After reading Louise’s heartfelt post yesterday about all the people who have helped her along the way, I’m tempted to go schmaltzy and do the same. But the thing is, that’s not me. I have a reputation among my friends of not being a terribly emotional person. I’m the kind of person you come to when you want a problem solved, not the person you turn to for a good cry and a hug. I will sympathize, I will empathize, and if you really need it, I will give you a hug. But it’ll be one of those awkward, pat-on-the-back, should-I-have-let-go-by-now? hugs.
About a year ago, a gratitude challenge was going around Facebook. One of my friends, Kate, challenged me to it, even though Kate knows better than most that public displays of, well, anything, are not my style. I save the emotion for the written page of my stories. Anyway, the idea was to post, for five days, three things for which you’re grateful. I accepted the challenge, but in true form, I may not have taken it seriously, and while my friends were gushing over loved ones and pets and trees with changing leaves and warms cups of coffee on cold days and beautiful fall sunsets, I came up with things like:
- I am grateful my son has learned to make my morning latte without spilling (too much) milk and that my daughter knows the difference between an Old Fashioned and a Manhattan.
- I am grateful for my FitBit because it gives me a socially acceptable way to taunt and mock my friends.
- I am grateful that Facebook allows to me socialize with people without my having to actually interact with them. No, that’s not a bourbon in my hand. No, I haven’t been wearing the same shirt for three days. No, I don’t know from where that empty bag of Oreos came. Stop judging me!
- I am grateful that my husband was so grossed out when I said, “If you just buy more underwear, you won’t have to do laundry more than once a month,” and now I get clean clothes every Sunday!
Look, put me in a room with my kids and my husband, and I’m a total sap. My kids think I’m the mushiest thing ever, the way I chase them around to smooch them. My husband and I do have our romantic moments, but we are both in total agreement on keeping those moments between ourselves; you’ll never see us posting lovey dovey sentiments or kissy-faced photos (at least not with each other) on Facebook.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel gratitude. I recently wrote my book acknowledgments and I let all the folks I appreciate know how I feel. My agent is so smart and so supportive. My editor has an amazing eye. My writing group is da bomb. My fellow Debs are a total support group. My family has put up with so much. But gushing about them here isn’t my style. However, this is Thanksgiving week and the Debs have determiend that I’m supposed to be publicly grateful for something, so I’ll give it whirl.
What am I grateful for?
I’m grateful for books. I’m grateful that when the world seems to be falling down around me, as it seems to be doing every time I turn on the news, that I have books. I have books to escape into, books to strengthen me, books to teach me.
I’m grateful that I live in a family of readers, starting with my own parents who always had a book in hand and who made sure I learned to read young. My parents never censored my reading, and I’m grateful that when the librarian told my mother, “WIFEY is not an appropriate book for a ten year old,” my mother replied, “She can read whatever the hell she wants.” (For the record: I read it, but really didn’t understand it.)
I’m grateful I have two children who can’t stop reading and that I have to yell at them to stop reading and go to sleep or I’ll take away their books (note: I have never, not once, followed through on this threat, and I’m pretty sure they know I never will. Now the Xbox is a whole different story).
I’m grateful that I have the luxury to write. That I live in a place where I don’t have to worry about shelter or food or my personal safety. A lot of incredibly smart, incredibly talented people are out there who have lots to say but no way of saying it, and I won’t use this as a place to rant about immigrant quotas and how unless you’re of Native American descent, we were all once immigrants, and everyone deserves a chance, but I’m thinking it, and this is exactly when I turn off the news and retreat into a book.
I am grateful that my family will come to me for Thanksgiving and I don’t have to brave traffic. I am grateful that the biggest arguments my family gets into these days is whether to put marshmallows or meringue on our sweet potatoes. I am grateful that everyone encourages to me to see how much bourbon I can put in our dinner (In years past it’s gone into the turkey, the potatoes, the cranberry sauce, and the pecan pie, but I know there are more things I can cook with the stuff). I am grateful that we have a tradition of watching a silly movie after Thanksgiving dinner and I no longer have to put the kids to bed first (I’m voting to watch Trainwreck this year). I’m grateful that at the end of the night, I will curl up in my warm bed, full and a little boozy, and read a great book until I drift off to sleep.
All you people in life. My family. My running friends. My mom friends. My writing friends. My friends old and friends new. All the folks out there who read this blog and support us fledgling writers. You know I’m grateful for you. I may not always be the best at expressing it. But it’s there. And I’m grateful for that.
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