On a November day when the kids were younger, I took a white sheet (not having the financial resources to actually buy something), put it on a table, and asked my family to write things for which they were grateful on it. Recorded for all of history is someone’s developing handwriting naming a book, the Bible, which they rightly printed in all capital letters; another’s artistic propensity showing their appreciation for strawberries and snow and ice cream; and someone else’s intense love of sleepovers. With cousins!
I wrote each family member’s name on that white sheet whether or not they were able to make the trip for Thanksgiving dinner with the clan that year. Then it went the way of decent ideas everywhere and lay forgotten at the bottom of a stack of tablecloths and table runners and rugs.
I pulled it out this year and there in colorful marker were the names of two dear pets who lived good long lives and one precious brother who died too soon. I stood there thinking about the years in between the year of the sheet used for a tablecloth and this year and the lump in my throat resisted my efforts to look on the bright side. There is a bright side, but there are moments when other things need to be front and center.
So be thankful. Just – be thankful. Be grateful for the common, everyday things that surround you and irritate you and make you late and remind you of something but you can’t quite recall what and bring a smile to your face or voice and fill up your days. Be grateful for things that make life easier and for hard things that make you better. Be grateful for the pet you love who provides company and silliness and no judgment. Be grateful for the people you think will always be there because they have always been there, because it takes no more time to be grateful than it takes to read this, and when you least expect it that time will be gone.