After 49 Thanksgivings, I finally “get” why it did not matter to my Mom, in her later years, whether our family ate dinner together on paper plates (themed, of course) or not. The mere fact that we were together was enough for her – and it should have been enough for me – but, alas, I needed more “road miles” in life to fully understand.
This Thanksgiving I am wildly and enthusiastically thankful for 4 Things:
To be curious is a state of willingness to allow life, ideas, people, nature and the world to enthrall and intoxicate you. In spite of my struggle this 49th year of my life on earth to discover and maintain a healthy sobriety, I am thankful to discover that I still experience the wonder of a child every single day. AMEN to that and keep the curiosity coming!
After all, it has been said, “interesting people are interested people.”
We all experience setbacks and many of them are stunning, paralyzing and utterly terrifying. Looking back, I really am thankful for each and every setback I have experienced. Not only am I learning humility, I am experiencing the ebb and flow of the journey and learning to take my EGO OUT OF IT. I mean, a mortal can only do so much – the Universe is so much larger and powerful, and there is no escaping the lessons we’re each meant to learn. To me, setbacks are just another way of experiencing mortality and human limitations. And like Garth Brooks famously crooned, “I thank God for unanswered prayers” every single day.
My husband and I were “curious” about life in a tiny town more than 200 miles away from our home so we packed up and moved away from friends, family, professional connections, and all the lovely comforts of city life. We stayed there 8 years. I joke that 2 of them were happy, but I seriously mean it! Looking back, that really is not true: my mental state was not happy because I was fighting the flow of our new lives. But something super cool I have discovered in mid-life: you can actually reflect back and accept what was once unimaginable and unendurable and it has the same effect – now my memories of what I thought was a “really dark time” are mostly funny and happy! I am so thankful for this gift.
A wise woman once told me, “Your kids aren’t always going to be this little.” Obvious statement of fact but, at the time, I could hardly imagine a time when my life was not dictated by play dates, diaper changes, snack times, story times, intrusive “Mom friends” and never-ending messes, usually involving bodily fluids. This is my beautiful daughter, now 16 years old, at 16 months old. I hardly remember the passing of time. Another wise woman, my own Mother, told me, “Honey, life will pass you by so quickly it will leave your head spinning.” And it has. She was right, as usual. I am thankful for my tribe of family, starting with my husband and children and colored with many interesting friends and co-workers. At the tender age of 49, I have learned how to assess quickly what “works” for my tribe and what needs to just go away! THANKS be to GOD!!
Happy Thanksgiving, wherever you are, and whether you enjoy it on the finest china or paper plates. Life is a gift.