Give Thanks

Thanksgiving is complicated; I don’t know that we, as Americans, celebrate any unproblematic holidays, given the mottled history of the country, but I also think that having a day devoted to reflection, gratitude, giving, and family (found or biological, both are valid) is important. We generally keep our celebration focused on those personal aspects — expressing gratitude, reflecting on our privelleges, and hopefully considering what we can do to help those who are not as fortunate as us — while acknowledging the complex and problematic origins of the holiday.

None of that I guess is especially relevant to the meat of this entry, but I guess as a personal blogger, I just kinda wanted to get my personal feelings on the holiday out in the open. Do with that as you wish! And if you have any good recommendations for books targeted towards 5 – 8 year olds that delve into the complex truth of the holiday, could y’all end them to me?

Anyway, because of the surge in COVID numbers and the corresponding surge in my own ambient anxiety, today was spent at home, getting some chores done (like, an hour and half of the three of us just tearing into Bear’s train wreck of a room), Zoom/Meet hopping, and taking phonecalls — between it all, we got to talk to/see my father-in-law and his wife, my brother-in-law, my sibling-in-law, my mom, my dad, my brother, and Kira’s mom. In the midst of it all, I decided, rather spur of the moment, that I was, in fact, going to cook a pseudo-Thanksgiving dinner, despite there being, in practicality, only two of us (Bear eats… very little, both in terms of breadth and volume. Whatever I made, he likes wasn’t going to eat it).

So I foraged around, and managed to scrounge up two ham steaks, maple-butter sweet potatos, steamed baby carrots, potatos au gratin, and mac and cheese. While things were cooking, I happened upon a jar of Dole cling peaches in juice, and a couple of Pillsbury pie crusts, so I made a peach and vanilla tart for dessert. Nothing was groundbreaking, but everything turned out well, and we ended the day well-fed.

How many families didn’t? I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately; how in my daily life I bitch and moan about work stress, but I still have the luxury of not only having a job, but having a job that granted me the flexibility to work from home, and on top of that, a job I enjoy. How I’ve been able to keep my job, my income, my home during this pandemic. How my quality of life, financially at least, has stayed the same. How we were able to keep our insurance, and how, while our insurance has not always covered everything, it has covered life-altering HRT for Kira and the consultations and bloodwork I needed for my diabetes scare.

I have so, so much to be grateful for, in spite of the pandemic.

My family, and friends; the chance to work on growing as an artist; a steady job and supportive coworkers; a livable wage; a home with functional heat, water, and electricity; clothes that fit; a spending budget; a wife and son who love me.

And even more things that the pandemic has taken away, or put on hold; how much will my appreciation deepen for those things now that I’ve lived life without them? How amazing will that first dinner at the winery be, post-COVID? How absolutely refreshing the smell of the ocean? How exciting the dimming lights before the curtains rising at the Opera House? How validating the first win when we have our Game Nights back? Hell, how ridiculously Zen the simple act of browsing the aisles at Target while sipping Starbucks?? And how fucking drunk am I going to get barhopping with my sister when this is all over??

Seriously. I have so much to be thankful for, and so much to look forward to.

I hope today was a relaxing day for you, however you celebrate, or whether you celebrate or not.

Stay safe and sane.

I also keep a gratitude journal, often for more mundane experiences or things, on Tumblr: @plum-blossoms. If you also keep a gratitude journal, I would be happy to follow or be followed by you.

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