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Opinion: Choosing to be thankful
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“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” — A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens, 1859. 

In the main focal point of my living room, I have placed a Thanksgiving decoration. 

It’s an adorable turkey surrounded by pumpkin and cornucopia stickers. The words “Give Thanks” shine above in glittery charm. How silly, in September. Well, in a year that broke all the rules, I’m doing whatever it takes to give myself a positive attitude adjustment. 

My daughter and I head out shopping one day, and there is the glory of the fall decorations. While Christmas is my favorite holiday, fall is my favorite season. Feeling the crisp but not frigid fall air, sampling way too many pumpkin spice offerings, and now the idea of my daughter running through multicolored leaves makes me feel alive. I am at the whim of the display cases of brown and orange everything one can think of. 

Now Mr. Turkey is there. “Give Thanks” he reminds us. 

I am grateful, very much so. While the wounds of current events are still fresh, I respect that our little family could have seen much worse. I’m taking a rearview perspective of thankfulness. 

We went from living in an uncertain living situation to a beautiful new home. 

We are financially sound. I wish I could provide for those who lost everything, so suddenly, despite years of hard work. I respect that we are fortunate to know our needs will be met. 

I’m grateful that my child is too young to be aware that there’s a psychological tornado going on. She doesn’t know what she’s missing. While I agonize over the experiences she is not having, she has enjoyed everything about her toys and her home. I can’t imagine the challenge of juggling parental responsibilities while having to consider that my child might be struggling more than I am. 

I’m grateful that we have had countless magical moments. Maybe my daughter isn’t spending her second year at the park or a playground with a bunch of kids, but she has grown up quickly and amazingly. She has gone from her first step to running, kicking and throwing. She has gone from first words to chatting with all who pass. Best of all, her personality shines through the darkness. Her face lights up the room with her brilliant smile. You wouldn’t know the most shocking year had just happened to the world spending a few moments with her. 

So here I am, after six months of experiencing a world I never dreamed I would live in, feeling inner peace. It will be a long time before the world and our country are not in a state of chaos, certainly. If I could solve these problems, they’d be solved. Right now, the solution for me is to keep a thankful perspective. I respect that we’ve been lucky. 

Teresa Manuszak 

Flowery Branch 

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