Monday, November 16, 2009


Since I am the kind of parent who is up until 2 or 3 a.m. on Christmas Eve, and I wrap birthday presents in the car while my kids are waiting to go inside to the party, I've decided to celebrate Thanksgiving early. I'm never early, but here it is Thanksgiving already on my blog. See? People can change.

So what am I grateful for? I think most of all, I am grateful that my kids are turning out okay. Yes, they slam doors and act like Dracula on a regular basis (dark, brooding, filled with angst), but that's pretty normal I think. Philip told me yesterday that, "You're the kind of mom I'll like again when I'm like 30." But I think the larger stuff matters more.

Over the weekend, we had a birthday party for a teenager whose parents decided she is too old to have a party (she turned 18). We ran around the warehouse store looking for presents since everything else was closed. We came up with flowers, balloons and an enormous pumpkin pie. The girl likes to draw, so we found some art supplies, charcoal pencils and drawing papers. She didn't mind that we wrapped her presents in colored tissue paper and put candles in a giant pumpkin pie. I really liked that the kids worked together to put up crepe paper and get out the birthday tablecloth and some balloons. They were doing all this for someone else -- they couldn't believe parents wouldn't celebrate a birthday.

We had no guests other than ourselves, so we invited the cats, our Malaysian houseguest (who took the house down with Happy Birday - and that's not a typo - things really, really do get lost in translation).

Anyway, there we were, with five cats, Mazy, the German shepherd, the three kids, two parents, a Malaysian houseguest, and a pumpkin pie the size of a pizza with old Barbie candles blazing - and we had a good time. And that brings me to number two: I am grateful that my kids accept weirdness so readily. I mean, they have to, living here, but things don't have to be perfect for them to have a good time.

And I am grateful that they get along so well. This Halloween, Philip wanted to go out as an Eskimo and have Emma attached to him as an igloo - I think that's pretty telling (except once Emma found out what an igloo was, exactly, she protested) But moments like this make me grateful:

and in the rare Christopher sightings:

I am grateful that I have one quieter kid to balance out the other two chatty ones.

And I am grateful that even though I have very little time to write, what I do write seems to get published.

What I like about Thanksgiving is its positive thinking - it's like asking what's GOOD about your life? That's a great question. It makes us forget how dreary November can be.

So tell me -- what are some of the great things about your life?


Katie said...

This is the most wonderful post Anne! I'm grateful that I have found my passion at all. So many people go through life never really knowing "what they want to do with their lives." But I do. I write. And I love it!

And I am also thankful for my precious husband and my two girls (even though we argue pretty often...) But your post made me realize that arguing is okay. Heck, it's normal.

And finally, I'm thankful for cheese.

And coffee.

Oh! And my favorite line, "They accept my weirdity so readily." or something like that :-)

Mary Witzl said...

I'm grateful for having lived all this time (sad, but true) in relative health and wealth. I am VERY grateful that my kids seem happy and well adjusted too, and generally like my company. I'm grateful for having a job (even if it is a crappy one), grateful to be able to write at all, grateful for having sight and the ability to walk and say what I want -- and eat spicy food without being miserable with indigestion. And what Katie said about cheese and coffee. And chocolate.

And here's to weirdness!

adrienne said...

I loved the story of your impromptu birthday party. And candles in pie - done that, too.

I'm grateful for my family and for a zillion things I still get completely stupid over, like hummingbirds and perfect seashells. And yeah, chocolate.

Anne Spollen said...

You're right, Katie --about finding your passion. That really is a major element in life to be grateful for. And chocolate, on the same level, at least in this house.

Health, I forgot that one, Mary, and relative wealth. We take those for granted, I think, until one starts to falter.

And yes, weirdness -- the acceptance of weirdness is what I'm grateful for; my kids would all be in constant therapy if they didn't accept oddness as the norm.

I didn't think of the bd party as a story, Adrienne, but I guess it is sort of a story. And I love your pairing of hummingbirds and perfect seashells! It's like a picture book.

Hardygirl said...

Ditto what Katie said!

There is so MUCH to be thankful for--family, love, home . . . and hulu.

Beautiful post!


K.C. Shaw said...

I love the way your family so comfortably makes room for others, like the 18-year-old friend lacking a birthday party (and I have pumpkin pie on my birthday every year! With candles!).

I'm thankful for my own family, and, gosh, the more I think about it, the more paralyzed my fingers are on the keyboard. I have so much to be thankful for, I don't know where to start!

I guess I'll just have to settle for being thankful for cheese like everyone else. That about covers it. :)

Elizabeth Bradley said...

What a sweet post. I'm grateful for my husband and kids and grandkids, everything else is just whipped cream on my pumpkin pie.

Anne Spollen said...

That's right, sf, there is a lot to be thankful for - as long as we include chocolate in all that.

K.C., underlying my kids' generosity, I think now, was a tacit fear that there is an end to bd parties. like there is to trick-or-treating. They are all under 18 so they had to scurry. But still, yeah, they did run around for another person.

Well put, Elizabeth!

Stewart Sternberg said...

I am such a negative man, it's something I have been battling for years. Some people fight depression. I fight being negativity.

Your blog, or at least this blog posting is good for me. When I read something like this it makes me pause. It's like wearing a wristband.

So thankful? For sometimes remembering that people are more important than things and events.

Anne Spollen said...

Hi there, Stewart. (I've been stalking his blog)

I have friends who battle negativity. On the positive side (had to do that), they are probably the funniest people on the planet. Their slant is so dark and sometimes dead on.

And yeah, people are way more important than either of those things.