(This was one of my earliest columns. I read it this morning and laughed all over again. I hope you do the same. I am in the midst of crazy divorce stuff, need some laughs and could use some positive thoughts. Send 'em quick, people. Send 'em quick.)
Every month after I finish my column I breathe a deep sigh of relief. Whew! Then each month, I panic! “What can I possibly write about next month? I’ll never think of anything! I’m doomed. “ It’s the same routine every month.
But, as Ray Barrone so eloquently put it at his brother Robert’s wedding, sometimes material just presents itself. (Remember when Marie Barrone stopped the wedding? I cracked up!) Well, what better way to end up with material in your lap, than Thanksgiving time? This month, as we all know, Thanksgiving comes early, which works out perfectly for me considering my deadline is right smack in the middle of the month. In kindergarten, we’ve started singing turkey songs, made turkey headbands, disguised our turkeys, colored our turkeys, and have even made turkeys out of apples. (Note to self- don’t give pointy toothpicks to 5 and 6 year old boys. Bad things happen.)
As we journey into this land of thankfulness, we have many discussions about why we celebrate this holiday. I asked the class what Thanksgiving was, and I got a variety of answers. Some said it was day where we thanked people, but most said it was a holiday about eating. Now, for some of us (okay, me) every day is a holiday about eating. There is definitely something to celebrate every day, right? I personally like to celebrate the fact that I made it through another day. Anyone with teenagers knows what I’m talking about.
Back to the Thanksgiving discussion- I proceeded to explain to the children why we eat on Thanksgiving. I got to the part where I told them that the pilgrims came across the ocean on the Mayflower and landed in our country, and at this point one young fella (the unfortunate guy who was absent when the Nittany Lion made the surprise visit to our classroom) piped up with a loud moan. “Aw, man!!! I always miss the good stuff! I was at my nona and poppie’s all weekend.” He felt better when I explained that this happened a long, long time ago. After a lengthy and confusing discussion, we talked about what we were thankful for. I told them some of the things I was thankful for, hoping to be a good example, and this is what they told me,
· I am thankful for my sister Heather’s kitty Pepper. I love her!
· I am thankful for my dog. He’s dead now. But, I am thankful for him.
· I don’t really know, but there is something stuck on my shoe.
· I am thankful for my Illinois Jersey
· I am thankful for my fish.
· I am thankful for my family. (YEAH!)
· I am thankful for macaroni and cheese.
· I am thankful for toys.
· I am thankful my mom borned me.
· I’m thankful for tissues. (So is the teacher.)
Some days it is hard to conjure up things that I am thankful for. There are many days when things just don’t go right. The bills are due, someone needs lunch money, it’s time for new winter coats (Why do kids have to grow?), that winter sport is not free, they need new shoes, haircuts, and the car battery is really, really dead. On top of that, the dog needs to go to the vet, grandma’s birthday is next week, the laptop died, Schlow library needs to be paid for that missing book, someone is screaming for money, and we could use a few groceries.
But then, when the hectic day is coming to an end, I sit back and relax. I think I can come up with one or two things I am thankful for. My children are healthy, fairly happy, and safe asleep in their beds right now. (The best time of day, don’t you think?) My parents might be gone, but I have a wonderful brother and sister that I am truly thankful for. I have great friends and co-workers who graciously carried my family through two tragic losses last year. (You know that social fund to which we all contribute each year to ensure that flowers and cards are sent to colleagues when needed? Well, it is not a good sign when you end up with all the cards and flowers.) I have a wonderful class this year, as always, with children who are caring, loving, and very, very funny.
Yeah, I’m thankful. When everyone’s in bed, the house is quiet and the day is done, you’re damn right I’m thankful.