26 November 2007

thankful

In the aftermath of Thanksgiving, while approaching a comatose state what with the full belly and the warm house and the utter satisfaction of having a relaxing holiday, I thought a bit about the things I'm thankful for, with the intention of writing the requisite Thanksgiving blog post.

But it's hard. It's not hard to think of things I'm thankful for, but it's hard to find the balance between sappy and trivial. Do I write a serious blog post about how grateful I am that I live in America at all, instead of, say, Iraq or Sudan or a hundred other places? Or do I take those things for granted like every other day of the year and write a fluffy post about how thankful I am for bands like Stars because they're just so totally great? Do I try to be brief and poignant, or do I let myself ramble because there's so much to be thankful for? (As if me not rambling is even a realistic option...)

So I'm trying to incorporate a little bit of everything. Especially the rambling.

I'm thankful that I have a loving, generous, fun family, but I'm especially thankful that they're the sort of family who pretends that my questionable cheesecake is good, despite the greasy crust and the slightly-too-much-sour-cream taste.

I'm thankful for a boyfriend who loves me, supports me, and makes me laugh, but I'm especially thankful that he's the sort of boyfriend who washes all of the dishes from Thanksgiving dinner.

I'm thankful that I have children who are funny, beautiful, well-behaved little geniuses, but I'm especially thankful that they're the sort of children who can patiently and cheerfully endure a four-hour car ride home (a ride that's normally two and a half hours) when their parents get tired of the highway traffic and decide to explore some back roads.

I'm thankful for a sister and brother-in-law who give us their kitchen hand-me-downs, who play (and play and play and play) with our children, and who think to bring along a decadent, artistic Thanksgiving cake from a fantastic little bakery in the town where they live.

I'm thankful for a mother who hosts us, feeds us, changes all the diapers and lets me sleep in.

I'm thankful for the little quirks in life -- of all the people I grew up with and have known in that small town over the years, I wouldn't have predicted that I'd be keeping in touch, much less going out for coffee and having a really fun time, with the neighborhood boy who spent years crawling through the shrubberies with his G.I. Joes.

Reading Dave Eggers' What is the What, a novel about a Sudanese refugee based on a real story, makes me exceedingly thankful that I had the good fortune to be born into relative prosperity, in a time and place where I can't even imagine surviving a fraction of what some people in this world live through every day. That I have so many things to be thankful for in the first place is something to be thankful for. As much as I can complain about the terrible twos or other trivial annoyances of day-to-day life, it's important to remember to keep it all in perspective.

Well, it looks like I came out on the sappy, rambly side of things. (Is anyone out there surprised?) I hope all of my American friends had a good holiday, and took a moment to think of all the reasons you have to be thankful in your life.

5 comments:

Emily said...

I think this Thanksgiving post turned out just right! You're right....we are so lucky to be born into the country we were and for families and food and ....ok, now I'm rambling.

Julie said...

Yay for the neighborhood GI Joe guy! I'm so glad we got to hang out. We really enjoyed hanging out with the MergenHagenSchmidts. Maybe we can make it a tradition for other holidays!

Jessica said...

Did you see that "What is the What" made the NYT 100 Notable Books of 2007? I haven't read a single book on the list, so I'll be awaiting your review before I check it out.

karen said...

I would have to agree with emily - I think your post on being thankful turned out just right. I can only hope more people remember to share your thankful thoughts =0)

mojca said...

a very nice post.
i haven't heard of stars before, they sound lovely! remind me of metric a bit. have you heard the new radiohead? this one is one of the more beautiful tracks of the new album.