Thanksgiving for Me

by francine Hardaway on November 24, 2010

Like everyone else, I use this time of year to be thankful for everyone I have. You will notice I didn’t say every “thing” I have. And that’s because the things are fungible, but the people are not. Especially like me, a geek who buys a new device a week, things are meaningless. People, however, are rare gems — every one of them.

Let’s start with Parker Allen Kirkpatrick, whose birth I witnessed just last Saturday. The first child of my foster son Jerry Kirkpatrick and his wonderful wife Jamie, Parker is a miracle in many ways. First, I saw him come out head first, perfect little ears, eyes, nose, surrounded by a cheering room full of Jamie’s supportive family. Jamie is the youngest of six kids, and her three sisters, her mother, and her cousin were all present for the birth along with Jerry and me.

That made the birth such a celebration!! I’ve never been at a birth with so much love and support in the room, and I know the young mom felt it, because she was absolutely unafraid, without pain, and bathed in joy even at the most difficult moments.

For Jerry, that moment marked his transition from the child of a dysfunctional family to a responsible adult member of a loving functional family. Jerry has overcome so much adversity to arrive at this moment that he and I can never believe we are really here. I even wrote a book about our journey half way through it, and from reading the book you would never foresee this victory.

After Parker, who is top of mind because he’s so new, comes a long list: my own daughters, who taught me how to parent, and my two-year-old grandson Dash. My five stepchildren, from two wonderful marriages, and all their children. My other two foster children. And all the “significant others”of all those children. Nobody I love has married someone I don’t love:-)

And my wonderful business partner, as stunned as I am that we’ve been partners for eleven years.

In other words, MY HUGE FAMILY. These are the people who sustain me by their very existence, whose place in my life makes me get up in the morning.

Add to them all the friends I’ve made throughout my life, and all the entrepreneurs I have had the honor to learn from. They’ve made my journey so exciting every day that it never seemed as though I had to “work.” In fact, I’ve never worked, in the sense people think of when they argue that it’s wrong to raise the retirement age.  I’ve never done anything I didn’t love, that didn’t give me joy and didn’t make me feel like I was lucky to be able to do it.

So yes, I am going to overeat tomorrow. And no, in the strict sense of the word I will not be with anyone from my immediate family. But I will be at Gangplank — sharing Thanksgiving in a place I love, imbued with the same sharing and collaborative spirit that–for me–defines family.

Family. You may take it for granted. But be thankful for it. It got you here:-)

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

willbradley November 25, 2010 at 12:56 am

I too consider Gangplank to be my Phoenix family, and not just because I’m a board member of HeatSync Labs. I know that everyone in my Gangplank family appreciates me just as I appreciate them: for our worth as human beings and as contributors toward the world’s future, not for our startup’s viability or our net worth.Family members contribute selflessly toward the common good. They don’t charge you $10 a day, $1.25 for a Coke, or $3.50 for a coffee so they can profit off you, they’re there working alongside you and any monetary or sweat donations are simply appreciated. That’s why I drive to Chandler instead of skateboarding to Starbucks– I’m thankful for the Gangplank family.

hardaway November 25, 2010 at 1:00 am

Oh yeah. I got invited to a bunch of people’s homes, and knew I would bernhappier spending the day at Gangplank:-) I just like to be there…

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