Thursday, November 23, 2006

Things to be thankful for...

Well another Thanksgiving has come and gone and amazingly everyone in my family survived it. Perhaps we were all well behaved? I spent the day cooking a 6.36 lb turkey and some small side dishes as well as a punkin' pie. My butterball turkey came out a bit dry but DH thought it was the best ever (uh-huh, I know, WHY would I want to argue with him?). Long after we cleaned up and the pie was baked, I drove over to mom and dad's to see the rest of the family. I gotta get my mom a dishwasher. Every year she cooks and every year she winds up doing all the dishes, and believe me in my family, on special occasions, it seems every pot and pan, every dish, silver and glass is used. I think dad's idea of taking her out to dinner next year is perfect. That or if things go well, everyone comes to my house, well almost everyone.....I have a feeling grams will want to be at my aunt's house. I can't tell you if my DH will have set aside his feelings about my family by then but I can tell you while there is hope and he has talked of it, there is no hope for him and grams. It's a battle of wills, both are stubborn, both believe the other is wrong, and frankly neither of them will give on this issue. That's fine with me. I love them both and already told them I wasn't taking sides on it. Let's just put it this way, I truly believe that as much as my grandmother loves me, NOBODY would have been good enough for me ok? She's a wonderful woman who has given us all much over the years. Without her, our lives would have been empty. However....even 89 year old grandmothers aren't without their faults. They have earned the right to be respected but it's a two way street.

Now if I know my mom she's going to start feeling bad and make negative comments on this post about the situation. Mom, before you feel sad and make negative comments about the situation, don't. Believe it or not, despite the situation--I am happy and am optimist about the future. I also know that we just cannot make two people see eye to eye if they do not want to. You know that. Everyone has a different personality and sometimes you cannot change someone no matter how hard you try. We cannot force these kinds of situations to be like we want them to be. This is one of those situations where we are dealing with two obstinate people. And I for one, while I am an optimist about things working out, I am not going to use up all my creative energies trying to make the situation what I want it to be.

Like mom, I have the ability to see both sides of a situation. And like mom I am a placater, I feel the need to mediate, work things out between warring factions. But I have found that the placaters, the mediators, in the family sometimes suffer the most if they persist on matters working out to their satisfaction. I often remind DH of the serenity prayer which may seem hokey to many but I am learning to live by:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Honestly when a situation doesn't go my way, I sit back and ask myself is it something I can change? And if I can't change it, do I have the courage to sit back and let it go? Most people will probably find that difficult, but it's because we're human. It takes an extreme amount of willpower to let something go that is beyond one's control. In my situation, I have let go of what I can't control, and I find such peace in it even though the situation itself is a bit sad and frustrating. If I were to focus my energies on it, I would be a mess. Those who care about me would rather see me happy and so now maybe they understand a little bit more about why I just incorporate the situation into my life and accept it for what it is, instead of using up my energies to fix it. Does that make sense? I am not a religious person but I do pray, and I do believe that what will be, will be, regardless of how we humans intervene and try to twist and turn things to suit us. Que sera sera or something like that.

On the whole I enjoyed my Thanksgiving. Instead of focusing on what I don't have or what I can't change, I focus on what I do have and what I can change. I am thankful for being alive and healthy, I am thankful for a husband who I love and trust, I am thankful for my mom and dad who brought me into the world and saw me through some pretty tough times and love me for who I am and encourage me to be all I can be. I am thankful for my sister who, even though she is terribly critical of herself, she is a gift to me, she is the best sister anyone could ever ask for. I am thankful for my brother who, despite the fact I don't see or hear from him, is a decent guy. I am thankful for my grams who was there for me all my life when I felt I had nobody else to turn to. I am thankful for my aunt, my mamaw in Georgia, my cousins, uncles, all my family period. I am thankful for my job, a good job which pays well and gives great benefits like health insurance and a tuition waiver for college. I am thankful I work in a department where I love the people I work with---well at least most of them. I am thankful for not having any illnesses, diseases or conditions that limit my lifestyle or lifespan. I am thankful for living in America where I can write and speak freely, attend college, own property, vote, and make my own life choices.

I am especially grateful to be alive. Somehow, someway, with all the shit I have done in my life, God has seen fit to allow me to wake up every morning just one more time. I know from having lost people I cared about--people who went to bed one day and just never woke up, who went in for a simple operation and died freakishly and unexpectedly, who one day were healthy and the next day found out they had cancer or a brain tumor and only had weeks to live, who got into their car and wound up in an fatal accident, who got in their car one day to run a simple errand only to be gunned down by a carjacker--I know that every day we wake up and take another breath is a good day. We only get one chance at life and this is it. I just hope I'm doing it right!


  1. I am very hopeful that this time next year will see us together at your home, for YOUR Thanksgiving dinner. Dad and I will be there, as will your sister. As for Grams, well, she will probably (as you stated) go to your aunt's house, but that's ok too. So for the next 12 months I will hope that my son-in-law, whom I continue to love, despite our problems, will come to accept the fact that no one on this earth is perfect, and will be willing to meet us half-way and reunite with us as part of our family once again.

    And what am I thankful for? Well, most importantly I am thankful to God for giving me a good hearted, kind, and loving man to share the last 40 years with, and hopefully 40 more, and my children, who are very close to being perfect in my opinion, in spite of what they might think. I am also thankful that God has seen fit to keep my mother and sister alive and well and with us for this long, and hope that they will continue their lives here with us for many more years, even if it costs me several more tons of Charmin in doing so. I am thankful I have a home to live in, food to eat, and clothes on my back to keep me warm. I am also thankful that even though I may have some health problems, I am surviving with them and able to see, hear and walk on this beautiful earth every day.

  2. BTW, I was lucky I was allowed into the kitchen to do even some of the dishes. Your sister totally cleared off the table, and washed and scrubbed most of the dishes and pots, she only allowed me to do the last few because I began nagging her about sitting down and visiting with the family. However, later on that night when I went into the kitchen to get a cup of coffee, there she was, cleaning and scrubbing the inside of the cabinets and the outside of the fridge. Quite a change from the kid who used to get up from the table and not be seen near the kitchen again until everything was done.

  3. That be my sis! The same one who, when we were younger, disappeared (likely kidnapped by aliens) during the dinner cleanup!