Thanksgiving is the time of year when we contemplate what we are grateful for, right?
Here is what I am grateful for:
- Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens,
- Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens,
- Brown paper packages tied up with strings,
- Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels,
- Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles,
- Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings,
- Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes,
- Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes,
- Silver white winters that melt into springs
Just kidding. I stole that from "The Sound of Music."
So I guess the first thing I am grateful for is my strange sense of humor.
At least, after all of these years, I still have one.
But seriously, it's important to take the time to be grateful for what we have.
I used to threaten, I mean, tell my children we were going to spend Thanksgiving volunteering at a homeless shelter, serving food to people less fortunate, so my kids would appreciate what they had. I never followed up on that but scores of others have and do. In fact homeless shelters report huge numbers of volunteers doing just that on Thanksgiving and for many families, this is an annual volunteer activity for them. But what we don't often hear from the homeless shelters is that they wish people would volunteer other times during the year. That's when they are needed most.
The same goes for gratitude.
It's not enough to think about what we are grateful for just once a year. Gratitude is something we need to embrace every day of the year. Gratitude is something that must be practiced or we take for granted much of what we have.
Recently the power went off and I couldn't believe how helpless I felt. Sure we had candles and flashlights so I could have read a book or, heaven forbid, talk to Hubby, but the thought that not only could I not watch TV, my TIVO wasn't taping my shows! I was going to miss the latest installment of "True Tori!" Worse, I couldn't check Facebook or my email. I was cut off from my social network! I couldn't tweet, I couldn't Face Time or Skype. It was sobering. Well, not exactly. Wine doesn't need electricity. But, now I wake up every morning and say thank you to the electricity gods.
One good thing about getting older is you eventually have the time to be grateful. When we are in our twenties, we are too busy searching for a mate, in our thirties and forties too busy with our careers and children, in our fifties too busy getting rid of our mate and worrying about getting old and fat to be grateful for what we have.
When we retire, we have the time to reflect and be grateful.
So I have added that to my daily routine - to be grateful for at least three things every day, year round.
But it's important to not wait until you are old to be grateful, because sometimes it's too late.
Thanksgiving naturally brings up all kinds of memories about family, for some of you happy memories, for some of you, maybe not so much. I have happy memories of Thanksgiving with my family growing up, except I didn't like getting served last, as was the custom in my family - the oldest got served first (I was the youngest) - or having to do the dishes. But what I should have been grateful for at the time was my Dad always saved the drumstick for me (which was my favorite) and he helped me with the dishes.
So thinking about my parents this time of year, I am grateful that I was able to show appreciation to them for all they had done for me before they died. I wish I had done more, though, and shown them more love. But that is the natural cycle of things.
What I have learned since becoming a parent myself is beautifully expressed in the book "Life Gets Better: The Unexpected Pleasures of Growing Old" by Wendy Lustbader.
"We realize how helpless our parents had been during our youthful experimentation -- how they tried to warn us against foolish choices, how our petulance silenced them, how they thought of little else when we were off taking those risks without thinking about them at all. Parenting has never been fair. We love our children far more than they love us, and in doing so we realize how dearly we were loved by our parents."
I had never really thought of it that way but it explains a lot.
So I am thinking of my parents today as I write this, grateful that I at least in some way thanked them for their love and support and then passed that on by loving my own children as they did me.
In addition to that, I am grateful for the usual things: Waking up in the morning alive and well, Hubby, my kids, my grandkids, my friends, my career, a roof over my head, I still have my own teeth...
But another reason to be grateful every day and a perk of old age is the ability to be grateful for the little things.
So today I am grateful for
The wine-guzzling poodle who shows love to me every day (I just need to help him with his drinking problem)
A day off once a week
---Hubby says every day is a day off for me, because I am retired, but that's not true. I am really busy most of the time: keeping up with my "1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project," writing this blog, meditating, volunteering, going to the gym, arranging my shoe collection, watching "The View." I am grateful for one day a week where I can just let life take me where it leads. Most often it leads me to the TV, but that's not the point.
My blog and those of you who enjoy it.
---I have realized I am a communicator and for good or ill, I'm going to communicate, dammit!
My feet. I have nice feet. Feet don't get fat.
A nice glass of wine (or two) by a crackling fire after a hard day of retirement
A really great film that does not star Matthew McConnaughey
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens...
Like I said, it's the little things.
What are you grateful for?
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Thanks for reading!
See you Friday
for my review of the new movie
"The Theory of Everything,"
My Week in Reviews,
and the latest on my
"1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project."
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