Today’s Challenge Is…

to write a blog post that does not contain the following words: Trump, Hillary, Liberal, Progressive, Racist, Fascist or diet. Leggo. (As in “let’s go”. This is not about waffles. Sorry, I’m still low carbing.) 

Thanksgiving is nearly upon us and I, for one, am making lists and perusing recipes. There may be a change up in this year’s green bean iteration. I am ditching the cream of something soup for a whole food, natural, organic, fancy dancy version from Bon Appetit that no one will probably like. But they will be thankful for it, or else. And that’s what this is really about; being thankful. 

It is common and a bit trite to post, blog, or tweet about gratitude for the entire month of November, and that is why I like it. You see, I am decidedly common and not above trite. These are a few of my gratefulist things (my apologies, Rodgers and Hammerstein)…                

                   (Did you ever notice how much Julie and I look alike when singing to our adorable children? It’s striking, right?)

  • When the dog bites. Sometimes life really bites. It gets you in the heart, in the leg and sometimes right in the ass. Illness, loss, financial woes, and uncertainty touch us all at one time or another. And when it does, I am grateful for the unwavering support and love of my family. From my parents and sisters, my nuclear family (that does occasionally go NUCLEAR, but that makes it all the better when we are in a state of fusion rather than fission), to the extended clan, I am always stunned by the generosity and support of these people. Long ago I compared family to a rubber band. We are bound together loosely sometimes, tightly others, with a bond that stretches but never breaks. Though one of my sisters lives far away, she is still bound to us. Our cousins, aunts and uncles are flung about Connecticut and the rest of the country, but they are really never far. Sometimes, they are no further than an inebriated FaceTime session (I’m looking at you, Pete and Dee. And Zak and Briana. And Chris and Mauro.) And when things are truly bad, they seem to be right there in our arms. And my kids. Oh, my. My kids. They make me laugh (a lot), they make me hopeful, they bring out the best in my heart and I can’t believe how lucky we got to be entrusted with these two glorious human beings. I am grateful for the gift of family.
  • When the bee stings. Ouch. Stinging comments, zingers, jealousy and insecurity sometimes rule my day. But my friends, both those long held dear and the ones who have newly taken up residence in my heart, always put me back together. Out of the blue texts from my St. Mary’s girls ensure that I never feel alone. Spending time with our college friends, who have shared our bad times and rejoiced in our good times, is the sweetest reward for years invested in mutual support and unconditional friendship. Who else can you say three words to, and you are all reveling in the same shared memory and laughter? There are the folks with whom we have raised our kids and shared adventures. Experiencing a second generation of friendship with their kids is an unexpected joy that makes us feel young, until we collapse at 10PM and are reminded that we are not. And the Queen City has brought new women into my life who have made me laugh, challenged me, helped me to grow, and extended their kindness and generosity. I am grateful for the gift of friendship.
  • When I’m feeling sad. There is one person who is always able to detect the tears that go along with the smile. None of what I have, who I am, or what I do is possible without my husband. He is the only one who really knows what is in my heart, and he usually knows it before I do. Every day since March of 1989, this man has put me and my needs first. He has defied cultural expectations, embraced my family, loved me through thick and thin (I am not just referring to the dreaded “d word” here, but that, too), taught me to be kinder and more generous (I tell him almost daily that he is a lot nicer than I), and has supported me in every way. When I wanted to stay home with the kids, he found a way to pay the bills and never made me feel guilty. He is a mathematical wizard because we never went without, but I suspect he went without some sleep over the years. When I wanted to teach, he helped with the laundry and groceries on the weekend and bore up under my stressed out unreasonableness. He has never, not once, complained about a meal that I have made him, not even the sandy spinach incident of 2016. Through more surgeries than you can count (I was on a real streak of seven in seven years a while back), he has held my hand and held down the fort. I am grateful for the gift of a good marriage, but especially for him. Really, the guy deserves a medal. 

So aside from green beans and turkey, what else will be on my plate? A heaping helping of thanks. I hope your dish tastes as good as mine. (There will also be butternut squash rolls with so much butter and a little bit of a piece of pie (maybe a lot of a bit) because there are no carbohydrates on Thanksgiving because the pilgrims said so. Look it up. It’s a fact.)

One thought on “Today’s Challenge Is…

  1. As always, beautifully written!! I especially love “when the dog bites” section as it describes our family to a “T”! Wishing you and your entire extended family a very happy Thanksgiving and a wonderfully blessed Christmas season. Sending my love!!


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