29 Reasons to Be Grateful For My Daughter (With new Photos!)

Lis 29th

I published this before, and with my daughter Elissa’s birthday here again, I now have 29 reasons (actually lots more) to be grateful for her. And besides, lots of new readers have never read this, so it makes sense to add to it and recycle, given my manic schedule of new house building details, full time work, and wedding planning.

Speaking of Wedding Planning, aside from the 28 reasons below, the 29th reason to be grateful is that Elissa has been an absolute dream to help me plan her wedding. She is organized, reasonable, clever, and has a vision for everything she wants which makes my job so easy and pleasurable. She has the budget and bottom line in mind and she isn’t being a diva in insisting on things that are not possible. I can’t wait to see her as a beautiful bride, and have her dream day come to fruition. Plus, I can’t wait to get her fiance Josh as an official member of our family. She couldn’t have picked anyone better!

So here then is her annual birthday blog, updated to August 31, 2016.

I’ve been reading a lot about gratitude lately, and most of us don’t regularly express how grateful we are. I am so lucky and proud to have such a strong, well adjusted, successful, and loving daughter.

1. Compassionate Healer – She chose to be a mental health counselor (therapist) and has made a remarkable impact on her patients, as they have expressed to her both verbally and in letters. It is wonderful that she is making a difference in their lives when they need help most. Here is a snippet of one note she received: “I think you are an amazing therapist. You’re so young and already badass. Thank you for being there when I didn’t have anyone else to talk to. Thank you for caring. Thank you for not judging me. Thank you for opening up my world. Thank you for helping to save my life.”

2. Great taste in guys – Elissa never opted for the bad boys like some beautiful girls do, and I must say that she has always had impeccable taste in boyfriends, who have always treated her well.

E & J 2

3. Volunteerism and giving back to her community – From Habitat for Humanity, to the Joint Distribution Committee, helping worldwide impoverished communities, to Moho, Elissa has used much of her spare time giving back to her community and to good causes.

Moho Awards

4. Is devoted to her religion and the State of Israel – She finished her formal religious schooling all the way through high school and has a deep love and devotion for her religion and for Israel which she has traveled to on several occasions.

Lis Hanukah use

5. Was a sparkly girl, a cheerleader and a performer through her youth – oh did I live vicariously through her – and I am thankful for all the great memories she provided for me. (Not to mention those great moments caught on videotapes!)


6. Never gave me a day’s trouble through her youth and childhood – If there was a perfect child, who teachers raved about, and who never caused heartache or trouble, Elissa is it.

7. She is beautiful inside and out – From the time she was small and fascinated with the story of Beauty and the Beast (thanks Disney!) she has understood that in order for a person to radiate beauty on the outside, they must be equally beautiful on the inside – loving, caring, compassionate, selfless. Elissa defines this concept.

Belle Lis

8. She is Texan through and through but appreciates her East Coast roots (Margate, anyone?) – This is a girl who can hook ’em and enjoy the Texas State Fair and all of the Texas trappings more than anyone, yet still adapt well to frequent visits to the East Coast where many of our relatives reside.

Lissy and Jimmies

9. She loves the same foods as me, making bonding over eating quite enjoyable – Chinese!!! Sushi!!! We ALWAYS enjoy indulging in our favorite foods with one another.

10. She is a beautiful writer – When she wrote her college and graduate school essays, they brought tears to my eyes. She can convey the contents of her heart and mind with the written word and it is a beautiful thing to read and to witness.

11. The best kind of friend to all of her friends – Anyone lucky enough to have Elissa as a friend has a loyal, true blue friend who really listens and really cares. Maybe that’s why she is stockpiling those bridesmaid dresses. She is able to maintain old friendships well while cultivating newer ones. (For example, look how many friends traveled all over the US to get to her Bachelorette Party in AC!)

Bach Party

12. Smart – Not only is she bright, but she has an extreme amount of common sense. I know plenty of people with ample size brains who lack common sense, but my daughter has an abundance of both!

13. Good Student – She was always the youngest in her class, making the age cutoff by one day. She had to compete with classmates who mostly were a full year older than her (or more) and she did so very well.  She got into some very selective colleges and then got her number one choice graduate school, offering the best program in the State for what she wanted to study. She passed all of her boards and licensing exams without a hitch.

14. Great Sense of Humor – Just like me, she loves to laugh and has a great sense of humor from the wacky to the dry.

15. Great taste in movie obsessions – Who else could I count on to be with me watching my movie obsessions over and over again for films like The Notebook, The Graduate, and Love Actually?

16. Regularly gives me reasons to swell with pride – Whether it is a work or volunteering accolade or a comment from someone who has interacted with her, I regularly get heaping doses of prideful feelings over her accomplishments and the person she has become.

17. Great Listener – From the time she was in about third grade, her friends started counting on Elissa to listen to their problems, and this is probably why she chose the profession she did. She is one of those rare individuals who listens more than she talks – an enviable skill.

18. More mature than even me (old soul) – I have long noted that Elissa has more maturity than most people her age, and even more than me at some occasions, where she will gladly straighten me out and give me a more mature way to view things. She is just an old soul when it comes to maturity.

19. Was resilient in the face of a divorce of her parents – Not that divorce is ever at a good time for children, but Elissa came out of this situation like a champion when she was only 12 years old – a difficult age for girls.

20. Cultivated close relationships with both parents despite above – She has worked hard at building strong relationships with BOTH of her parents despite the fact that we no longer reside in the same family home.

21. Loves music/Great taste in music – I could talk for hours about this one because my Elissa shares my passion for music and appreciates all of the music from my era, giving me such joy to have this in common. She gets as much pleasure as I do from going to Elton John or Paul McCartney or Eagles concerts and other oldies as well, and loves new stuff too.

22. Successful – From the minute Elissa finished graduate school, she began a successful career that she is still thriving in today. Never unsure of what she wanted to do, and always finding the best employment possible in her field and doing a great job, she is the very definition of success.

Elissa Leader

23. Thoughtful and a Great gift giver – see above, she puts so much thought into the gifts she gives (Sting/Paul Simon tickets for me and my husband for Chanukah for example)

24. Is open to moving back to Houston and mama – One of my heartbreaks is that I live 4 hours (by car) away from my daughter. She throws me a bone every once in a while by keeping an open mind about coming back to Houston for good.

25. Doesn’t buy into media pressures for women’s looks or body (including ink and artwork free on her body) – I am grateful that Elissa uses her own mind and self-esteem to determine what is right for her without going along with fads, or body obsessions.

Elissa at Masquerade

26. Clotheshorse like Mama – Oh those fun shopping trips together! And she loves a bargain and treasure hunting just like I do!

Lis 27 2

27. Shoes-horse like Mama – S-H-O-E-S!! See above. She and I will NEVER have enough closet space.

28. Has her obsessions like her mama – such as Binge watching TV – she got me into Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt one visit in Dallas and we binged together.

Each and every year, I enjoy doing these blogs because I love telling the world what a lucky and blessed mom I am. Happy Birthday to my Elissa who has given me hundreds more reasons to be grateful that she is my daughter with lots and lots of love.


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