Thanksgiving is my second-favorite holiday, right behind Halloween. Mostly it’s the cooking – I love to cook Thanksgiving dinner — and the eating, of course, but Thanksgiving speaks to my spirit too. I practice gratitude on a daily basis – not just on Facebook in November – and it brings me a lot of peace and perspective.
I’ve got a lot to be thankful for this year. For one thing, we’re moving back home to Maryland. I wanted to write about it sooner (we’re not de-cluttering, we’re packing), but my husband hadn’t yet discussed the move with his boss. But now he has and I can say that the Fishers are coming home!!!
We’ve wanted to come home for a long time. We hate Seattle, for many reasons. I’ve written about it before so I won’t go into it, but if you’ve been reading the blog you’re familiar with our reasons. If not, see “What Matters Most, Navigating the Seattle Ice, Becoming a Play Date Player.”
The reason we’re able to come home is because we inherited some of my dad’s money. His do-it-yourself will is holding up the rest of it in court. But that’s another story. My advice to everyone, though, is make sure that your beneficiaries are up-to-date on all of your accounts. I am grateful to my dad for naming me as his beneficiary, even though we had our many differences. He and I didn’t get along until my mother’s Alzheimer’s started to show, and then we were civil out of necessity.
I’m also thankful to my dad for giving me so much to write about. He inspired some of the funniest posts I’ve ever written, and he inspired my book, which I am currently NOT working on, which is a whole other issue that has nothing to do with him and must be resolved soon.
I suffered for 44 years having him as my dad, but I’m grateful that he only suffered about three months before he died. I didn’t want him to suffer like my mom did – her Alzheimer’s lasted 13 years. I’m also grateful that I only spent three months with power of attorney for him, because it did not work like it was supposed to. I hated paying his bills and trying to coordinate his care from 3,000 miles away. I’m still paying his bills but at least they’ve slowed down a bit.
I’m grateful that we were able to pay off our credit card debt, also because of my dad’s money. We had a big balance hanging over our heads for a long time, and it produced so much anxiety for both of us. I’m also grateful that, when we had no other alternative, my famously stingy dad OFFERED to pay for $18,000 in home repairs after our house flooded. That was the most out-of-character thing I’ve ever seen him do and I wonder if he knew he didn’t have much time left.
I’m thankful for my writing group. Because we were writers, the “Seattle Freeze”—the way people pull back when you try to befriend them – didn’t apply. Good writers write from the heart, and I’m glad I got to know those hearts by attending that group every week.
I’m also grateful for my relationships with my birth parents. How many adult children have backup parents step in when their parents die? The truth is, I still need parenting, and they provide it. I consider myself very, very lucky.
Even though we’ve been here six years, we were unable to find anyone to spend Thanksgiving with. That would never happen at home. Thanksgiving weekend will be our big packing push, but I’m thankful that I decided to cook dinner anyway. We had a choice of either missing Thanksgiving or Christmas when we moved, and we chose Thanksgiving so the kids wouldn’t miss Christmas. It was a strategic plan because this way our daughter and son will go to school for two weeks before the long Christmas break and hopefully we can plan some playdates. The alternative was to have them home, by themselves, with no friends, for those two interminable weeks. I was not having that.
And finally, I’m extremely grateful for the success that this blog has enjoyed over the last year. My audience is growing faster than ever and I mean it when I say that I’m grateful to each and every one of you for reading my work. I thought I’d lose readers when there were no more Dad posts, but that didn’t happen. Every Saturday when I sit down to write a post, I think of all the people who’ll read it and it makes me feel significant as a writer. It’s an amazing feeling and I thank you for the privilege.
I wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving and I hope that when you count your blessings, they far outweigh your struggles. And thanks again for reading about mine.