Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thankful.

Okay. Today's blog entry is going to take a slight detour into Sappytown.

I'm a sappy, sentimental fool, and proud of it.

I know it doesn't take a special time of year for any of us to realize or admit that we're thankful. But isn't it great that we have this day?

Thanksgiving, I am thankful for you.

I can be as spontaneous as the next gal. Well, I guess that I can be as spontaneous as this busy life of mine allows. Personally, however, I'll choose tradition over spontaneity any day. There's something so inherently cozy and heartwarming about longstanding family traditions that just envelop you like a warm hug. Thanksgiving is all about tradition and sameness, and that familiarity is comforting.

The cast of characters has changed over the years as we have added new people to our large, extended family, and as we have lost others who are dear to us. But love is the constant. That is the thing that draws us back together as a family year after year from far and near.

My extended family, made up of sisters, brothers-in-law, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, nieces and in-laws is not perfect. We don't always get along. We are different people leading different lives. But isn't that one of the best things about family? We're all thrown into this mix together to teach other and to learn from each other, as frustrating as it may be at times.

My family has a tradition we started years ago. Perhaps your family has the same one. Each person at the table says what they are most thankful for in this world. This moment usually turns me into a blubbering, crying fool. There should be a country music song called, "Tears in My Mashed Potatoes and Gravy", because that's very much what happens.

I love hearing my kids when it is their turn. It's usually something like, "I am thankful for my Wii, my Razor Scooter, my bedroom...and oh yeah. I'm thankful for my Mom and Dad."

I usually barely get out the words, "I'm thankful for", and the tears start. It's so emotional for me to put into words how thankful I am for my life and all the people in it.

Sometimes we have those moments when we are reminded of how grateful we should be for our health and our families and all that we have. A friend is diagnosed with cancer, and we pray for them and become even more grateful for our own health. A child is sick and hospitalized, and we hug our own children even tighter and thank God that it is not happening to our child. We see a bad car accident and say a silent prayer that it wasn't us.

We swear to ourselves that we will always feel this grateful, and that we will never forget it.

But we are human. We have our bad days. We say things like, "These kids are driving me crazy and I need to get the hell out of this house!"

Charlie was having a typical tweener temper tantrum (oh the alliteration!) the other day and Bill and I grounded him from television and video games, which made him angrier. He started slamming doors and amping up his attitude. "I hate you both!" he screamed. Bill quickly responded, "Now you just lost your playing outside time today too. Get in your room." Another door was slammed, but not before Charlie managed to squeak out, "You're so stupid!"

It was then that I went into the powder room, slammed the door, (Do as I say, and not as I do, kids!) and started crying. Bill came in the room and asked, "What's wrong?"

"I hate this job sometimes! Charlie calls us stupid and says he hates us! What kind of child are we raising who says these things?!? What are we doing wrong?!? I suck at this. I suck, suck, suck." I said to him through tears.

Needless to say, I was not feeling very grateful.

"He's just trying to get a rise out of us, Clare. Don't let him get to you. He knows it bothers us." Bill responded as he put his arm around me.

It was not a perfect moment. But it was a human moment, and I am glad that Charlie or the other kids didn't see or hear my meltdown. All was better once Charlie served his punishment, calmed down and apologized. All was forgiven.

We have lots of human, imperfect moments around here. But we don't give up, we learn, and we move on. We try again. We put things in perspective.

I am so thankful for my life, as imperfect as it is. I tell myself I wouldn't have it any other way, because who needs perfection anyway?

Every day that I have with the people I love, I am supremely grateful, even if I don't always say it.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. I wish you the smells of good food cooking in the oven and desserts aplenty.

And of course, I hope you are surrounded by the ones you love.

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