Giving Thanks for the Small Things
I’m not a huge fan of the whole Thanksgiving extravaganza. Part of that is the introvert thing – too many people in one place for too long, and it gets claustrophobic even when they’re my family or friends. Also, I grew up in Canada, and although stuffed turkeys and pecan pie made their way across the border (to be improved by a collision with maple syrup) we didn’t have all the mythological “first feast” traditions to go with it. Canadian Thanksgiving happens early in October (when the harvest might plausibly have just finished up there.) And it’s a quiet family day, for the most part.
But I’ve lived in the US for almost 30 years, so I can enjoy marshmallows on my sweet potatoes, and even accept that a portion of any group will suddenly go off to watch football. (One year, those of us more interested in the guys’ asses than the yardage gained went and watched recordings of Eddie Izzard instead. Gradually the football folks wandered in to see what we were laughing so hard about… and sat and watched too. For once, cross-dressing beat out football.)
The thing that I do like about Thanksgiving is the timely, if heavy-handed, reminder to count our blessings.This year, which has been tough, I’m trying to remember to count imperfect blessings.
I live in a family of flaming perfectionists. (And yes, I can claim some of that too.) One thing perfectionism does is to rob the enjoyment out of otherwise-good things, for very small reasons. I once had a child declare a wonderful 3-hour party a total meltdown-failure, because we didn’t have time for one of the eight planned games and crafts. Imperfect=failure. With much wailing and gnashing of teeth (or grumbling and tossing things about for adults.)
That’s an exhausting and depressing mindset. So this year, I’m trying to remember to be grateful for the good-enough stuff. Not just the one perfect time my younger kid and I went to a concert together and had a great time for hours, but all the times she’s had a positive word for me or a hug unexpectedly, even if it wasn’t the long chat I wanted. The meals my husband cooks for me, even if timing them isn’t always easy. The fact that they even MAKE tofurkey. (Because it doesn’t taste like real turkey but it’s ecological, humane, and not too damned bad with stuffing and gravy.)
This year could have been worse. We’re all still alive, despite some health and other issues, and that’s a blessing I wasn’t sure we’d manage. My arthritis may be flaring up, but all hail to the guys who invented ibuprofen, because it actually works for me. The dog is eleven, and getting a little whiny, but he still jumps like a crazy maniac if food is involved, and warms my days. If I wait for things to be perfect, my list of thanks would be short. But in fact, my life is full of imperfect moments of grace, and small, partial miracles.
My writing brings me some of those. I am very, very grateful for the warmth and generosity of so many people in the M/M community, who write wonderful books for me to read, share comments and discussion, read my stories, and encourage my writing. This community sometimes feels like the one sane place in a crazy world. A haven for me to come to, when I need it.
So Happy Thanksgiving to you all. May you have comfort and warmth, surrounded by good friends, good family, or good books. May your list of thanks be long, and humanly imperfect.