Me: You tell me what you’re thankful for this year, and I’ll write it down, and then I’ll post it, and everyone will read it and think it’s adorable and write comments about how I’m the best dad ever to raise such a wonderful child.
Her: That sounds like it’ll be boring.
Me: It won’t be boring. It’ll be poignant and sweet.
Her: I don’t think so.
Me: No, this’ll be great. Just think for a second about what you’re thankful for this year. Just be honest. But be creative. And charming.
Her: I can’t think of anything.
Me: What do you mean? You’re not thankful for anything? I believe I raised you better than that.
Her: Of course I’m thankful for things. I’m thankful for a ton of things, but it’s all boring stuff. No one would want to read about that.
Me: What do you mean, “boring?” What boring things are you thankful for?
Her: You know. I’m thankful for you, and Mommy, and Amma and Backa and Oma and Opa and Aunt Kris and Uncle Sam and Kate and Alexander and Cammy and Molly and Elina and food and iCarly and the Hunger Games and my bed and the Wii and electricity and maple cookies and Indiana Jones and our car. Boring.
Me: (Pause) That’s not boring at all. Maybe we can just punch it up a little. You know, make it more quirky. Readers love quirky children.
Her: This is child exploitation.
Me: First of all, how do you know that term, and second, it’s only exploitation if your name is Honey Boo Boo and I make a ton of money off you.
Her: Why don’t you just write your own list?
Me: Because I’m not a cute 11-year-old with an impressive vocabulary and precociousness coming out her ears. Could you just cooperate with me this one time?
Her: (Huge sigh) Fine.
Me: Great. Ok. Remember, we’re going for Humorously Heartfelt here.
Her: Ok, ok.
Me: Just tell me about what you’re extra super thankful for more than anything else.
Her: I’m thankful for my family more than anything else.
Me: Good, that’s good. Your grandparents will be glad to hear that. Now talk about why.
Her: But that’s boring!
Her: Everybody’s thankful for their family, right? It’s, like, automatic for everyone.
Me: Hmm. I’d like to think so. I don’t know, though. Not everyone has a family to automatically love.
Her: Like orphans?
Me: Right. Or people who don’t have loved one nearby for some reason or another.
Her: Like castaways?
Her: Well, I’m definitely thankful I’m not an orphan or a castaway.
Me: See? Now we’re getting somewhere. Tell me about how you that your family is important to you.
Her: Because if zombies came and took over the world, I’d save my family first.
Me: I think that’s a great barometer for thankfulness. What if the zombies came, and they were banging down the front door, and you had to choose between saving your family, or saving the Wii? Which would you choose?
Her: Daddy, that’s THE lamest question in the universe.
Me: I’m just asking. It’s hypothetical.
(Pause. Her brow furrows as a new thought seems to occur to her.)
Her: Even though we’re not eating together for Thanksgiving this year, I’m still thankful for you.
Me: I know you are. I’m thankful for you too, Doofus.
Her: You’re the doofus. Don’t write any of this down.
Me: I won’t.