Happy Thanksgiving 2011: Grateful, Despite Myself
It's been a hard Thanksgiving for me, but I think it's more attitude and expectations than actual comparative experience. This year, I have so many reasons to be grateful, from somewhat easier behavior from my oldest boy to an adorable turn my youngest has taken -- to regularly (several times a day starting the minute we wake up) tell his brothers that they're awesome, and tell me I'm pretty. "Guess what Truman? You're awesome!" -- I can't think of any better way to start a day, from any of our perspectives.
I, somewhat impulsively, cooked a large turkey today even though it was just going to be my and my three little boys; our large family Thanksgiving was last weekend, and my husband's overseas (where he got turkey dinner -- and jet skis! -- at a Kuwaiti beach resort). Due in large part to my impulsiveness and in equal parts to my odd mix of overachieverism and procrastination, the dinner wasn't really complete until almost 9; there was no starvation here, but also no lovely picturesque traditions. We did not talk about pilgrims and native peoples. We did not dress up and take family photos. We did not say what we are grateful for. I will have leftovers (this, well, this is good).
By 7 p.m. I felt mournful. By 10 p.m. I felt more like a failure. But every time I went back to look at my life and the state of my kitchen -- yes, a bit messy, but so much bounty! -- I knew that my attitude was wrong and this situation deserves a better perspective. I could sit down and force myself, grudgingly, to be grateful -- or I could wallow in my imperfect self and lack of all the things I was favoriting on Instagram. Even when reluctant, gratitude is better.
I'm grateful for the most incredible turkey recipe I found in my neatly-organized-this-summer Saveur magazine collection; for an unusually awesome collection of babysitters who really love my kids; for having really found myself in writing over the past year-and-a-half; for people who say they appreciate me; for a husband who has a job he loves, even if it takes him far away; for being blessed with children who are both beautiful and smart and who, despite everything, love me and tell me so.
And I'm incredibly grateful for you all, and especially the other mamas who founded the site. How lucky are we, really? To live here, in this great city, or to have lived here, even. It may be insane and hilarious but it's something else, isn't it? Portlandia, the great and the strange. Every day full of story.
What are you grateful for this year? Do you have to convince yourself to be grateful, or is it coming easily?