It makes me feel weird/ungrateful/Catholic-shameful not to post a list of thanks in November. So it has to be done, even if it’s a month late. Here’s a slight portion of all the stuff I’ve been thankful for lately:
1. I have awesome in-laws. My brother-in-law Teil is my dentist, and my sister-in-law Van is my optometrist, so you know I’ve got the hook-up as far as teeth and eyes go. But I also have to say that my brother-in-law Daniel has saved our lives a million times this year, because he has experience fixing the kind of things that randomly break in houses that were built in the ‘80s, like ours was. He’s helped us fix our shower, our water heater, our dryer, and all kinds of other stuff within this past year alone. For that, I thank him and pledge to continue doing shots and karaoke with him at all Teil and Van’s future parties.
2. I’m so thankful that the Internet exists and that it contains kind people who are willing to share their experiences in order to help others. This year I decided to start riding a bike, after 21 years of not having done so. And I had so much drama trying to find the right bike and the right bicycle seat. Drama and pain, literally. So I took my problems to the Internet, read a bunch of forums, and found out that: a) I probably have a fractured tailbone, and b) I needed a split bike seat. I bought a cheap split seat and it changed my freaking life, and now I’m enjoying riding my bike so much that it makes me want to cry (almost as much as the tailbone pain made me want to cry before I bought the new seat). So: Thanks, helpful strangers on the Internet.
3. I’m glad I’ve had extra time to spend with my family this year. Particularly with my cousins Andrea and Helen, my brother Erik and his family, and my dad. And my kids, too. I mean, I live with my kids, of course, but I’m grateful that working part-time this year has given me a few extra hours with each of them. And I’m grateful that my family members are generally awesome and value the same things Dat and I do: good food, good drinks, and standing around telling funny stories. Is there anything more important in life?
4. So I’m working from this list I’ve kept on my iPhone throughout the year – a list called “Thankful for” on the Notes app – and one of the items says “Pocket Frogs.” Apparently, at one point, I felt grateful for an iPhone app game about colored frogs hopping around on lily pads. I can’t explain why now, but I’m guessing it has something to do with OCD and stress relief, so let’s just leave it at that. Thanks, little frogs of varying colors and designs.
5. The list also says “Cats,” and I’m guessing I wanted to say something about how Starbuck and Toby, my cats, brighten up my life. I think it’s because they stayed by me (literally, pressed against me on my bed) while I was finishing up my last novel.
6. I’m grateful for my husband, as always. Not least because he spent a really long time very patiently helping me find the right bike and bike seat.
7. You’re always supposed to be thankful for your job, if you have one, and for your good health, if you have that. And so I am.
8. Something not on the list: The other day, my oldest son Paul (not a pseudonym, not anymore) was complaining to me. He was, like, wearing a tie and drinking a cup of coffee, driving his car to work or to the University. (No, he wasn’t, but that’s how you can imagine him with 75% accuracy now.) On this recent day, he was actually in the back seat of the mini van, complaining to the rest of us about the crappiest Christmas he’d ever had. What was so crappy about it? I only gave him three gifts, and they were all books, and one of them was a book he already owned.
I was embarrassed by that story at the time. Also, I was a little annoyed by my son’s spoiled brattiness in bringing it up. He was talking about one of my first years as a single mom, when I had every reason to be frugal and forgetful. But, thinking about his story the next day, I was grateful. You know why? Because, if that’s the worst Christmas he has to complain about, I must be doing a pretty good job as a parent. Right? And thank God I’m able to do that.