Robyn Margulis Vernon Ogrodnek

Well it's that time of year. Time for over-indulgence and family gatherings. It's also the time of year that we think about and acknowledge that for which we are thankful.

Unlike the rest of the year when we have a tendency to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and take so much for granted, this is a time we reflect on our fortunes. We think about, acknowledge, and appreciate our family. We contemplate that which contributes to our sustenance and shelter, and give thanks. We think about those that are less fortunate, and do what we can to try to make their holidays, if not their lives, better.

I am profoundly grateful for my family. I consider myself lucky to have found a husband that not only has loved me (and put up with me) for 23 years, but has proven to be a phenomenal father to our children.

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I have been blessed with two wonderful kids who make me proud every day. I am ever so grateful that they are not brats: In fact, they are sweet, polite, compassionate, and fun-loving. They are the two human beings on this earth for whom I would throw myself in front of a fast-moving train. There is nothing in life more important than them.

I am thankful for my parents, despite that my mom is already driving me crazy with talk of the Christmas menu. But I remind myself, there are others who no longer have their parents, and others who do not have the means to put together their own holiday meal.

I am thankful for my brother and sister, my brothers-in-law, and my sister-in-law, and all of my nieces and nephews who bring me such joy. I am thankful that my little nephew is better after a lengthy and very scary health crisis, and I am thankful for the quality health care that my niece will be receiving in the coming months. They are two courageous little kids and I am in awe of them.

During this Thanksgiving, I must also give thanks for friends. Friendship is extremely important in life, especially when we are grown up. We need friends to help us navigate our days and to keep us sane when we feel overwhelmed. I have had the pleasure of meeting so many wonderful people in my lifetime, and I am fortunate to call many of them "friend." I am most grateful for my best girlfriends with whom I can share advice, a glass of wine or two, our closest secrets, a glass of wine or two (oops, did I already say that?), and good times.

I am fortunate to have a great job and awesome colleagues. In these tough economic times where many don't have a job, it makes me realize how lucky I am.

There are many other "smaller" things in life for which I would like to give thanks: Pizza, morning tea, and red wine come to mind; the smell of the leaves in the fall and wood fireplaces in winter; the sand between my toes and the sound and smell of the ocean; sleeping-in on weekends and naps on a Sunday afternoon; multi-colored sunsets that inspire; and and The Press of Atlantic City for this awesome opportunity to explore my passion for writing.

Happy Thanksgiving to all. Remember to reflect on the big and the small this year. Tell those you love how important they are to you. Enjoy and be healthy and safe.



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