I’m writing this in the wee hours partially because I had a big mug of coffee ice cream at 9:30pm, so I’m wide awake and partially because I’ve been trying to write a post for about 17 days and am determined to finish this one before we leave for New Jersey later this morning. (Mostly because of the coffee ice cream.)
Earlier today, the Loud One told me that she LOVES Thanksgiving because there’s so much good food. And by that, she means crescent rolls and pie.
I told her that while she is not alone in thinking about Thanksgiving as a food-centric holiday, it’s really important to remember that this day is about gratitude; you know, giving thanks. She said, “Right. I’m thankful for my family,” and I said, “That’s great! I’m thankful for coffee.” She said, “You can’t say that!” and I said, “You’re right… I SHOULD have said that I’m thankful for the creamer that goes in my coffee because without that, the coffee tastes like… bad.”
It goes without saying that I’m extremely thankful for my family – immediate, extended and in-law’ed. I hit the lottery on all three accounts and man, do I know it. I also have several friends that I know would drop their coffee/wine/desert to help me out if I needed it. (You all know who you are and which choice belongs to you… ) I’m truly [hashtag] blessed.
It’s also the little things.
So with that in mind… I give you my Gratitude List for 2014. Randomly selected and in no particular order, here are the things that I’m thankful for right now.
The Thanksgiving Day parade
It starts in less than eight hours and I CAN’T WAIT. I love seeing Matt Lauer and Al Roker and [insert female host here] in their festive winter garb – red scarves and Irish sweaters – making small talk about those talented Spirit of America dancers and about Snoopy’s tenure in the parade (36 years!). I love the odd pairings on the floats like Carrie Underwood singing with the Pilgrims, KISS hanging with the Sesame Street gang and Meghan Trainor following the Pillsbury Dough Boy.* I love predicting what the annual controversy will be – another ill-placed Victoria’s Secret ad? Or maybe a performance by the cast of Kinky Boots? I love it all. I really hope Jimmy Fallon and The Roots sing “We Will Rock You” again this year because that really spoke to my soul in 2012. *These are all real, scheduled balloons and musical acts this year, although I did make up the combinations.
After finishing Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers a couple of months ago, I became fairly interested obsessed with Anne Lamott and now I can’t stop reading her words. ALL OF HER WORDS. I think many of her sentences are like tiny works of art and I feel like I’m becoming a slightly better person just by paying attention to her. I also feel insanely jealous of her talent, so maybe I’m not THAT much better yet.
Given it’s the day of thanks, you can start with this: Counting Our Blessings: Why We Say Grace.
The Mindy Show/Parenthood/The Shonda Rhimes Thursday Night Line-Up
Yup, I’m thankful for TV. Look, I have to fold a lot of laundry. I can either do it in sad, boring silence OR I can watch Scott Foley sit in a hole with no shirt on (Scandal reference). Seems like a pretty obvious choice to me.
Also, Mindy Kaling is FUNNY and Parenthood makes me cry. For the whole hour. Every week. It’s like therapy.
*I could be grateful for technology in general, as it allows me to waste countless hours each day on social media like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, but since I simply cannot grasp the concept of tumblr or reddit, I’m going to just stick to TV.
The fact that I don’t have to cook Thanksgiving dinner
I feel really lucky to not be responsible for a turkey or the majority of the Thanksgiving Day meal (thanks Keith and Colleen!) because all I know is that I made this one dish today and it took me almost two hours and I used EVERY pan and bowl in the kitchen.
I shared this conversation I had with the Nibbit on Facebook but it’s worth copying and pasting here:
Nib: Mr. S told us…
Me: Wait, who’s Mr. S?
Nib: He’s the teacher who comes in to teach us about healthy… ness.
Me: OH, cool.
Nib: Yeah, Mr. S told us that when we exercise – you know Mom, like run or jump – there’s a dance party in our heart.
A DANCE PARTY IN OUR HEART!!
Also, I spent two hours with the Loud One crying over long division the other day and that was about all I can handle. Her teacher handles THAT – multiplied by 21 more kids – many more hours each day. And then she still puts smiley faces on her emails home!
The Nibbit’s Kindergarten teacher creates and sends out a video/slide show every month with pictures she’s taken of the kids during the previous weeks. It has MUSIC! And that’s in addition to doing the usual humdrum things like teaching our kids to READ and WRITE and SHARE and BE KIND and KEEP YOUR HANDS TO YOURSELF. Unbelievable!
And our preschool teachers? Well, they’ve been heroic since I met them seven years ago. It’s going to be really awkward when I keep showing up there next fall even though I won’t have any kids enrolled. Co-op, consider yourself warned.
I am really thankful that these educators spend each day with our kids and teach them an ungodly amount of stuff. Because Lord knows, I could not do that on my own. I’m serious, the Lord really knows that. That’s why whenever I read stories about impressive homeschoolers, I hear a little voice that says, “That could NEVER be you. Put the kids on the bus and let those wonderful professionals do their thing.”
It’s fun. That’s all.
They may be retired, but HD is still obsessed and they bring him a lot of joy. Although, today he asked for “the Backyardigans’ Mom’s and Dad’s houses” for Christmas… I am not sure how Santa is going to pull that one off.
I arrived late to the “if you roast vegetables to a crisp, they taste better and your children will eat them” party but believe me, I am here now! My friend Smitty calls it the “carcinogenic sauté” which I’ll admit, does not make me feel like Mother of the Year, but hey, they’re eating vegetables!
Humans of New York
Restoring my faith in humanity one post at a time, Brandon Stanton is proving the point that “Everyone has a story that will stop your heart” (Claudia Shear). Plus, it’s the ONLY place on the Internet where it’s safe to read the comments.
Last and most definitely not least and not really so “little” …
The good health of my children (knocking so much wood)
Last week, my boys were sick. The Nibbit started dragging on Sunday morning and by Monday he was down for the count. It was a bacterial bronchial infection according to the Urgent Care doctor, which is code for “nothing you can do about it.”
So we just sat. Rather, I sat and he slept on me. His skin was so hot that I had to put a blanket under his face so it wouldn’t heat my blood to a boil. Basically, for two days, we were on the couch. He was so sick, he couldn’t even be nibbity. That was distressing. (and maybe a tiny bit nice.)
Tuesday night at midnight, I was giving him a routine dose of Tylenol when I heard a sound come from HD’s room that scared me like a stranger in the dark. I ran in there to find him coughing and desperately trying to get a deep breath and failing. Croup. Channeling my inner-Debra Winger, I took him into the steamy shower and we basically alternated hours in the shower with hours of this:
And then the next day, we all looked like this:
Of course, they got better and by the fourth day, they were JUST sick enough to justify sippy cups of juice on the couch.
Thank God they recovered. I do, thank God. I don’t take their normal, noisy, active, crazy little selves for granted; I know how lucky we have been.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Make happy memories today and count your blessings.
PS. I’m also grateful for coffee ice cream because it helped me stay awake to finally finish this post. Also, because it’s delicious.