Real Simple readers share details about what they are most thankful for.

By Real Simple
Updated October 13, 2015
Ben Wiseman
Ben Wiseman


Evening walks with my grandfather. I am one of over 20 grandkids, and those were an opportunity for me to spend quality time with him and listen to his many stories, which I'll never forget. He carved a pint-size walking stick for me that matched his own. Now his walking stick resides in my hallway as a constant reminder of those shared moments. —Kristen Nelson, Portland, Oregon


I can't even begin to say how thankful I am for food—the type that brings up memories and creates moments. One bite of my great-grandmother's pumpkin-pie cake and I recall childhood holiday performances in the living room of my aunt's house. The egg rolls from my husband's favorite Chinese restaurant remind me of our first apartment and the new life we were setting out to create. And just slicing fresh avocado brings back my daughter's green, grinning face as she tasted her first "real" food.
—Kristin Mcnamara, Glendale, Arizona


I am most grateful to my sister for giving me a kidney. Thank you, Debbie!
—Sandra Fisher, Greene, Rhode Island


Hands down, my husband of 42 years. Polar opposites in almost everything except values, we've navigated the whitewater rapids of raising eight kids and made our home in a trailer, a mansion, and everything in between. We've pastored churches with and without pay and learned to cultivate our own private brand of dark humor for and from dark times. We've fought the good fight (more than one, actually) and emerged as each other's champion and cheerleader. Be it feast or famine, I'll still put down the spoon of whatever I'm stirring to slow dance in the kitchen with this one.
—Laura Cowan, Bishop, California


An intact sense of humor. I love to giggle, chuckle, and laugh until I cry. Even if I don't feel the funny in a tough moment, I have the ability to look back and recap the serious with levity.
—Kristen Dehler, Sag Harbor, New York


I'm thankful that every day starts with promise and I'm given a new opportunity. It's up to me how it turns out.
—Cristina M. Roberts, Cabot, Arkansas


A simple upbringing. My parents were high school sweethearts and raised us in the same small town they grew up in. Never having much, but always having each other, they instilled a strong work ethic and genuine kindness into their children. The older I get, the more thankful I am for that foundation.
—Stacy Cassio, Fort Mill, South Carolina


I am most thankful for my cat, Kibbles. She and I have been through moves, relationships, job changes, and more. She's my family, and she can't wait for the Thanksgiving turkey!
—Tammy Russell, Bay City, Texas


I'm thankful for my girlfriends. They've stood by me through some tough times, and I'm eternally grateful for their presence in my life.
—Lisa Lovell, Havelock, North Carolina


I am thankful for the opportunity to see the sweet moments of childhood through the eyes of my daughter. Doing something for the first time, conquering a challenge, and being unabashedly silly are easy to forget about in the grown-up world.
—Amy Leritz, St. Louis, Missouri


Friends who are family.


Oddly, my divorce. It has allowed me to focus on my daughter and true friends and helped me figure out who I really am. Finding happiness through this difficult time makes me appreciate life that much more.
—Lisa Johnson, Royersford, Pennsylvania


Unlimited green bean casserole!
—Jennifer Roethemeier, Jacksonville Beach, Florida


I am thankful for my literacy. Reading has allowed me to visit places that exist only in one's imagination. When I was a child, it provided me a place to escape to when I felt helpless. In my adult life, it has allowed me to learn more about myself and to appreciate the uniqueness of all of us. I cannot imagine a world where I wasn't able to read, although that is the reality for some.
—Carmen Flettre, Roseville, Minnesota


I am thankful for my problems, which are small compared to what they could be.
—Ginger Lantz Dutton, St. Louis, Missouri


I am most thankful that my children are growing up in a time of greater acceptance and understanding. My oldest is on the autism spectrum, and I'm grateful every day for the increased support of those with special needs. It's enabled him to receive accommodations to keep him in a mainstream public school that is proactive in regard to empathy, conflict resolution, and bullying.
—Blossom Ruso, Aptos, California

See what Real Simple editors are thankful for.