Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I thought it rather fortuitous that I came across this note while cleaning out my desk. It was a note that I wrote to my mother in January of 1979, when I was 9 years old.
After I stopped laughing, I really pondered the end of that note, “And please don’t get so upset when your tyeping (hey, I was 9) goes wrong. It’s not the end of the world, you know. Be thankful you have a typewriter and two hands so you can write.”
I thought people were supposed to get wiser as they got older. But apparently, I was more enlightened at nine than I am at forty-seven. Now I’m the one who gets upset when my “typing” goes wrong.
When I do reflect on what I’m thankful for, the same things always pop into my head. “I’m thankful for family, friends, good health.” And yes, those are all perfectly fine things to be thankful for. But they’re so…I don’t know, obvious? So today I’m going to try and channel the innocence of my 9 year old self and try to find the good in the not-so-obvious things.
I am thankful for the guy that flipped me off when I was driving the other day. You were right. I was spacing out in my own world, driving like a moron, and you brought me back to reality.
I am thankful for Ikea furniture instructions. I may have shouted obscenities (what the f**k is a Vanaskaplig cam lock nut???) throughout the entire 900 step building process, but man, when that nightstand was finished, I felt like a freaking superhero in front of my daughter. “You see that? Mommy can build shit too! Just don’t, like, lean on it too hard, okay?”
I am thankful for the nine loads of smelly laundry piled up all over my house. Being surrounded by all that laundry means being surrounded by these people that I love. I’m thankful to have a good washer and dryer to make that chore manageable. Having to line-dry everybody’s underwear would be a real bummer in the Pacific Northwest.
I am thankful for the high-spirited children I encounter as a substitute teacher. They teach me patience.
I am thankful for the time that our car ended up in a ditch on the side of the road on a dark and rainy night on this island. I would never have known that car after car after car would stop to offer us help…from teenagers to senior citizens to moms with a car full of kids. It showed us the true heart of this community in which we are lucky enough to live.
I am thankful for the power outages that occur every time there’s a small gust of wind on this island. It forces us to realize that we really can survive without electronics and reminds us that Rummikub is a kick-ass game.
I am thankful for the kid that was mean to my daughter. You taught her to be resilient and you taught her empathy. She will not treat anyone the way you treated her.
I am thankful for my gray hairs. Actually…nope, can’t do it. That’s ridiculous and just a lie. I hate gray hairs.
I am thankful for that stupid Elf on the Shelf who insists on returning every December. That Elf keeps my creativity flowing…not so much in where to hide him, but more so in the off-the-cuff excuses I have to come up with when my daughter asks, “Why didn’t Pablo move last night?” But I am mostly thankful for him because his appearance in our home means somebody here still believes in the magic of Christmas…and in magic, period.
I am thankful for all the rejections I’ve received when submitting my writing for publication. It makes the acceptances that much sweeter and it makes me try harder.
And I guess, like I so sagely put it when I was nine, I should be thankful for my two hands so I can write.