all the hours you sat watching my endless dance classes (i’m sorry)
  25. that you love “death becomes her” as much as i do and forced your daughter to watch it
  26. that you were there to remind me to be grateful for my stepfather
  27. for your infinite love and understanding of my shortcomings
  28. for the time you and your crew took me to shoot my first (and only) gun at the gun range
  29. that a trip to west virginia is one of the best things ever for me
  30. that fate gave me another sister (a twin even!)

30 days of gratitude: day 10 – kari

day 10

dear kari,

you’ve been holding down the kiddy table with me at family holidays since we were born… exactly 6 months apart. it has been an absolute pleasure growing up alongside you and watching you develop into such a stunning woman and mother.

i am grateful…

  1. that we were born exactly six months apart and basically are the same person
  2. except that i will always be younger than you (you’re old)
  3. for the childhood video of us shaking our sillies out together
  4. that we learned to make ice cream together
  5. that the fire only affected your arm, and not your life
  6. for the endless love you give everyone you come into contact with
  7. that you found a man to love you so deeply
  8. that you and gary were able to take a vacation and come visit me in hawaii
  9. for the thoughtful things you do completely unprompted, like drawing me a bath (complete with candles and relaxing music) after a long day of travel and family time
  10. that your son and stepchildren look up to me and are so fun
  11. for aunt beth and uncle scott raising you however they did to make you turn out so lovely
  12. that you gave birth to tavyne and have raised him with such strong values
  13. and that i guessed the exact date on which he was to be born (and pretending to be pregnant as well…)
  14. that you have always taken care of our grandparents
  15. for the fact that i can still kick your kids’ butts at any dance video game
  16. for your ability to remain calm in the face of chaos
  17. that you correct people’s grammar as much as i do (lovingly, of course)
  18. that you didn’t light your face on fire when you couldn’t blow out your s’more marshmallow
  19. for always making me feel so special
  20. that you found a job you enjoy and excel at
  21. that despite the distance between us, we still manage to stay close
  22. for the love and understanding you show your mother (and my mother) during rough times
  23. that you make me laugh by doing things like wearing a million layers while working out
  24. that you continue to explore your faith and find what works for you
  25. for your incredible strength and ability to overcome adversity
  26. that you wear grandma’s old sweatshirts with pride
  27. that i always know i have a bed and am welcome in your home
  28. and that tavyne will make me breakfast
  29. for your incredible listening skills
  30. that i have a cousin that i am lucky enough to call one of my best friends