Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thoughts on Giving Thanks

It’s that time of the year again. Time for the obligatory giving of thanks. Many people began on November 1st posting a different thing they were thankful for each day on Facebook. Though I find this to be a perfectly wonderful practice, it is one that I have neither the will power nor the stamina to engage in. If I had even an infinitesimal grain of willpower, there would not be a nearly empty bag of snack-sized Snickers bars in my freezer. And as for stamina, well, let’s just say I get exhausted walking from my car to the house.

So here I sit on the eve of Thanksgiving pondering gratitude and the role it plays in my life. Of course, I am thankful for my partner and my children. I am thankful for my extended family and good friends. I am thankful for the roof over my head and the Snickers in my belly. I am even thankful for my dog despite her bad breath and bed-hogging tendencies.

All of those are a given. Of course I am thankful for those things. Who isn’t?

But tonight I find myself thinking of gratitude in a different way. This evening I find myself thankful for the boredom in my life. Thankful for the mundane. For the sameness of my days. For the predictability.

That sounds weird, huh?

Right now, I am sitting in the same chair I have sat in every evening for the last three years or so. It is worn. It is covered in dog hair. It has a couple of rips in the fabric from misplaced puppy nails. My daughter is nestled in my armpit, as she is almost every time I sit here. But it is familiar. It is comfortable. It cradles my butt just so. Many people are not lucky enough to have a ratty old chair that feels like home.

I am thankful for the Disney movie on the television right now. The movie I have seen no fewer than 325 times. But I am thankful for the monotony of this movie. The fact that I can recite the dialogue word for cringe-inducing word means that I have been blessed enough to share this hour and a half with my children—snuggled together—no less than 325 times. Many parents aren’t that lucky.

I am thankful for my children’s arguments. Their perpetual, ludicrous, mind-numbing fights. The sibling altercations that drive me to wine. And Snickers. And wine. Those fights mean that my children have voices. And opinions. They are able to form a coherent argument. They have the mental capacity to make their needs and wants known. To make them known loudly and passionately, at times. Many children are not that lucky.

I am thankful for the constant stream of paperwork that comes home in my children’s backpacks every day. The spelling words. The algebra word problems. Geometry. Fractions (God, I despise fractions). Science projects (build a Rube-Goldberg machine? Seriously, Mrs. Hill?). The never-ending reading assignments that I have to coerce my children to complete with threats of permanently unplugging them. And the art projects! The carefully crafted art projects that make their way to my house by the dozens every single day. The art projects that cover every available flat surface in my house. The art projects that I secretly smuggle out with the trash every opportunity I get. These are all evidence of the education my children are receiving. A solid education received from a good public school. An education that will unlock numerous opportunities for them. Many children are not so lucky.

I am thankful for days like today when Ruanita and I bicker. When she tells me to leave her alone. When I tell her to stop being so crabby. The snapping. The sarcastic remarks. The childish displays. Our spats mean that we trust one another enough to show the ugly side of ourselves. The infantile and selfish and asinine. The erratic and irrational and unbalanced. I trust that she will not leave. She trusts that I will overlook. We know that we are here for the long haul. Many couples are not that lucky.

I've spent a lot of time lately involved in the “excitement” that is other people’s lives. The unpredictability. I’ve seen firsthand the anxiety and insecurity that comes from a lack of stability. And I find myself feeling eternally grateful for my boring little life. I will take nine o'clock bedtimes and Friday pizza nights any day!

Today, I give thanks for the mundane. For the banal. For days both dull and trite. Today I thank my lucky stars for the utterly ordinary moments that make up my sublimely extraordinary life. 

I am one lucky woman and I know it.

2 comments:

Madgew said...

I loved this Shannon. I love your family and so happy that we consider ourselves friends within FB and outside of it.

Jessica said...

Ah, so sweet. I couldn't agree more (except for the part about the children arguing, I'll never be thankful for that). ;)

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