As 2013 draws to a close, I asked our staff and board to reflect on reasons to feel thankful this holiday season. Between the mobbed stores, aggressive drivers, and stretched finances, the month of December sometimes feels like more of a hassle than a celebration. At least it does to me; I have an extensive extended family, and this year—unlike most—I’m driving thirteen hours to Massachusetts to see them all. Being from the South, I like to make good on the promise of southern hospitality by buying or making gifts for all of them. (Pro tip: every adult will appreciate a mug of hot chocolate mix and peppermint schnapps). I love my family, but gift shopping, buying, wrapping takes its toll. Some days, I verge on thinking like a Grinch.
Luckily, I have wise and cheery coworkers to snap me out of it. Their answers, presented below, remind me of the true meaning of the season. I invite you to read why these six incredible women feel thankful, and to share your thanks in the comments.
Joan: “Being free of breast cancer now for three years, I would offer thanks to really good preventive health care that too many others don’t have access to due to the rejection of Medicaid expansion, challenges to the Affordable Care Act, and threats to Planned Parenthood clinics.”
Kim: “I have received so many gifts this year to be thankful for. At the top of the list is being named the Executive DIrector of Women AdvaNCe. I am honored and excited to have the opportunity to work with a dynamic board and staff to connect with women across NC. My children are center of all I do and I am so proud of them.And I, like so many others, received access to an affordable health plan via Obamacare.”
Amy: “For Christmas, I’m getting a FitBit digital fitness tracker, and some board games that teenagers and adults can play together — Settlers of Catan, Dixit, Ninja: Legend of the Scorpion Clan … We’re a proud family of geeks, what can I say?”
Jennifer: “This year I received the gift of community. My children landed in a wonderful bilingual program in Chapel Hill Schools, and I’ve felt so welcomed there. Through my work with the Board of the Community Home Trust, I have felt more in touch with my town than I expected. And through political action in my state– whether it was wearing Mad Men clothes in a committee meeting or standing silently with hundreds outside of the House chambers — I have felt closer to my fellow woman than ever before.”
Mary: “I am thankful for the women across North Carolina who are pulling their friends together to start their own AdvaNCe Teams. It’s so fun to meet different women around our state and build this community through Women AdvaNCe. I love my job and the potential we have to create change by working together as a group.”
Amber: “This year, North Carolina gave me the gift of awakening. I have always known that my home state is special. This year reminded me of just how special this place is and renewed in me a commitment to help keep North Carolina true to the ideals that have shaped it for so long. I felt my state call to my heart this year, and I am grateful to have heard it loud and clear.”
Mikaela: As for me, I feel thankful to work with such hardworking, passionate, multitasking idea-machines, and for the blessing of having people — real people! — read my writing. Thank you and happy holidays from all of us at Women AdvaNCe.