It's that time of year. Again. So many activities and emotions swirling around us that we don't need snow or airport misadventures to make us crazy. We can make ourselves crazy simply by being ourselves! With global implications to every decision we make -- two small turkeys or one large? roasted sweet potatoes or sweet potato pie? one cranberry dressing or two? running in the rain or is it too cold? have the kids take the train home or should we pick them up? -- it's easy to get lost in Martha Stewart's Entertaining Minutiae and Top 10 Must Get Presents, and forget the many good fortunes we have surrounding us.
Here's my list of what I'm thankful for this year (in no particular order, obviously):
1. J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter. Seriously! We saw the latest installment of the HP movies the other night and despite having to stand in the longest line I've ever stood in (except for when we went to see "No Way Out" with Kevin Costner in NYC in the mid-80s and stood in line around a city block to see the movie debut at the Ziegfield Theater; sad but true....), I thought we were incredibly lucky to be a part of the whole HP phenomenon, as it has unfolded through the years. I love the story, the characters, the fantasy and the drama, and am thankful to be a fan while it's happening instead of being told about it sometime in the future.
2. Swimming, Rowing, and Running. Three sports all my children have been involved with in some way that are Total non-contact sports. There have been four high school football players in the past year, just in the MA/NH area that I know of, who have been paralyzed while playing or practicing football. It's just unacceptable to me that kids are involved in a sport with such tremendous risk of permanent disability. I'm extremely thankful my kids didn't/don't play football.
3. My Family. We're crazy. Obviously. I used to think we were normal, but I've given that up. I'm not sure how we do it, honestly, but somehow we manage to get through the craziness, year after year, and still enjoy being together. Probably every family is like this to a certain extent, which is what I tell myself when I'm opening the second bottle of wine .... And by "My Family," I also mean my friends who are like family to me -- equally crazy in their own ways -- and essential to my life in so many ways.
4. The Internet. I Love It! Better than TV, better than Champagne, better than Jewelry, better than Almost Anything! Can't imagine what we'd do without it. And lately, I'm loving the Google Chrome Browser.
5. Sex. I Love It! Better than TV, better than Champagne, better than Jewelry, and Almost better than the Internet! (Only kidding; Sex is Way better than the internet .... Usually ..... LOL! Only Kidding!!!!) Can't imagine what we'd do without it.
6. My Legs. Not because they're good looking. They're really nothing special to look at. And, they're kind of short and boringly straight. But, I Truly love them and appreciate them because They Exist, and because They Work! I don't take them for granted as I get older, and as I see countless soldiers, high school football players, and others (bride-to-be pushed in the pool by her best friend at her bachelorette party? are you kidding me?) in wheelchairs, I'm Incredibly thankful for just being able to walk up and down stairs instead of taking the elevator or handicap access. I don't think I'll give up running until I absolutely can't run any more .... or until I'm forced to get a hip/knee/ankle replacement, whichever comes first.
7. Our House. Okay, so it's not a mansion by a lake or the ocean. It doesn't have its own carriage house for guests, or a separate wing for The Help or The Children,or a pool house with a cabana boy. It lacks any real Garden, and is in a City with No reputation for good schools. What it Does have is a Garage (which our first house didn't have), and a Backyard where my dogs can run without my having to walk them. There are plenty of bathrooms and closets to keep everyone happy, and the kitchen is where we all gather on weeknights and holiday nights. Sounds boring, and it is. But in just the right way for me.
8. My Great-Niece Emma. She's Tremendous! And her parents, my nephew Denis and his wife Sara, are shockingly normal and low key (or else they're putting on a really good act) for new parents of this generation. Makes me feel really good, and proud and excited, about the future of our kids and our family.
So that's my list for this year. A very humble list, admittedly. There are probably a lot of things I left out, including tearful allusions and remembrances. But, I'm doing my Very Best to be Joyful this holiday season, trying not to miss all the essential people who are no longer here in our lives. It isn't easy. But, it Is possible to look anew at the people and things that surround you, and in your appreciation fill the void left by those no longer physically here. And, if it gets too difficult, then Get Running and you'll at least be thankful for those great legs you have!