Thanksgiving means many things to my family. Of course, it means a big meal (twice), a Lions game, lots of cousins, mapping out my early morning shopping trip, and the kick off to the holiday season. Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday in our house. It does involve a lot of eating-so it has been slightly more stressful the last few years with Brady, but the smell of a turkey when you enter your parent's house, is enough to help ease the fear that creeps in sometimes. Since the very first Thanksgiving I spent with my husband in 1997, Thanksgiving has meant big family gatherings at two different houses. I love the feel of a packed house filled with love, laughter and lots of little kids giggling. In the last few years, Thanksgiving has also meant a time for my husband, my daughter, and I to stop and focus on what we are most thankful for...having Brady in our lives. So this Thanksgiving, I thought I would take this opportunity to share all that I am thankful for....I am thankful for my husband. He is a leader in his professional life and in our own home. He keeps me going when the days are tough and he reminds me to laugh and stay positive. I am thankful for his love. I am also thankful that he loves being outside, regardless of the temperature, because our two children love being in the backyard much more than being inside with their indoorsy type mom.I am thankful for my amazing daughter Molly. She truly has the biggest, most open heart of anyone I know. Her smile can light up a room and she is my best friend. When her brother needs a hug-she is the only person he turns to, because he trusts her open arms.I am thankful for my parents. They know all too well the experiences Joe and I are going through with a special needs child. I appreciate them more now than I ever have and I respect them more than I think they realize. I thank them for their support and the kind of love that only a parent can give to their child-the kind that has no limits. I feel a bond with my mom that grows each day as she helps me navigate this challenging road of motherhood with dignity and a fierce protectiveness that only a mother can show.I am thankful for my mother-in-law and father-in-law. They are the "village" in the saying..."It Takes a Village." They have watched Brady since I went back to work when my sick, little boy was only 2 1/2 months old. They have helped me get him to therapy, get him off his big boy bus each day and have loved him so deeply that he is a stronger, and happier little boy for it. They know the ups and downs of day to day life with Brady. They have experienced the great joys and the frustrating sadness we feel each day as we watch Brady grow up into the remarkable little boy he has become. We are forever grateful to them.I am thankful for my younger sister Shannon. She is four years my junior. However, in the last several months, I feel like she is four years my senior, as she has stepped into the big sister role to offer me support and advice when I have needed it the most.I am thankful for my entire extended family. It is amazing to have such love and support around you at every turn.I am thankful for the teachers who are friends and the friends who are teachers.I am thankful for the Switzer Elementary community. The sense of support and friendship I have received over the last few years has changed my life. I am thankful for my friends....My lifelong friends, my neighbors, my Facebook friends, my work friends, my PTO friends. I am thankful to the friends who love me, who hold me up, who give me advice, who make me laugh, who tell me things will be ok....I am thankful and grateful to all of you. My friends inspire me and I hope I inspire them a little bit too.I am thankful for good advice. Sometimes this advice is as simple as something my husband's cousin said to me recently...."God only gives you as much as you can handle." Advice like this is priceless and goes a long way to someone like me who is trying to make sense of things that don't make much sense.I am thankful for nap time. For those of us caring for a special little guy like Brady-nap time is essential for all of us to get a few hours to rest and rejuvenate. Brady is a busy boy, who has not quite grasped the term "no." I am thankful for a good television show. I know this one sounds a little trivial, but....a good tv show will let me escape reality for an hour each week and be transplanted somewhere else, into someone else's life. Right now-I escape to the Hamptons once a week on Wednesday nights with my new fave show, "Revenge."I am thankful for a good job. I am thankful for the flexibility it offers me and the support of a boss and co-workers who understand what my family's "special needs" are and respect them.I am thankful for opportunities. Opportunities to find the right doctors. Opportunities to get my son the therapy and special care he needs. Opportunities to let our children participate in the activities they desire. Opportunities to share my story and find families experiencing similar journeys. I am thankful for my inspiration-my son Brady Robert. He challenges me. He breaks my heart. He makes me worry. He makes me love harder than I ever thought possible. He makes me believe in miracles and that anything is possible. I am thankful for each day with him, because I get to see the world through his beautiful blue eyes that tell a story, words never could.Happy "Thanks"giving.