TRUTH: I became less grateful as the week progressed. Is that bad? Don’t answer that. I know it’s bad. But listen, you know how stressful the holidays can be. Actually, it’s not the holidays, really, it’s my expectations of the holidays. They don’t even have to be perfect, but fukkit, is it too much to ask that I not have to drag my son to the car when it’s time to head out to our Thanksgiving dinner? Can I have a single day in which I don’t have to physically separate my two youngest children? (The Diva spent the entire week with my parents in New Orleans. Sniff.)
Well. I feel thankful for the health and love of my family, blah, blah, blah, but I’ll be honest, I had a couple of vivid fantasies about maybe one day spending Thanksgiving alone with Hot Firefighter Husband. In Fiji.
Part of the expectation problem is Facebook. You know I’m right. I kept looking at pictures of people who seemed to be having more fun than me. I was all, those children don’t seem like they just threw tantrums over hooded sweatshirts. Those women don’t look like they can’t wait for bedtime. For heaven’s sake, didn’t anyone else cry on Thanksgiving?
Now, full disclosure: we actually had a lovely Thanksgiving interlude, our annual al fresco dinner at BFF’s home with yummalicious victuals and beloved company. It’s the before and after that fell short. I had a vision of the children watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, happy and enraptured, while I cooked sweet potatoes and hummed along to songs. Reality: kids became bored and begged to go in the other room to watch Teen Titans Go, then fought about whether they could both fit on the king-sized bed. I had to interrupt cooking to make three grilled cheese sandwiches (I burned one) and an omelet. I spent the first half of the drive to BFF’s house sitting on the Pterodactyl so he wouldn’t, I don’t know, spontaneously combust. On the way home, both of the little kids fell asleep, and when we tried to put the Tyrant straight to bed, she woke up in an altered state and with a ferocity like that of a rabid beast. While Husband tried to subdue her, I had to make the boy another grilled cheese sandwich.
I guess I feel more appreciative of all I have when it’s folded into the routine, predictable, tides of the day. I love Thanksgiving for its magical ability to make hearts grow, to make us feel warmer toward those with whom we break bread. But boy, I sure appreciated Friday morning as I drank my slow first cup of coffee, a day of kitchen-cleaning and laundry yawning before me, the kids content to laze around as long as I served them frequent grilled cheeses.
So today, on the last day of Thanksgiving week, here’s my gratitude list:
1 Grilled cheese sandwiches. Yes, we’ve introduced a little dairy into the Pterodactyl’s life without catastrophe. The only downside is that he only likes it with shredded cheese, which is messy. And stupid. Wow – did you notice how ungrateful I managed to sound in the first item on my gratitude list?
2 My new eating regime. Have I mentioned how much I love paleo? I LOVE EATING REAL FOOD. I’m amazed at how I’ve begun to crave the stuff that fuels me best – vegetables, avocados, organic meats, nuts, bananas – and how I really don’t feel great if I stray too far from those staples. I’m SOOO grateful to have such unlimited access to fresh food, and to have the luxury of preparing it properly.
3 Live oak trees in my yard. I will never tire of looking up to see thick oak branches arching toward the sky, their gray textured limbs so vivid against the blue. They remind me of New Orleans, of my childhood, of an everlasting source of strength. Note to self: tattoo idea?
4 An adjustable thermostat. When we moved into this house, Hot Firefighter Husband bought a “smart” thermostat called the Nest which is supposed to adjust to our comings and goings, and naturally dial back on the heat at night. But I sometimes I dial it up. I get cold, okay? But I never fail to appreciate the ability to crank that sucker at will.
5 Florida. Yeah, okay, I live in a state that re-elected a ferret as governor. We love cookie-cutter houses and condos and water-sucking lawns. We don’t wear shirts or shoes when we’re being featured on the evening news. And by “we,” I mean, you know, not me. But you know what? We’re beautiful. We’re a thumb sticking out in the ocean, with all the amenities the sea has to offer – dolphins, whales, turtles, starfish, conch shells. Our kids grow up with that. Inland waterways teem with storks and herons. We routinely see bald eagles and osprey on our way to work. We are diverse. Our melting pot overflows with skin colors and religions and political points of view. I love where I live. It has become home.
AND NOW. Only 27 days until Christmas. Santa help me.