A couple of weeks ago the girls came home from preschool with strips of construction paper that we were all supposed to write things we were thankful for on, so the teachers could make them into a big “chain of thankfulness” to hang in their classroom.
It was a cute idea, but it felt a little like a trap: we (the parents) had to write that we were thankful for our kids / our health / our home / having enough to eat / our kids’ teachers / etc. Otherwise we’d look like assholes — which is not what you want to look like to your kids’ preschool teachers. (Of course, the kids get to write whatever the heck they want, because no matter what they say it’s just sooooooo cute. Pbbbt.)
Of course, I am incredibly grateful for family, home, health, prosperity etc. But given an interesting medium — an installment if you will — like a construction paper chain link, you know, I kind of wanted to do something more interesting.
I didn’t though. I went with health.
So, instead of re-hashing the usual gratitude platitudes here, I give you (as I did last year) a less conventional list of other things I’m thankful for. (And one thing I’m most definitely not.)
1. The Best 30 Minute Recipes (from the editors of Cook’s Illustrated). This is not a paid endorsement. I swear to God, we eat recipes from this cookbook for dinner at least twice a week. You can read my rhapsodic five-star review of it on Amazon, but in brief: a huge number of delicious recipes, all do-able within 30-45 minutes. Buy it. You will not regret it.
2. Joey Lawrence. Because Alastair and I quote his signature “whoah” on a regular basis (even though we can count on one hand the number of times either of us actually ever watched Blossom) and it brings us great, stupid, inexplicable joy.
3. The daughter of the woman across the street from us. Because she has twin daughters two years older than ours, and periodically brings us bags of their clothes. Nice clothes. Like, way nicer and more expensive than anything I’d buy for the girls. For free!
Her girls dress identically, and our girls don’t. But it’s not a bad thing to have two versions of every piece of clothing. For example it makes it possible for Elsa — whose clothes attract yogurt, magic marker and dirt with electromagnetic levels of force — to wear her favorite dress (which I think may be from Lord & Taylor) twice in one week.
4. Occupy Wall Street. Excuse me while I get a little political on y’all, but I am totally behind this movement. I think it’s messed up that 1% of the population controls 43% of the wealth in the U.S., (source) that taxes on the top bracket of taxpayers are are the lowest they’ve been since 1925 (source), and that our schools and infrastructure are crumbling while the people at the helm of big business live large. Believe me, I’m all for capitalism, but not totally unchecked, unregulated capitalism. Perhaps even more important, I think that corporations (or “people” if you prefer) have waaaay too much sway over our government.
So I love that people are standing up (or sitting down) and saying it’s wrong, and I’m grateful for the sacrifices they’re making to do it. Are their demands a bit on the vague side? Sure. But it’s a social movement, not a strike. It’s a wake-up call. And people are talking about it, which is the point.
5. Dunkin Donuts Coffee. ‘Nuf said.
And here’s one thing I’m NOT thankful for:
Christmas Encroachment (onto November)! I love Christmas. But for precisely that reason, I hate that it’s gradually expanding into Thanksgiving. Let’s keep it special, people! Exercise a little willpower! (I’m talking to you, people around the corner from us who put up their lights two weeks ago; and you, Starbucks, playing the Christmas music and shilling eggnog lattes starting two weeks ago; and you, the people who apparently told the folks at Oldies 103.3 that they should start playing holiday music two weeks ago. Bah!)
Christmas creep also makes me sad because Thanksgiving is an awesome holiday. It’s about food and togetherness and gratitude. (When else does Joey Lawrence get a shout-out?!) No presents, no commercialism, no pressure. But it’s becoming the holiday equivalent of Jan Brady, forgotten between the Cindy that is Halloween and the Marcia of Christmas. And that’s a tragedy.
Can we wait until at least the Monday after Thanksgiving (or dare I propose December 1?) to start getting all Yuletide, people?
On that note — have a very happy Thanksgiving!
We’ll (well, I’ll) be back after the long weekend with the one and only Cheryl Lage, author of Twinspiration. Woot woot!