Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Good List (Babble)

There are lots of different reasons why I write the blog posts I do.  Sometimes I want input.  Sometimes I want to share news.  There are concepts that bump around my brain and writing them down helps me get better clarity on them.  Often when I write about my kids it’s purely to document something for myself so I don’t forget.  When Ian was deployed many posts were to keep him up to speed with how things were going here at home.  Now that he’s back, it’s more to help faraway friends and family to check in.  I’ve made new friends through this blog.  I’ve developed better writing habits.  I’ve made interesting connections.  I love writing this blog.

Today’s post is purely selfish.  As we reflect at this time of year about what we are thankful for, I realize I have more to be thankful for than in any other time in my life.  I just want to take a moment to jot down what many of those things are so that during the silly self-pitying moments that will inevitably creep into my life in the future I will have a place to refer to and remind myself to get some perspective.  So here is my list of things I am thankful for:

My health.  Health is always one of those things generally healthy people use as a last resort when trying to muster gratitude, but honestly?  Everything hinges on it.  And I have had numerous reminders lately from my dad’s struggles with cancer to simply a friend with pink eye to not remember to appreciate my health.  Because I am healthy I feel limitless.

The health of my kids and husband.

Aden’s kindness.

Mona’s creativity.

Quinn’s curiosity and interest in learning.
My husband is home.  In one piece.  When I was swimming this morning I was listening to some old podcasts of Fresh Air and wound up hearing their Veteran’s Day program.  I’d listened to it when it aired and was not in the mood to hear it again, but sometimes the buttons on my waterproof ipod freeze up in odd ways and I couldn’t change any settings.  So as I went back and forth in the pool at the Y I listened to the whole show again about soldiers injured by IEDs and the effects of brain injuries and PTSD and the number of suicides vets commit every day and the number of ways our country lets its soldiers down when they return home.  Those kinds of stories still affect me deeply, but don’t hit me with the stark sensation of abject terror that they did while Ian was in Iraq both times.  My soldier is home.  I wish every family with a soldier could say the same this Thanksgiving.

I love our house and still can’t believe we get to live in it.  There is nothing like waking up every day in the right space.  And we just had a roof put over our front porch, so a nice place just got even nicer.

Our business is doing fine.  I’m proud of us that during tough economic times our small business can provide for our family, and that we can even afford a couple of part time employees.

I’m fortunate that the number of customers I’ve dealt with that have caused me distress or disappointment I can count on one hand.  The vast majority of people who walk into my store give me faith in the kindness and creativity in my community, from small children excited to start violin to their parents who are excited for them, to symphony players who dedicate their lives to beauty, to fiddle players who light up when they find the right bow….  It’s hard not to feel good about people in general when you meet them in a violin store.

I’m thankful that I still have both my parents.

I miss my grandma, but I’m glad we were able to keep her cottage in the family.  We’ll be making her recipe for orange jello for Thanksgiving.  I have her jello mold and the glass serving dish for it.  Normally it’s a Christmas thing, but my kids love it as much as my brothers and I did when we were little, so better to err on the side of more orange jello.  Grandma would approve.  I was lucky to have had a grandma like that even though it hurts now that she’s gone.

I’m thankful for music.  All music.  Some well meaning Christian ladies came into my violin store a few weeks back to give me some tracts about God and music, saying something about how awful certain kinds of music could be like that ‘heavy metal’ stuff, thinking they were on safe ground with such statements in a cozy shop that caters to classically trained musicians.  I smiled and said, “Oh, but I love heavy metal.  I think all music is sacred.”  They looked so confused and stricken, but I loved the hours I spent in college learning Fade to Black on my guitar.
(Quinn’s drawing of a radio playing music.)

I’m thankful for our new dog.

And that my husband still thinks I’m pretty and fun to talk to.

And that my kids still want my company.

I’m thankful for decent woodworking tools and having a room of my own in the house just for building violins.

I’m thankful for my hands.

I like the school my kids go to.  I like all of their teachers and am so impressed with the patience they show toward the kids.  It bothers me that people don’t value education in a community enough that our school had to cut both art and gym, but I’m still thankful that Montessori is an option in our public school system even with budget cuts.

I’m thankful for flashlights and Rubik’s cubes and for living within about two miles of nearly everything we need.

I’m thankful for having the two best brothers in the world and for the people they’ve brought into our family.

I’m thankful for every day that I get to do things that interest me, and be with the people I love most.

I’m thankful for being alive at this particular moment and place in the world.  I get tired of the gloom and doom and people who pine for some magical yesteryear that was not the sparkling land of perfection and innocence they imagine it to have been.  There is still a lot to work toward and improve, but I will take modern dentistry and the internet and my right to equal treatment under the law over anything you want to offer me from the past.  I still believe these are the good old days.

I am fed.

I am warm.

I have friends I can count on.

I’m thankful that my problems right now really don’t qualify as problems.

And I’m thankful for my readers!  You are the final step that turns what I write into something meaningful.  Thank you for that.  And I hope all of you have as much to be thankful for this season.  I wish you the best.
(I asked Quinn once this summer what he wanted to learn to write, and he said, “Everything!”  So I wrote down everything.  And I guess that sums up what I’m thankful for.)

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