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Giving Thanks

Perspective after coming home (Candace)

My first two weeks back on the grid were rough. Separating from Andrew, dealing with the results of the presidential election, moving to a new city and starting a new job that ultimately wasn’t the right fit…the combination took just about everything out of me. And flying home to see my family this year, I was drained and a bit depressed.

But after just an hour or two with Andrew and my favorite people in the world, that stress melted away. Andrew picked me up from the airport on Tuesday and took me on a date night that we sorely needed. We caught up and held hands and got re-acquainted with the freckles on one another’s faces. And driving down Columbia Parkway, lined with twinkling night street lights and dancing along the Ohio River, I was reminded how much I miss Cincinnati…

We stayed the night with my best friend and maid of honor, Shelli and her husband, Greg, snuggled with my favorite dog in the world, Branston, and curled up into bed together. After two weeks of sleeping alone, feeling Andrew’s breath on my back felt sooo good.

We ate our way through Cincinnati, eating at Tellers, Taste of Belgium Bistro (twice!), Skyline Chili, The Precinct and my aunt Lisa’s house (all of my favorite places to eat), and had to spend some meaningful time walking my old stomping grounds in Over the Rhine. Andrew’s mom and sister joined us this year, and it was so fun to introduce them to all of these meaningful spots and people.

And the friends we visited were just the best. From Kelsey and Ted and their bouncing baby daughter, Alexandria, to Shelli and Greg and Branston to Cheryl and Carlin (and their dogs Sophie and Stanley) to Dave Sanders at his annual Vault Party, to my aunt Lisa and uncle Jim at their annual farmhouse Thanksgiving Feast, to our friends Mike and Donna, to putting up the Christmas tree with my mom and dad, I couldn’t have asked for more.

And as we parted ways to take our separate flights back to our temporarily separate cities again this morning, I was awash with gratitude. In spending so much time away, one forgets what impact friends and family make. But I needed this week more than I knew. Not only to feel the love of all of these wonderful people around me, but to pour my love back into them.

I am so very thankful this year for the wonderful gifts that have been given to me. For my wonderful husband and our storybook wedding and honeymoon, for the opportunity to land softly back into jobs and a place to live, for our wonderful hosts and friends back in Cincinnati, and for the opportunity to be surrounded by them in one of my favorite places on earth.

Thank you, everyone, for your many gifts. And we promise to be back to love on you again soon.