Spending Thanksgiving morning in the ER really makes you think about what you should be thankful for.
It’s been a tough year. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had my own cancer scares. I found out I couldn’t (likely) have any more children. I got an ulcer and had to stop drinking Diet Coke. (Yes, I know, it’s a good thing, but not when you love it as much as I do.)
I look back on this year and remember when I had such lofty goals in January. I would surf more, work less, maybe finally lose that baby weight! But that hasn’t really happened. I watched more reality TV than surfed. I took on a second job. And I’m about ready to give the baby weight a name.
There’s a lot not to be thankful for right now. California wildfires, climate change, the fact that some people have access to Twitter and really shouldn’t.
And I have to admit, lately I’ve wanted more than I already have, feeling unaccomplished or lost or worried that I’m missing out.
It may be cliche to think about what we’re thankful for on, of all holidays, Thanksgiving. It may even seem forced, having to tell a room full of family and friends what you’re grateful for this year. You start rattling off the obvious answers: good health, family, friends, jobs, extended credit limits before Black Friday. And yes, these are all things we should be grateful for — if you have them. But what if you don’t? Or what if these things aren’t in the best condition right now? What if you haven’t talked to your sister in decades or you hate your job? What if you don’t have your mom this year? What if you’re suffering from something — arthritis, lupus, cancer, a broken heart? What then?
It’s always the hardest to search for something to be grateful for while you’re searching for something else. An answer, a sign, a prayer, a glimmer of hope or light in the darkness. But that’s precisely when we need it most.
As I sat in the ER yesterday, there because my 2-year-old hasn’t stopped coughing for weeks and it had gotten particularly bad that morning, I was stressed and frustrated and worried — not thankful. My heart was racing. I had so much to do back home! I had food to cook, a house to clean, dogs to walk. I didn’t have time for this!
But I looked at my son, his throat strained from coughing all night and his runny nose red and raw from rubbing, sitting so nicely on the hospital bed, coloring in his drawing book and singing a song about peanut butter. This kid had every reason to cry and scream and complain — and he didn’t.
I may not have lost those lingering eight pounds or published a novel or saved enough money to upgrade from my iPhone 6s. But it felt good to think about what I have done, what I do have — and be grateful for that.
Sometimes it’s an accomplishment just getting out of bed on days when I’d rather sleep in.
My kid is healthy and adorable. My dogs are happy and content. My friends are awesome. I love my little family. I can walk to work. I live in a place where I can surf or hike before heading to the office. I have giant picture windows in the living room that open to a blue sky. I can still fit my pre-pregnancy clothes. (Good thing I like stretch fabric.) My gym membership is just $40 a year. (I got in early.) I have a new and bigger fridge. (That’s huge!) My car, phone, Internet, cable and microwave all work. For now, anyway.
So what, exactly, am I thankful for this year?
That there’s so much to be thankful for, now and always.
Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! Can you believe it’s almost Christmas? GAH!