Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks

This time last year, I made a list of the things for which I was most thankful. I listed fifteen items. Aside from the obvious spouse, children, and extended family that everyone is grateful for, I tried to list things for which I may not always remember to express my gratitude. My family is the thing for which I am MOST thankful. However, I tried to look at my less obvious blessings. I tried to make the list obscure—sometimes silly—but meaningful. Since Thanksgiving is tomorrow, I figured it would be an appropriate time to make another list. My goal this year is to list fifteen NEW things for which I am thankful, not repeating anything I wrote last year. Let's see how it goes, shall we?

1. I am thankful that my team at work now has a Keurig. I am thankful for the amazing revelation that is the K-cup. This thing is nothing short of awe-inspiring. It is beauty and functionality and spiritual enlightenment all rolled into one shiny, heavenly-smelling black package. I am in love.

2. I am thankful for my health. After the recent bout of Strep I endured, I am eternally grateful that I am relatively healthy. Yes, my knees creak and my joints ache. I don't get up from a sitting position as quickly as I once did. My bladder has seen better days. But all in all, I am a fairly healthy thirty-nine-year-old woman. I don't have any debilitating conditions. I am not bed-ridden. After spending three days on my back in my bed, I can't begin to express how grateful I am that being bed-ridden is not an everyday occurrence. I would go mad, for sure.

3. I am thankful for my Nook. I am thankful for the ability to lay in bed at night with all the lights out and read to my heart's content. To play games. To check my email. It is the best birthday present I have ever been given. And it makes me happy in a way no inanimate object really should. Yes, I am shallow like that.

4. I am thankful for YouTube. Normally, I do not log onto YouTube very often. As a matter of fact, before this evening, I cannot tell you the last time I watched anything on YouTube. However, tonight it affected me profoundly. I sat in my living room chair with two excited five-year-olds sitting on top of me. We listened to Christmas carols on YouTube and sang to the top of our lungs. Nicholas didn't know the words, but he did not let that stop him. He sang his little heart out. There is truly nothing more beautiful than the sound of children singing.

5. I am thankful for Ruanita’s failing vision. She has always had 20/20 vision. However, in recent years, she has had to resort to reading glasses to read the newspaper, read menus in a restaurant, play on the computer, etc. She loses her glasses constantly, so she buys them in bulk. Reading glasses in every color and shape litter every room of my house. I carry them around in my purse, as well. I admit to making fun of her at times for her inability to read without her glasses—which is ironic since I’ve worn glasses since second grade and am completely and totally helpless without them. The reason I am thankful for her glasses has nothing to do with fodder for jokes, however. Rather, I am thankful for her reading glasses because she looks so damn cute in them. When she is reading the paper in the morning with her hair all tussled and sticking up like a teenage boy (Lucas tells her that she gives him Bieber Fever, which cracks me up to no end) wearing her reading glasses, she looks nothing short of adorable. I fall in love with her all over again. The ability to fall in love with your spouse anew every day is something worth immense amounts of gratitude.

6. I am grateful that my children like one another. Yes, they fight. Yes, Lucas has been known to spit on his sister and sit on his brother’s head. Nicholas lives to torture Lucas and Sophie never passes up an opportunity to tattle on her brothers. But at the end of the day, they are the best of friends. Every day when Ruanita drops the kids off at school, Lucas stops in the hallway and hugs both his brother and sister before they separate and go to their own classrooms. He’s never been asked to hug them. He is probably risking ridicule and third grade pariah-status by hugging his siblings in public. But he does it anyway. Because he loves them. I am thankful for their bond and hope it continues well into adulthood.

7. I am thankful for glass. More specifically, I am thankful for the new windows Ruanita and I just ordered for our entire house. They have not been installed yet. They are going to be custom-made windows because our house is old and has irregularly-sized windows. But the deal is that they will be completed and installed by Christmas. I cannot wait. It’s strange…the things that make you giddy as an adult.

8. I am grateful to be ending the year in a new job. A job I actually enjoy. A job I don’t dread going into. A job with capable and competent boss. It really is a gift to work with people you admire and respect.

9. I am thankful that we have the ability and stability for Ruanita to take a year off work to be home with the children. After working opposite shifts and crazy hours for five years, she deserved a break. She deserved a sabbatical. I am immensely grateful that all of the stars aligned in just such a way that Ruanita was able to quit her job on her terms just as her team was going under. And I was able to find a new job that makes me happy. We could not have planned it better if we had tried.

10. I am thankful for a spare bedroom. No, it is not ideal to have your mother move in with you when you are a thirty-nine-year-old adult woman with a family of your own. But, given the situation, I am thankful that I had a bedroom to spare. I am thankful that my mother is not destitute or homeless. I am thankful that she does not have to worry about where she is going to sleep or what she is going to eat. I am thankful that I have the unusual opportunity to give a little something back to her for all of the heart, soul, blood, sweat, and tears she has given me through the years.

11. In a similar vein, I am thankful that my children are getting closer to their grandmother. My grandmother was my rock growing up. When my life was turned upside down after my dad died, she was my world. My constant. My refuge. I want my children to experience the unconditional love of a grandmother. For that reason, I am thankful that my children are able to have this time living with their grandmother and spending time with her on a daily basis.

12. I am thankful for my oven. It is old—probably as old as I am. It is outdated. It doesn’t cook quickly. It doesn’t cook evenly. It will probably be our next appliance that has to be replaced. But from my oven comes the most delectable treats. In recent years, I have discovered a love of baking that can only be described as therapeutic. My oven has saved me thousands of dollars in therapist fees. I bake cookies. I bake cakes. I bake pies. I have tried homemade bread and would like to get better at it. My daughter loves to help mommy bake and it is something we enjoy together. My oven, despite being old and decrepit, is a Godsend. And I love it

13. I am thankful for Amoxicillin. The nectar of the gods. We buy the stuff in bulk. The inside of my fridge is decorated with little red Target Pharmacy bottles of liquid Amoxicillin. It is really quite festive. I am considering stringing them together and making a garland for my Christmas tree. What do you think?

14. I am thankful for Target. How in the world did I miss this one last year?! Target is my Shangri-la. It is my happy place. I can spend hours in Target perusing the aisles. Sipping my pumpkin spice latte. Checking out the clearance racks. Dawdling in the magazine section. Target has everything a busy mom needs to wind down and relax. Plus, it is not Wal-mart. Because Target exists, I have no need to ever step foot in a Wal-mart. That alone is reason to be grateful.

15. Finally, I am grateful for the readers of this blog. Those of you who have been friends since I was a small girl, as well as those of you I have never met. Your comments and commiserations keep me going. You give me a reason to write, something I enjoy more than anything in this world. For you, I am eternally grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!


Madgew said...

Shannon, great minds think alike. Check out my list on my blog. We have some of the same entries. About the antibiotics. You shouldn't have bottles left as all the medicine must be taken so if you aren't get to it.
I love the hugs Lucas gives on his own to his siblings.
I, too, am blessed to have you in my life even if it is through Facebook which I acknowledged today as well.

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