Being Thankful

I’ve seen lots of friends posting their days of thankfulness or gratitude on Facebook lately and many of them get me smiling. Facebook sometimes seems flooded with negativity and those bright spots do make it a better place.

One reader is a teacher who shares the occasional random thought from one of her anonymous teenaged male students. What harnesses the mind of a teenaged boy is oftentimes hilarious. But she’s also grateful for her kids, and not just the ones she corrals at home. It’s hard to be a teacher in our culture and the fact that she actively searches for something to smile about makes me thankful.

Another reader comes from a totally different culture from me. We live in the same state but the part of the state she’s from might as well be another country. She’s liberal, I’m conservative. She’s a little woo-woo but she’s okay with the fact that I’m not, but since I kinda get where she’s coming from, doesn’t that make me a little woo-woo, too? I don’t know but I’m okay with her articles about auras and Mother Earth.

A friend of mine is perpetually angry on Facebook. A lot of what she’s angry about is justifiable, and sometimes I get the feeling that she’s right in a lot of what she’s angry about. Yeah, I could unfollow her, but there’s always a silver lining to being her friend because she also genuinely cares for others, so I’m thankful for her.

Then there’s that reader who recently lost a loved one, and if there was any way I could do it, I’d fly to her just to give her a hug. She’s dealing with that pain and the resulting depression the best way she can, and keeps positive, and for that I respect her even more. She faces her pain regularly and doesn’t dump on people in the process. No, instead, she edifies others, lifting them up and making them the focus. That is a gift.

I’ve also been watching several author friends participating in NaNoWriMo this month. For the uninitiated, that stands for National Novel Writing Month, and the goal is for writers to pen 50,000 words in the thirty days of November each year.  Time is wearing thin in November and some have kept pushing while others have thrown up their hands. To me, it almost seems unfair to do this in a holiday month when there are so many distractions, but it’s also a time when aspiring authors learn if they have what it takes to write that many words in a month. It gives them a taste for striving with a deadline, but it’s only a drop in the bucket for what’s required to have staying power in this industry. Despite the struggles, I love what I do for a living, and respect the fact that they at least try. And no, is not as easy as it looks, is it?

In this month alone, I’ve watched authors behaving badly, and reviewers getting stalked, seen books being pirated and plagiarized by people who think that’s okay. So when I see authors acting classy, behaving well, having fun and making it look easy, I’m thankful. So very thankful.

We had plans set in place for Thanksgiving, but like all well made plans, they can change in a moment’s notice. This change in plans led to me being thankful. Thankful for my kids.

We parents raise them up, hoping they turn out responsible, self-disciplined, and others-oriented. We hope they don’t wind up being burdens on society.

I have two, and what I see most often are the squabbles, the chore-ignoring, and inconsiderate behavior they show toward each other, and sometimes toward their parents. They’re 12 and 15 and before I know it they’ll be out from under our roof.

My worries were given a moment’s peace yesterday when this change in Thanksgiving plans happened. I don’t want to give too much detail but it involves a pre-school great nephew who became unresponsive yesterday and was showing classic symptoms for stroke. We still haven’t heard what the issue is so I appreciate everyone’s prayers and healing thoughts.

This nephew has a younger sibling and his parents are expecting their third child early next year so the mom is pulled between being at the hospital, being needed by the younger child, heavily pregnant, and dealing with her own stress as well as her husband’s. Not a place where I’d want to send extra kids.

Since she already had her with her, my sister-in-law asked if she could take our daughter with them out of town to help out. Juliet, as she is known online, is extraordinarily gifted in dealing with young children and her help was an asset to them. Our initial reaction was to not want to send more children into an already chaotic situation but they insisted she would be an asset.

Although I obviously am not thankful that my four year old great nephew is in the hospital with a potentially serious condition, I am thankful for the revelation that my daughter’s hands were needed, and also that she dropped her own plans for a relaxing holiday to help out where needed.

But there is another added blessing. It’s the burden of “Number Two” children, and those beyond, that they never really have a chance to enjoy having their parents all to themselves, especially on a holiday. As I write this, Brattley, as he is known online, is on his way home with his dad, and it looks like we are spending the holiday with just the three of us. He’s always made a point of speaking his gratitude for moments where it’s just him and us so I know it will be meaningful to him. And MAYBE it’ll give him a chance to miss his sister and appreciate her just a little. Asking too much? Let a mother have her delusions dreams, damn it. 😀

That’s my Thanksgiving blog post, in all it’s randomness and gratitude. I’m thankful for every one of you and hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving.