the thankful list, 2011

I didn’t make a list last year, because I was doing that NaBloPoMo thing and had to get something posted before midnight but I’d found myself at the end of the day with no time to write a list. It’s okay, though I missed doing it, and I decided this year to return to form, as it seems more important now than ever. I’ve been so focused this year on just keeping my head above water that I’ve not taken much time to be grateful. It’s understandable, perhaps, but just because something’s understandable doesn’t mean that it’s right. But it’s Thanksgiving, and I’m thankful, dammit, so here we go.

I’m thankful for these obliging traffic cones, not that I was involved in their theft, as stealing traffic cones is illegal and I am a law-abiding citizen. But were I to be the type of law-abiding citizen who occasionally bends the rules in order to honor the memory of my departed friend Stacy who had a thing for collecting traffic cones (and the occasional barrel), then I would perhaps have spent part of my time last night running awkwardly down a dark highway carrying a heavy, wet traffic cone that was so tall it DIDN’T FIT IN THE TRUNK OF THE CAR, and having to leave said cone by the side of the highway, only to find a smaller one later. And then, in this purely hypothetical scenario, perhaps Missy found one, that had some reflective strips on it, which made photographing the cones in the dark with a flash something of a challenge. I’m thankful for the cones, for the laughs, for the mischief, however the cones happen to have been procured. That’s the point.

I’m so thankful for Missy, that she is now cancer-free, that we’ve been able to be there for each other as we’ve each faced our own trials. I’m thankful that she knows everything about me and loves me anyway. She has been incredible, and I love her so much. I’m thankful for how much sassier she is, in her post-chemo life. It has been, to use what is apparently my favorite catchphrase, a hell of a year, and in some ways, it’s kicked our asses, but I think it’s perfectly fair to say that we’ve kicked its ass right back.

I’m thankful for my family. I’m thankful for my grandmother — what a wonderful lady she is. I’m thankful for all she’s taught me, and I’m thankful that I get to spend today with her. I’m thankful that I’m so very like her in so many ways, because there are few people in the world I’d rather be like, even if she can drive me from 0 to completely insane in under a minute. It’s part of her charm. I’m thankful for my mother, and how she’s been so steady, despite facing a series of uncertainties. I’m thankful for her quiet faith, her belief that even though things sometimes look crazy on the surface, they are really under control, which is often the opposite of what I think, as I tend to be impatient. I’m thankful for the way everyone has pulled together. So many things are entirely different now than they were a year ago at this time, but everyone, or nearly everyone, has done what it takes to make sure things are right, and I’m thankful for that.

I’m thankful for the friends I’ve made this year, for the laughs, for the nights out and the drinks and all that cheese dip. (Although I have to be careful with cheese dip, as lactose and I are not exactly friends.) I’m thankful for the fact that when things get too stressful, a fun night out is only a text message away. I’m thankful for the people who have stuck with me this year, people who are geographically near and far, who have opened their homes, taken me out, bought me dinner, flirted, laughed, talked, sent well-timed text messages, asked nosy questions and seen me through some pretty dark times. I have some seriously great people in my life, and I am thankful for each and every one of them. Also, let’s face it: I probably owe you all a beer. Someday when I am miraculously independently wealthy, I will come visit all of you, and drinks are on me.

I am thankful for my adorably goofy dog, and the way she smiles at me when we walk together. She’d walk with me anywhere, and a friend like that is beautiful beyond measure.

I’m thankful for Angry Birds, which has come to my rescue during many painfully dull moments. I am so good at that game.

I’m thankful for my creative surge this year, the output of which has been thousands of words written, both here on this blog and in disparate Word documents. I’m not sure how good all of that output has been, but I feel like I’m getting somewhere with it, getting better maybe, or at least more focused. Still haven’t written a book or anything, but I’m getting to where the idea of doing so isn’t so completely hilarious, and that’s something.

I’m thankful for my hair, as much as I complain, that I have it (and so much of it) and that eventually I’ll have enough to give away to someone else. Once I got past the awkward part, it’s really not too bad. Thank goodness. (Also, hilariously, a photo of me and my raging communist hair appears alongside this article, and the caption under the photo states, “Too stressed and busy to teach your kids about Thanksgiving? It may be possible with a bit of mom-trickery!” Because my hair makes me look like a stressed mom, I guess. Hee!)

Despite everything, I’m thankful for this year, thankful for everything that’s happened, even the stuff that has really, really hurt. It’s hard to be grateful for those things, but I’ve been through bad times before, and now that I’m able to look at those things with the benefit of perspective that time and distance offer, I know that bad times don’t last, it’s all just experience, and the important thing is just to keep going. I’ve been disappointed, I’ve been angry, but I’ve also been happy, I’ve also been peaceful. I’ve probably shed more tears in this past year than I have in the previous five years combined, but the thing is, I’ve laughed a lot, too. There hasn’t been a Hollywood ending, but there is love in my life, a lot of it, and I am thankful.

Sometimes you have to get shaken all the way down to your foundations to know whether or not you’re standing on anything that lasts. Well. I’m still standing. And looking around, the things that remain are the things that matter.

I am thankful. I am. So very much so.

2 thoughts on “the thankful list, 2011

  1. Lovely post. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen thanks offered for traffic cones. And it may be the only time, so I’m going to savor it.

    Abrupt segue: Have you tried Siege Hero? It exactly like Angry Birds minus the slingshot, birds and screeching. It’s addictive quotient is just as high though! Have a great holiday!

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  2. Although I DO NOT condone “removing property that doesn’t belong to me”, I have to give you kudos to this one because the last time I had an experience with a road cone…. well, I was driving on an interstate and the road was being worked on; road cones were lined up on my “driver’s side” and my front tire barely clipped one but just enough that it frew up and hit my side mirror!! and then hit my door a couple of places. Scared the crap out of me! haha… Anyway, I know there are places on the road that require road cones, but I don’t think a couple less won’t hurt a thing!

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