Small Stories for a Big World: November

I have a long list of things to give thanks for on Thanksgiving Day.

High on that list is having a family in which people routinely thank each other. Whenever I come home with grocery items on Doobins’ personal list, such as gallons of milk and packages of Oreos, he thanks me. Somewhere in the past, I’m sure we talked to Doobins about the importance of thanking people, but I haven’t said anything about it in a long time and certainly wouldn’t require him to thank me for such a basic as milk.

It’s something he started doing on his own, and it makes me feel appreciated.

Sparkle Girl and Doobins are remarkably good about regularly expressing gratitude as well. Whenever I drop off Sparkle Girl to see a friend and come back to pick her up, she thanks me. Since she doesn’t yet have a driver’s license, doing that falls under my official responsibilities. Yet she still lets me know she appreciates it. I particularly look forward to the enthusiastic “Thank you!” that I know is coming whenever I show up with an unexpected food treat.

Sometimes Garnet will surprise me by thanking me for doing something that it hadn’t crossed my mind would call for thanks. When she does, a bubble of good feeling appears in my chest.

My life is filled with others who are also good about expressing thanks.

Another thing I appreciate in my life is an increasing awareness of just how much I have to be thankful for.

I know how important a sense of gratitude is. In the past, though, I was more likely to mislay that sense of gratitude for extended periods of time as I fretted about some perceived misfortune or another. Lately, though, when I start complaining to myself about something, it seems as if I don’t get nearly as far down that path as I used to before I remember that the list of things I have to be thankful for is far more substantial—wonderful family, a cozy home with lots of art, work that I enjoy—than the list of things to gripe about.

Once I remember that, I have a greater sense of proportion as I ponder the less-satisfactory parts of my life, and they lose some of their power over me.

One thing I like about Thanksgiving Day is remembering all those years of our family going to Nannie and Daddy Ralph’s house, running around the house and yard with the cousins, and, for that one day, drinking as much Coca-Cola as I wanted.

I also look forward to the stuffing with gravy. Of course, I could have stuffing with gravy any day of the year. I seldom give it a thought during the rest of the year, though, and, even if I do, I have no desire to do anything about it. Eating it wouldn’t seem quite right.

That one day of the year, though, it’s one of my favorite food combinations in the world.

I hope that this Thanksgiving Day is a particularly satisfying one for you.

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