The highlight of my day yesterday? Hands down, seeing your gratitude filled responses trickle into my inbox. Thank you so, so much to everyone who submitted--your raw honesty and beautiful sentiments helped to make my day especially wonderful.
While it was certainly hard to choose just one winner (I'm thinking I may need to do this kind of contest again soon!), Jenny and I both agreed that the following response was the perfect mix of light hearted and genuine; moving, hopeful and goose-bump inducing. Congrats (and THANK YOU) to Elyse for the wonderful reminder of what being a Grateful Lifer is all about:
"Harry Potter. Yes, I said it. This year I am most grateful for the last and final Harry Potter movie.
Now bare with me. Although my love for the magical world of HP is seemingly boundless and I did order the complete set of books from my 1st grade class's scholastic book order, my gratitude for the last Harry Potter movie is based on more than potions and spells.
The true magic of seeing the last movie in the series happened after the movie was over, when I looked at my mother in the parking lot and saw tears in her eyes. Although the movie did have some heart-warming moments that made me misty, I felt like her tears were based on something else, something deeper. When I asked her what was wrong she smiled at me through her tears and told me that nothing was wrong, that finally everything was right. She told me that seeing this last movie with my brother and I was a secret milestone in her life, one that she didn't know she would ever reach. Ten years ago when we went to see the first Harry Potter movie together she had been newly diagnosed with breast cancer. She did not think that she would ever get to see the last movie with us.
Ten years, 7 movies, chemo therapy, radiation, a mastectomy, hair loss, another diagnosis, healing, growing, and loving later we stood in the parking lot hugging and crying, thankful that we were there together.
So thank you Harry Potter for making 2011 an unforgettable year filled with love, milestones, and more than a little magic."
Elyse, I am so happy to hear of your mother's positive turn in health. What a super rad milestone you were able to reach together! As a huge HP fan myself, I can't think of a cooler way to celebrate kicking cancer's ass than with my buddies Harry, Ron, Hermoine, all the Weasleys and Hogwarts Professors, Luna, Neville (God bless his growth into quite the little hunky dream) and Hagrid. Thank you for sharing with us, sweet girl. I'm picturing love and light continuing to pour into your mom for sustained health--may you both be blessed with many joy filled years to come.