Somehow in this crazy time warp of a year, it’s a week from Thanksgiving. My husband looked at me yesterday and said, “Next week? NEXT WEEK?! is Thanksgiving?”
And I was all, “I know. Right?”
And the thing is, I have no idea how this creeped up on me. First, we’re past Halloween, which obviously means that Thanksgiving is up next. (Yes, I’m talking about this so I can show off my kids and their homemade costumes. Please pat me on the back.)
Second, I’m doing NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Novel Writing Month, and happens annually in November. And, as we all know, November is the month in which Thanksgiving takes place.
Third, if nothing else, the overwhelming number of Days of Thankfulness posts on Facebook should have alerted me.
Yes. Days of Thankfulness. It’s a lovely thought. One that on a base-level I applaud. For those of you who don’t frequent Facebook, or perhaps you’ve just got some very ungrateful friends, the trend in November is to post something you’re thankful for every day leading up to Thanksgiving. Beautiful. Right?
But, there’s something that I’ve noticed when I read them. Instead of thankful reflection, more than a few of them turn into something else altogether. Here, let me translate a few for you:
Thinly Veiled Disguises for Bragging
I am SO thankful for my thoughtful husband and the beautiful tennis bracelet he surprised me with today!
Translation: I have a new tennis bracelet. Neener-neener. Also, my husband makes a lot of money. I just thought you should know.
Passive-Aggressive Jabs at Other Family Members
Today I am thankful that I have children who are polite at the dinner table, even at grandma and grandpa’s house when other kids at the table aren’t. They make me so proud!
Translation: I think my sister-in-law is a bad mother, but I can’t say that to her face.
Complaints Disguised as Thankfulness
Day 15: Today I am thankful that I am a patient person, because otherwise I would not have been able to deal with everything that happened today.
Translation: I made a bad purchase and Target’s return policy sucks.
Oh, Crap! I Totally Forgot About This
Oops! Missed a few! Let’s see. Day 10–I am thankful for my kids. They light up my life. Day 11–I am thankful for the roof over my head. I don’t think I’ve used that one yet, so I’m saying it now. Because…obviously…homes are important and I have one and therefore I am grateful. Day 12–Umm…my husband! Oh yeah! He’s super great. Day 13–Crap. I’m out of thankfulness and I’ve got two more to go after this. Maybe I should think more during lunch… Day 14–SANDWICHES!! I am totally thankful for sandwiches. What a great way to eat a meal. Day 15–Caught up, phew! I’m thankful for leftovers, like those we’ll get next week, because leftovers make for some pretty kick-ass sandwiches (see Day 14).
Translation: Doing stuff every day is hard. Also, since I started this I have to finish it otherwise people will think I’m not really thankful. You know, since things don’t count unless you post about them on the internet.
I believe that most people really are thankful for the things they have–for people in their lives, for food, and shelter, and their basic needs met. I think reflecting on these things is good. Necessary. Even in the worst of times, there is always something to be thankful for. My hope is that after all of this thanking, we start the doing–help someone less fortunate, or improve the world around us. And you know, December seems like the perfect time to kick into gear. Let’s take our 22 Days of Thankfulness and turn those into A Month of Giving Without Expectation or Thirty-three Days Where I Turn My Focus Outward or Here Is My Time/Money/Canned Goods/Clean Water/Gently-Used Clothing, World! Use It for Good.
(Translation: Let’s not screw it all up on Black Friday, m’kay?)
If we don’t chat before then, Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate! To my friends and readers outside the U.S., I hope you have a lovely week and you get to eat some turkey, too. Because turkey is delicious. Unless you are a vegetarian. Then eat vegetables instead. But don’t forget the protein. I’ve heard vegetarians have to be really careful about that sort of thing.
I’m thankful for you all!