November 21, 2012 by Julia
I am thankful for the days when it feels like my whole life is humming around me, the days when I get a little bit of everything – love, family, friends, creativity, beauty – and it all harmonizes and soars and digs down deep and gritty and has hand claps and unexpectedly sweet turns of melody, going from minor key to major, like my favorite kind of music.
I am thankful for these two children, a boy and a girl, when there was a time I thought we would not be able to have one. There are few things so purely sad as longing for a child, and my prayers have been answered in every way. I have received more than many other women, whose hearts I think of frequently, and I never take that for granted.
I am also thankful that we have both a boy and girl. I would have felt grateful for any gender combination, surely, because each offers their own benefits, but I am so happy with what we have in our family. Fiona and Jack so far pretty much fall into all the expectations of their genders, and it is interesting and fulfilling to have both experiences. I love the way my family looks; I love the way we all fit together. I love that we can play both mama’s boy and daddy’s girl, or vice versa. The possibilities are endless, with this blonde boy and this brown-haired girl.
I am thankful to be writing again this year. I feel more like myself than I have in a long time – more complete, more happy, more aware of what is going on in my daily life, both positive and negative. A friend asked me, “So what had to give, in order for you to have enough time to write?” and I said, jokingly, “Uhh, TV viewing, I guess?” No more frittering away the evening hours in a daze, watching shows I am actually bored by. I’d say this was a great trade. (For the record, I am still making time for quality shows, like Homeland and The Walking Dead and Parenthood. Just not the terrible current seasons of Project Runway or ANTM.)
I am thankful for weekly date nights at home with my husband. We started this ritual just this year, out of a need to consciously spend time with each other, rather than doing chores, or working in separate rooms on separate computers. We order Indian food and drink wine and watch a movie and talk about things that may have slipped through the cracks over the week. We make it a fun, thoughtful time, just like you would on a date. The next day I always feel better, more relaxed, more in touch with my partner. It’s a good way to spend a weeknight, a good thing to look forward to.
I am thankful for the fact that my original family (what do you call the family that you grew up in, when you have begun a family of your own? I always wonder this.) is cool and funny and spiritual and musical and into the arts and thinking deep thoughts and bickering and are all so busy doing stuff. I am glad that we hardly ever ignore the elephant in the room; in fact I think we might be incapable of it. We are also pretty incapable of small talk.
I am thankful for friends who keep me sane during the week, when I feel overwhelmed or just need another adult to talk to, or at least be in the same room with when talk is impossible while chasing the kids around. I am thankful for long-distance friends whom I can review the past week or month with, over the phone or during a weekend visit, giving me perspective and the secure feeling that some bonds can withstand distance and time apart. That if I really needed someone to fly out and be with me, she would put that shit on a credit card and do it, no hesitation. I am thankful for the friends who are vulnerable and honest with me, allowing me to be the same way with them.
I am thankful that Fiona has discovered drawing, and that she loves it, becomes immersed in it, and is genuinely good at it. It is a joy to see her at work, unable to tear herself away from her latest rendering of Jack making a getaway atop a fire engine, or herself catching flying smiley faces with a butterfly net. But really, it’s all about the expression of emotions in people for her. In this, she’s better than I am, and I went to an art college.
I am thankful for Jack’s preciousness, his impishness, his utter kiss-ability.
I am thankful to be fairly comfortable in my own skin, to not be obsessed with improving my physical appearance somehow, to be okay with eating whatever I feel like, without going down a shame spiral, trusting that it will all balance out in the end if I listen to my body every once in a while. I am flawed, and I don’t really care that much anymore. Beauty comes from within, truly.
I am thankful for Spotify. I mean, really, really thankful.
I am thankful for all the things that make my life normal, and un-tragic, and safe.
I am thankful that I have safety nets, near and far, in family, friends, and God if any of the above things change.
I am thankful for the fact that my daughter wants to say a prayer before dinner every night now, when it was never a tradition we had enforced before. I am thankful that we now have a real kitchen table we can have family dinner at, and we manage to do it around five times a week.
I am thankful that God made people so interesting and the world so beautiful.
Happy Thanksgiving 2012.
(And thank you for reading.)