Monday, November 21, 2016


Thanksgiving has long been my favorite of our holidays. I know that the actual history of it is not the whitewashed one we learn in school. My love for it has nothing to do with its role in our national origin myths. I love it because it is a holiday that is about friends, family, and being grateful for the good things in our lives. It is a celebration of love without any involvement of money (in the form of gifts). Don't get me wrong: I enjoy Christmas, too, and particularly enjoy the part of Christmas that involves spreading love and joy. But Thanksgiving is my favorite.

This year, I've been struggling to find the Thanksgiving spirit. Obviously, this is related to the election, but regardless of why it has gone missing, I want to find my Thanksgiving spirit. My daughters, who share my love of Thanksgiving, have drawn Thanksgiving pictures on my whiteboard and put up decorations in our living room. Pumpkin created a system for us to write what we're thankful for on cards and have it displayed for all to see.

At the same time, thinking about what would prompt us to move to New Zealand has made me more aware of what I love about our life here. We're not seriously considering moving yet, but one of the promises I made to myself was that if Trump won, I'd force myself to think about when we should leave, and that I'd insist that my husband and I discuss this. So we've started doing that, and the things on my "would make me leave" list seem so surreal, but then so do a lot of things right now. And the things that pop into my head as counterpoint, the things I'd lose if we left, seem so real. But of course, this is why I insisted we do this exercise.

So anyway, in the interests of both honoring the counterpoints screaming in my head and searching for my Thanksgiving spirit, I am going to write an incomplete list of things I'm thankful for.

My kids. Obviously. They are the best. They bring me so much joy. Petunia's hugs are a tonic for my soul. Pumpkin's complicated play schemes delight me. I have such good kids.

Let's skip the other obvious ones, not because I'm not thankful for my husband, my family, my friends, and my health, but because I don't want to bore you or nauseate you. But I don't take any of those things for granted.

And where things get interesting is in the smaller details.

I'm grateful for the hammock my family got me for my birthday this year. Just climbing into it relaxes me. And hammock naps are the best naps.

I discovered I love my backyard avocado tree. I was not a big avocado fan when we moved in, and I'm still not. But I have come to love guacamole, particularly when homemade with avocados picked from our tree. And I just love the tree. It is a big, old tree. A neighbor told us that the original owner of the house planted it from a pit in the year they moved in, which would make it more than 50 years old.

I'm grateful for our house. Now that we've done the addition, it feels like it is just the right size. There are still things I'd like to fix, but it is a good house, and I'm glad we bought it.

I'm grateful for the view from the corner of my street. I see this view whenever I walk to my kids' school. It is a view out to Mission Bay and then the ocean. It is particularly lovely in the fall, at sunset.

My Friday afternoon rollerblade by the bay is one of the best parts of my week. I am so thankful that my current work arrangement allows me the flexibility to do this. (For what it is worth, my husband does something similar with bike rides, and he has a full time job, so while being my own boss makes this easier, it is not the only way to get this flexibility. We should remember that, and work to make this flexibility available to everyone. We could do that.)

I am thankful I've been able to travel and see so much of the world. Every place I've gone has added something to my life.

I am grateful for art, and music, and books, which all bring joy and richness to my life.

I am glad I took up crocheting this year. All those people who go on and on about how nice it is to make something physical with your own hands... yeah, I see their point.

My kids have so many great friends. They have friends from day care and friends from school and friends from their extracurricular activities. They are all wonderful. It makes me happy to see my kids enjoying their friends so much.

My kids love their school. They love what they're learning, and they feel welcome and happy at school.

My kids have also found activities they really love. Petunia likes art class, Pumpkin likes playing the piano. They both love gymnastics.

I am grateful for this blog and for Twitter. Through them, I have found friends, learned from people from different backgrounds and with different areas of expertise, and found opportunities I never imagined. People like to talk about social media as a meaningless time sink, but that hasn't been my experience at all.

I could probably go on if I tried. But it is time for me to go make dinner for those awesome kids of mine. So I'll stop here. Tell me what little things you're thankful for in my comments, if you want.


  1. I'm thankful that you've continued blogging all this time, even after so many others (including myself) have stopped. I very rarely comment, but I always enjoy reading your posts. Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Awww, thanks! I'm glad you enjoy my posts.

  2. Thank you for your list! I will have to write my own these next few days. Thanksgiving is also my favorite holiday, and I'm also having trouble getting into the right spirit. I think your suggestion is just the ticket.

    1. It really helped me, more than I thought it would.

  3. My daughter made a list of things she's thankful for, but after listing every family member including the cats, she still had one more dangly thing for the mobile they made at school. So the last dangly thing notes that she is thankful for her booster seat. I'm thankful for her booster seat too.

    1. I think my daughters would be thankful for their booster seats, too. My 9 year old won't let us take hers out of the car because she likes the headrest!

    2. not to mention the cup-holders!

  4. I'm in South Africa and this election has had me all in a tizz too.

    Which is why I started decorating very early for Christmas - to get me focussed on the Reason for the season. Christmas music really helps :)

  5. I keep listening to Mame.

  6. Thanksgiving is (mostly) one of my favorite holidays as well. I need to write about it.

    I love your list. I love that it is full of things that you can appreciate all the time. I think that those are the things we carry with us.


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