Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love the simplicity: getting together with family, a big delicious meal, maybe a football game on TV, and the fact that there seems to be no way of "commercializing" the day or otherwise screwing it up.
I also love the "thanking" part of Thanksgiving. It's good. I'm not a religious person, so I don't thank God (sorry Mom, sorry Ronelle), but I've always been a big appreciator. I'm well aware of all the many ways I've been lucky from right out of the gate in this life, and I'm also grateful for my many, many specific blessings.
It's funny though. Even as an appreciator who has happily recited all the things I'm thankful for every year, and meant it, I think it's true that you don't truly appreciate your good fortune until you have some bad. At least that's true in my case.
Last year we had a really nice Thanksgiving dinner at Mich's house down the street. I think I was too out of it, honestly, to fully take everything in, let alone appreciate it.
But I'm doing better now, and so before we jump into Michelle's cool new car to head down to Eugene, I want to pause a minute for a quick, partial Thanksgiving list.
- I'm thankful for this blog. A funny place to start, maybe, but it has brought together a wonderful group of people and kept us in almost constant contact, including some like my awesome cousin Ronelle whom I had fallen out of touch with and some I wouldn't really know otherwise (Hi Janice!). Plus it's fun and interesting and makes me laugh.
- I'm thankful that I'm here. Hyper-dramatic, maybe, but the farther I get from last year's "inciting incident" the more I realize what a close call the whole brain cancer deal was. You never know in this life, is what I always say. Another year in the books is a good year.
- I'm thankful for my wonderful kids, Gina and Franny. Thankful, first, that they're healthy and seem reasonably happy (exceptionally happy, probably, for 14- and 13-year-old girls). And also that after a difficult few years that included a divorce and living in different states, they appear to have adjusted pretty well and even don't mind spending time at Casa M&M. Franny has a huge heart and is full of love. Gina, god bless her, laughs at my jokes.
- Speaking of which, I'm thankful for their mother, my excellent ex-wife, Greta. She's a good mom, for one thing, and she's been incredibly warm and generous to me in this past year, offering to adjust our financial and visitation arrangements in ways that have made things much easier for me. She has a well of forgiveness rare in former spouses, from what I hear.
- I'm thankful for the rest of my immediate and extended family. Mom and Michele especially have managed to mask their worry about my health and somehow been there with whatever I need, while at the same time knowing when to back off and give me some room. They know me. Freda is a terrific almost-mother-in-law.
- I'm thankful for my friends, here in Seattle and scattered around the Google Map of M&M-ville. Kaye and Val are way cool friends, both cyber- and real-life.
- I'm thankful for our little house. It's kind of funky and it's a giant mess -- has anybody seen my camera battery charger? -- but it's ours and it's cool and it keeps the rain off our heads.
- I'm thankful, lastly and mostly, for Michelle, the world's awesomest girlfriend and partner. Even setting aside all the incalculable ways she has gotten me through this year of awful health, she's the ideal match, the total package: loving, smart, funny, independent, tough, challenging, pretty and fun. Plus she's not a bad poker player. And Facebook says we're movie soul mates. I love her.