I’ll admit I wasn’t feeling the gratitude today. (Which is okay, right? I mean I still have a few hours left to procrastinate my character improvement.) This morning found me walking the track at the gym, my baby in a front carrier and nothing to entertain me except my mp3 player… which was dead. So basically I spent an hour walking in small circles and muttering to myself like a crazy person, nary a Gym Buddy in sight. That last bit was the real problem. See, all the Gym Buddies were absent this morning because they were saving up their childcare hours so they could come to the big Turbo holiday sweatfest tonight. The one I can’t attend because a) my baby is too young to go in the childcare and the gym management frowns on babies in kickboxing classes and b) my body isn’t healed up enough yet to handle it.
To understand my extreme angst you must know this is no ordinary cardio class. Every year Turbo Jennie crafts a particularly torturous 90 minutes of kickboxing intervals interspersed with crazy dance moves that she calls her Holiday Mix. It’s a total party and you burn mega calories the night before Thanksgiving so you can indulge guilt free the day of. (That’s the theory anyhow – me and my neuroses are not into guilt-free anything. But I’m working on that.) I live for the Holiday Mix.
And this year not only am I condemned to the hamster wheel but I have to sit at home knowing everyone is having a great time without me, not unlike the time I went to a girl’s-choice dance in high school only to have my date take off with my best friend and then watch as her date tried to get drunk by chugging bottles of breath drops. (In case anyone is wondering, no it didn’t work but I ended up having to walk home anyway after they decided there wasn’t enough room for me in the car.)
As I walked my bajillionth lap and pondered the incongruity of a Thanksgiving event making me seriously ungrateful, a news story popped up on one of the large screen TVs. “Burned boy facing lifelong recovery” was the headline, accompanied by a picture of a horribly burned child. Then his mother came on the screen, sobbing, “I’m just grateful he’s alive!”
5 points to the Big Guy upstairs: I get it, my problems are small. (Note to self: God uses HDTV.)
After that I decided to use my laps to think about all I have to be thankful for. It wasn’t too many before I came to see the wisdom in Chris Illuminati’s Unthankful Thanksgiving post (yes Chris, I just used you and wisdom in the same sentence):
Thankful is minor. Thankful is the feeling when a stranger points out I’ve mistakenly dropped a wad of money in a crowded store or when the UPS guy puts the package in between the screen door and front door so it doesn’t get drenched, or worse, stolen. Thankful is coming home and the package hasn’t been stolen and I can forgo a call to Amazon and beg for a replacement.
My family and friends, the coming bundle of boyhood, the upward course of my writing career and the pending book are not things to be thankful for because they are much more. They are blessings. Blessings trump thanks.
[P.S. Do check out his book! He is hilarious and awesome.]
He’s right. Not only do I have a million things to be thankful for but as the good Friar tells Romeo, I also have “a pack of blessings light upon [my] back.” So while I still can’t go to the Turbo Party, how cool is it that I have so many fun friends that I cried because I miss them? (I know, who cries over missing a cardio class? Me, that’s who.) And how blessed am I to have 4 beautiful, healthy children? And a wonderful husband? And loving parents and siblings who are my best friends? And to be healthy myself? After I covered all the big blessings in my life (all of you blog buddies and readers also made the list!), I moved on to all the little things I’m grateful for. Like an indoor track so at least I’m not walking in the rain. And the fact that it’s November here and it’s still warm enough that we have rain! And binkies. Bobby pins. Books. (And the letter B, apparently.) Also: I haven’t had an anxiety attack in over 4 days! The hormonal tides they are a’ turning! Woohooo!
In the end I was even grateful my mp3 player had died or I never would have had this little schizophrenic chat with myself. I hope that all of you – whether or not you celebrate Thanksgiving where you are – will make the effort to consider your blessings today as well. Bonus points if you aren’t as whiny about it as I was!