Thank yous 

Finding gifts in the ordinary. 

To the ants in every house in Cambodia I’ve ever lived in: 

Oh heavens, you’ve taught me patience! When you showed up in the strangest places- the bathroom, the middle of the living room floor, underneath the couch cushions, and of course the expected spots like our honey bottle left out on the table and the container of granola just waiting to be invaded- sometimes I just wanted to pull my hair out, or grab the can of Raid and turn our space into a chemical war zone. But, slowly I’ve learned to let go, to take a smaller amount of satisfaction in extinguishing you, and to not sweat the small stuff. 

To my bright pink Nikes: 

In the beginning, I chose you not because of your flashy color but because you were super comfortable. But you made starting to run this fall much more fun! I loved lacing you up and hitting the pavement (or the dirt roads) with you. I’m glad that I didn’t settle for the more subtle gray pair I thought about getting because I would have missed out on your flare for this season. 

To turning 30: 

I have dreaded you, the big 3-0, for months if not the last couple of years. Somehow entering this brand new decade that starts with you was intimidating and a bit sad as I said goodbye to the 20s and all my hopes and dreams for what I thought would have happened by now. But, dear 30, you really haven’t been so bad. Thank you for treating me tenderly in these first 9 months, for allowing my aging body to not completely fall apart just yet, for a few gray hairs to remind me of my finiteness, and the hope of things to come. 

To my cozy white sweater: 

My thin, tropical blood has been so very thankful for you! You were the cheap and bulky sweater I found in the Toul Tompoung market and squeezed into my suitcase two years ago for the trip home. I have many sweet memories of the places I have worn you each time I’ve returned and I was so happy to pull you out of the winter tote on this visit. You make all this winter-in-Nebraska weather just a bit more bearable. 

To tractors: 

Being a farm girl, I’m certainly no stranger to you. But thank you for providing ENDLESS entertainment for my 2-year old nephew, whether it is in the form of pictures or books or videos of Grandpa and his farm work, or the awesome remote control machinery videos we discovered on Youtube. I’m pretty sure my nephew thinks my name is “tractor”, at least that is what he says the minute he sees me now. But thank you for the snuggle time when we are in person, and the sweet interactions on video chats as we watch/discuss/look at you. 

To Christmas cookies: 

There’s just nothing quite like the scent of vanilla and butter and sugar wafting from the oven when it is time to make you, dear Christmas cookies. Thank you for the opportunity for family bonding, for adding a little extra padding to my waistline, and for the moments of joy you bring when we partake of you as we play a game all together on a chilly December evening. 

To Matthew’s neon socks, Christmas hats, and my dad’s childhood Santa: 

You are quirky and crazy and fun. You made decorating our slightly crooked Scotch pine oh so enjoyable, even if I had to be the one to string on the beads this year (not my favorite job). You brightened up the pictures we took, added moments of laughter and joking and sibling banter, and reminded me to slow and breathe and focus on joy and gratefulness rather than the days speeding ahead way too fast. Thanks for the memories. 

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