In the land of thanks

My family on Christmas 2011.
My family on Christmas 2011.

I figured, it’s been a few months since my last post, and by a few months, I mean a completed internship, almost a full semester, and a new internship. That’s how it goes when your life becomes of whirlwind of uncertainties.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. For the first time in my 22 years of being alive, I won’t be celebrating with my family. This year I’m staying in Des Moines to work. I don’t necessarily mind, but this Thanksgiving marks a time in my life where I’m more thankful for my family then I ever have been.

I’m thankful for not only my biological family back in Minnesota, but also the families I’ve created in Iowa and North Carolina. Without the families I have, I wouldn’t be strong enough to acknowledge the fact that this time next year my family will be missing someone. Some so incredibly important in my life.

Cancer can creep up on you when you’re least suspecting it. From my understanding and research many know that there is something immensely wrong, they can feel the tumor growing. That’s what my dad said at least. And that is what books tell me.

So, I’m thankful for the time I have left with my father. It won’t be long enough, it never is. Two days here. Five days there. It’ll be in the single digits. And sometimes I feel like a irresponsible daughter for not making enough time to go visit. But I cherish those days I have like never before. I don’t sleep in. I don’t stay out all night with my friends like I did before. My time is for my family right now.

I’m thankful for simple things. Like the sunlight in the morning. The smell of fresh coffee. The sound of my fingers hitting the keys on my keyboard. Just knowing that I’m alive for another day.

Me and my father on my first birthday.
Me and my father on my first birthday.

I’m thankful for every “I love you” uttered. I no longer end conversations with my parents without saying those words. I make sure to tell my friends I love them. I used to believe that people abuse the word “love.” While I still believe that for the most part, if I love someone — platonically, romantically, or any other form — I’m going to tell them.

I’m thankful for compassion and understanding. Without those two amazing qualities in my peers, professors and colleagues, well, I don’t know if I’d still be at Drake. I might have taken the year off, at first for superficial, selfish reasons. Then for obvious reasons.

I’m thankful for the education I’m able to get. The professors who have guided me in the hunt for “Who is Lauren as a journalist?” The ones who have let me sit in their offices for hours contemplating where to go. Where to start my career. I’ve cried more than once sitting across from them. I’m thankful for my “journalism life coach.” The professor that once told me: “Horsch, you’re not trying hard enough. I know you can do better. Stop just doing the minimum. You’re better then that.” He was the one who sat me down and said “Go.” He told me to pack up my life and leave the Midwest, the land that I’ve loved for so long.

I’m thankful for the family I was given. The family that has let me do everything I’ve ever dreamed of. I’m so incredibly lucky to have a supportive family, one that will let me move across the country. They might not understand it, but they know it’s what I need. I’m thankful that my mother raised me to be a strong woman. She always told me not to leave my self worth in the hands of others.

I’m thankful that I have a father who listens to me. Who would sit up with me on summer nights on our deck. We’d speculate about everything. He never liked politics, but he let me talk about it. He let me go on, and on. He’s the one who taught me to drink beer and whiskey and carry on a conversation at the bar with men twice my age. More than once he’s watched me hold my own in a bar room debate and just laugh. He taught me what it meant to stand your ground no matter what you believed in. He taught me to love fiercely, honestly and without conditions.

I have a lot of things to be thankful for. The apartment I can afford. My family. My friends. My career. But really, I’m just thankful for time. Time doesn’t always allow for a lot of things. But I’m thankful that I’ve had 22 years with my dad, and hopefully, we can make his last seven months rock. Hopefully those seven months can turn into a year or more, because modern medicine is a fantastic beast. But for now, I’m thankful for every sunrise I get. Every wake up call I get. Every breathe I can take. Because the world is beautiful, and I’m thankful for that.

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