Ah, Thanksgiving.  A day dedicated to eating and giving thanks.  Last year I bought a fancy Gratitude jar to decorate our Thanksgiving table.  I read my gratitude cards from last year and couldn't help but notice that I didn't include "my health."  It's true, you don't appreciate what you have until it's gone.

Last Thanksgiving was the first time I noticed warning signs of breast cancer.  I panicked and scheduled a breast exam with a nurse practitioner.  She said she didn’t feel anything to be concerned about but that I could schedule a mammogram if I wanted to.  I breathed a sigh of relief and put "mammogram" on the bottom of my to-do-list.  Later I added that nurse practitioner to my list of medical personnel who have wronged me (similar to Arya’s kill list in Game of Thrones), right after the ER doctor who left my shattered ankle untreated in a leg cast for months and the OB/GYN who missed all the signs of retained placenta.  But I digress.

What was I talking about?  Oh right, giving thanks. 

This year, we decided to ditch Thanksgiving and went to Florida for a beach vacation instead.  Like any family vacation, there were highs and lows.

The highs
  • I showed Julia and Claire the thrill of beach combing – if you pick through the plastic litter and the seaweed, you can find some real treasures!  
  • I ate fish tacos and key lime pie for every meal.  
  • Julia ended up leading a pack of children called the “Hot Tub Friends.”  
  • Claire ditched her floatie and learned how to swim in one day.  
  • Jeff and I watched the sunrise from our balcony.
  • Julia and I got to play with a white lion cub at the Zoological Wildlife Foundation.

The lows
  • Claire got stung by a jellyfish.  
  • Jeff saw another hotel guest walk up to the ocean and urinate in the surf.  
  • The calming sound of the ocean waves was drowned out by the hotel construction next door.
  • The margaritas cost $25, so I was way too sober for a family vacation.
  • We lost Julia on the beach at night, and I ran around screaming hysterically for five minutes.  

At our Thanksgiving Day breakfast buffet, the waitress caught me off guard by asking me what I was thankful for.  I froze and then almost started crying.  "Lady, it's complicated!  Don't get me started."  I should have just said, "I'm thankful for mimosas.  Keep 'em coming."