On Thanksgiving Day, a year ago, I saw my father for the last time;  two weeks later, he slipped away, the last of four parents my husband and I lost in three years. At the same time, our family Thanksgiving table was expanding at the other end, crowding with high chairs and swollen bellies.  

Thanksgiving, for me, has been a time to run my fingers through the year that has flowed past . . . its losses and cups of grace.  It’s currents, fast and breath-taking.  Its eddies of darkness.  It’s a chance to say thanks for the whole river of it.  Not just the goodness.  The whole grand thundering waterfall that is life.

Tomorrow, I will be recounting this year with a heart of gratitude, mostly for the people who’ve populated it.  ibu has brought to me a raft of new companions with whom my days erupt in laughter; begin and end in good will. My daily team of Jamie, Austin, Leigh, and newly, Marisa, make work a happy happy thing.  I am hugely thankful for their presence in my days; and, more than words can tell, for the man by my side with whom this whole endeavor becomes an adventure into love.  

My allies in the ibu movement are ridiculously loyal in their support and enthusiasms.  You, it may be, and others like you write the most amazing things in response to our weekly missives - I’m humbled and energized by them. Trunks Shows hosted, trips accompanied, beading and sewing and planning,  photo shoots and models and make-up and hair - all of the larger team works in joy and excellence and with a generous spirit.  What could be better?

Above all, in the world of ibu, I am grateful, utterly and in wide open wonder, for the women who have joined us as artisans, making beauty in Kerala, Nairobi, Juba, San Cristobal, Port-au-Prince, Luang Prabang, Sandrandahy, the Swat Valley and Gaza Strip.  Making beauty for ibu and a life for themselves.  Their tenacity, courage, resilience, and imaginations inspire me to no end.  Here they are, their faces a bulletin of possibility.  An announcement of all that is yet to come.  Get ready, their faces say to me.  We are on the move.

My toast, this year, is to these women.  Real ibu women who have all climbed into the same hopeful boat. Here’s to that hope, and to the ones who have gone before, shaping that hope in us.  Thanks be.

 

All the Best - 
Susan Hull Walker