I almost forgot to be grateful today. I posted on Facebook for everyone to have a Happy Thanksgiving and give thanks- but I was not giving thanks myself. For a minute, I forgot that my life is not too bad. I have a roof over my head, a nice car, a good job, I’m relatively healthy, I have a healthy dog who loves me, (as long as I continue to provide food and shelter). I have a son who at-long-last seems to be thriving and doing something that he likes or maybe even loves.
Ah yes- the son. Ever since I was a little kid, I almost never let myself get excited about anything. Oh sure, I’ll say I’m excited but, I seldom really go there. Instead, I always wait for the disappointment that is sure to follow, if I dare get even a little excited about anything my childhood disappointments come rushing back like a needle in my eye and the nausea commences.
So, Wednesday afternoon- almost within seconds of dropping the turkey in the bucket of brine, Nick called to say his schedule changed and he had to work. I thought-wait- just last night you said you would be here! I got EXCITED! – I didn’t say that though. I tried to not lay a guilt trip on him, which doesn’t work anyway because he isn’t Catholic or Jewish. He is a what will be, will be, Buddhist. I instantly blamed the restaurant business, the worst business in the world... and then I remembered, it was the restaurant business that kept me alive most of my life. And Nick, is exactly the kind of employee I was. I was always the go-to girl. How can I be upset now?
I was careful on the phone but he knew I was disappointed. I said something stupid about him missing good food, which is stupid because he works at one of the best restaurants in San Francisco. Why do people go to Japanese restaurants on Thanksgiving anyway? It would never occur to me- even though I don’t really know of one Pilgrim restaurant, or even an American Indian restaurant. Why not Japanese?
I forgot, for just a minute about the troops eating Thanksgiving in Afghanistan, or for some not eating anything at all. I forgot to be thankful about my surrogate mom, Elsie, who by the grace of a Dr. defying her DNR last week is still with us and with the tender care of her daughter Renee, will be for years to come. I forgot to be thankful for little Sophie May and her warrior spirit, on the road to recovery, after cancer surgery and treatment. I forgot to be thankful that President Obama was reelected. (sorry to those of you that are not). I forgot to be thankful for our whole democracy. I forgot to be thankful for the cease-fire in the Gaza strip. I forgot to be thankful for my sisters, my brother, my stepdad & stepmother, my Uncle Richard and Al, my cousins, my numerous nieces and nephews, and great nieces and nephews.
I forgot to be thankful that I am a survivor. I forgot to be thankful that I found my passion and occasionally get to practice it. I forgot to be thankful that my son came home from the war and many mother’s sons did not. And not just my son, but the sons and daughters of many friends came home- safe and relatively sound. I forgot to be thankful that I’m not in the shoes of some other friends whose sons and daughters are still in harms way or still recovering from grievous injuries.
The list of things I was thankful for was much shorter than the list of things I forgot to be thankful for. My mom would have called that bass ackwards.
By the end of the day today, after I cooked a turkey that soaked in brine all night (thank you for the recipe Wanda), I made the best gravy I have ever made and a damn good stuffing. I made mashed potatoes and guess what I’ll be eating for quite a few days? I hope that Nick will get here before it’s all gone- but if not I’ll make him something good.
I really am thankful to still be in this world, this crazy world where people don’t get along because of religious differences, political differences, racial differences, cultural differences, gender differences, ad infinitum. I’m thankful I still have a few brain cells kicking around and that the people who love me- love me for me. (and my cookies.)
Happy Thanksgiving everyone- with gratitude.