For the past several years, I have felt like Thanksgiving always sneaks up on me. I remember a time when I had time to think about what outfit I would wear to Thanksgiving dinner and then hopping on the train to get to either my aunt’s house or my college bestie’s house in New York. I suppose that was back in college, which was more than a decade ago now. I never feel prepared for it these days. After Thanksgiving, it’s this mad crazy rush until Christmas and by the time New Year’s rolls around, I’m ready for a vacation and a yearning for a do-over of the holidays.
A couple years before, I decided to do a 30 days of thankfulness. In the beginning, it wasn’t too hard. I could find people to email to say thanks to, but after a week or two, it was getting really hard. I found it hard to find things that I was thankful for and even people. There were SO many people and things to be thankful for, yet when I had to sit down to really think about it, I sometimes couldn’t do it. It wasn’t automatic to me. I had to put an effort into it. That was a big surprise to me.
I think of myself as someone who knows how to say thank you and be thankful. The exercise, though, made me think more critically about what I thought of myself. It’s hard to be thankful in the mundane and everyday things. It’s hard to be thankful to those who are around you all the time. When you are at work, it’s easy to not those two words to your co-workers – even for those little things that they may do. It’s easy to be thankful for the big, obvious things, but there is great difficulty in recognizing the everyday small details of life that we should also be thankful for.
Since having Ninjette, we try to be more conscious of saying, “Thank you,” for everything because if we don’t model it, who will? But the attitude of gratitude escapes me in the very season that we ought to be more cognizant of it. I was going to do a thankful tree or a thankful jar so that our family could practice thankfulness together, but I never got around to doing it. I tried hard to talk about it in our walks to school, but there were so many mornings that I was just trying to prevent us from being late. In the rush of life, I have often forgotten to be thankful for my little one. She savors every moment in whatever she might be doing and there is no hurriedness about her. I wish I had a little bit of that. I feel like that is the seed to having a grateful and thankful perspective in life.
I feel this even more now as my dad’s decline continues to progress faster than I would like. Each moment seems to get lost and I am always feeling like I want to just stop time. When you are running like that, it’s hard to take the moment to be thankful for it and to be thankful for those who are around you. It’s even harder to express it in the ways that I would like to.
For now, though, I will take this moment to be thankful and to say thanks. I’m thankful for my spouse. We are definitely not perfect, but he balances me and has taught me to think a minute before leaping. I’m thankful for my daughter who reminds me that life isn’t about rushing out the door, but taking the time to put on your shoes one shoe at a time. I’m thankful for my community – in person, church, online, school, neighborhood – because they have helped me to realize that family is much more than blood relation. They’ve surrounded me and helped me in so many ways and in so many situations, especially in helping me be a parent and being uber cool adults for my Ninjette. I’m thankful for my parents who are trying so hard to live their lives in the midst of a terrible, frustrating, and saddening disease. I’m thankful for my in-laws – the way that they love Ninjette is always heartwarming and so appreciated. Finally, I’m thankful for all of you who read this blog. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy life to read what I have to write, to comment, to like, and to send me all around good online vibes. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I appreciate it.
I hope you will stop for second and say, “Thank you,” to someone today, tomorrow, or the next day. Send an email, send a postcard, message them on Facebook, send a text or even a tweet.