To Be Thankful
My wife used to carry on a tradition that I think many (most?) households do on Thanksgiving day. She’d look around the table and she’d look deep into their eyes and say “what are you thankful for?”
It drove me nuts. Drove all of us nuts, quite frankly. The kids hated it. I certainly was no fan. I may pour out the occasional emotional tome here but it’s not something I do on a regular basis in daily life.
“I am thankful for . . . ” you can guess what usually came at the end of the ellipses.
“My Mom and Dad.”
“My game boy.”
“Abbi, Hannah, Noah, Dad, Mom . . . ”
I am not Ebeneezer Scrooge here, if you’ll pardon the early reference. I just didn’t see the point when sincerity wasn’t the theme of the day. Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie were.
More than that, to be honest, I always felt like you didn’t need to show the thanks, it was there. The beauty in the table and the decorations and the wonder our house became under my wife’s stern vision was certainly something amazing. She showed love and thanks for family that way. I cooked huge meals, served desserts and made dishes I’d never wanted to do because my wife would prod me until I did. I loved every minute of it.
When Andrea died it certainly didn’t seem like a year that we’d have anything to be thankful for.
This is the fourth Thanksgiving since she left us, though, and to use a phrase a friend of mine used earlier this year – it just seems like we’re thriving. Life isn’t the same as it was four years ago and that’s because, to be brutally honest, we’re not the same people we were four years ago.
My one son, though he’s having a bout with nightmares lately, is doing very well. Loves school, found a school club that he enjoys and he’s one of the sweetest people I know. His brother had a very rough time in that first year. He’s now doing well. In fact, when we were trick-or-treating there were several kids went out their way to come over and say ‘hi’ to him. That was progress, too.
My middle daughter – she’s a talented songwriter and musician and we just did our first demo of one of her songs. Sure, it’s rough and needs work, but that’s why you do demos in the first place.
My oldest struggled for a long time with whether to chase financial stability or her passion. I pushed and prodded and she thought and struggled…and chose to follow what she loves. She’s the happiest I’ve seen her in four years.
And in among all that is their Dad, who cooks, cleans, and still has time for the occasional night to have some adult conversation. I’m also in the process of finishing up songs for a new record I hope to record next year. That’s a big shift, too.
The point to all this is . . . to be thankful. In four years’ time we’ve gone from near the breaking point to a position of strength and stability. Sure, we have weeks where I’m counting pennies, but there are amazing times to be had along with all of that. We’re far less unstable than we were before.
We have a lot to be thankful for.
Still . . . I’m not going to go around the table and ask everyone to say it. Those answers, they’ll never change.