At the beginning of November, I planned to take part in the trend of writing what I was thankful for each day for the entire month. I knew I would have to write my own version of that ritual. I only made it six days:
Friday November 1: I am thankful that I did not run over the lady wearing all black walking on the side of the road as I was trying to get my kids to school. That would have made me feel like a real asshole.
Saturday November 2: I am thankful that I did not end up cleaning out my daughter’s closet, even though it was the first thing on my to-do list. When I pulled back the sliding doors, I burst into tears and chose to go lie down in my bed and sob. That was a much better way to spend the afternoon.
Sunday November 3: I am thankful that 6:30 is the new 7:30.
Monday November 4: I am thankful that my doctor’s office did not call today to say that my results are in and I have diabetes. That would suck.
Tuesday November 5: I am thankful that I drove the entire way to work today without crying.
Wednesday November 6: I am thankful that I made the decision a decade ago to never wear panty hose again.
By Thursday I decided to reevaluate my writing plan . . . and my life.
Then before the Thanksgiving break, I gave my students a writing assignment asking them to make a list of the little things in their lives that make them thankful. They add up. I wrote with them:
A real attitude of gratitude . . .
I am thankful for doughnuts. They always show up when you need them most.
I am thankful for peaceful lunches at my desk. Eating alone does not usually make the list of great life events, but I relish those moments sitting at my computer, searching the internet, writing, and devouring a giant salad.
I am thankful for sleep. My son calls bedtime his worst enemy. I battle staying awake.
I am thankful for long walks. Sometimes I don’t want to stop walking. I will walk past my house in circles, dreading going back to reality.
I am thankful for happy hour. The only solution for anything that can’t be solved on a walk.
I am thankful for my sisters. It is helpful during a crisis to get 48 new text messages while I am at the gym. Maybe I do matter.
I am thankful for coffee. It is why I get up in the morning. Some days I wake up and question why I should even bother and then I remember coffee.
I am thankful for time spent driving in my car. I get to sit down and listen to music. My kids, by law, must be strapped into their seats.
I am thankful for the delete key. Sometimes the only solution is to keep moving the cursor backwards until I am at the top of an empty page.
I am thankful for my students. Without them I wouldn’t have a job. They keep me grounded and remind me about what is important (usually not great literature, in case anyone is wondering).
I am thankful for Louis CK. Maybe divorce is hilarious. And hard as hell. At the same time.
I am thankful for a long rainy drive in Thanksgiving traffic. I survived. Now, I can appreciate the ease of navigating through the sunshine.
I am thankful for the time I get to spend reading to my kids before bed. I am also thankful for the time after my kids have been put to bed.
I am thankful for phone calls. Talking, listening, connecting.
I am thankful for writing. When I write, I am in control. I make the rules. I create myself. I cannot be erased.