I am grateful for small victories. I heard myself say “We did it!”‘to Farley (who was riding on the back of my bike) under my breath at the crest of a small hill. I realized in that moment that saying that at the top of hills is a habit for me. This blog is useful to marking those moments; I am looking for things to be grateful for now. If it wasn’t for the blog, that little victory would slip into the oblivion of forgotten things.
I am grateful for my kids. Coop, who gets as much joy and satisfaction out of putting lego together as anyone gets from anything, and Farley, who likes to sing about great white sharks, and today extended that to start singing about great white crabs.
I am grateful for my desk lamp I bought yesterday, which I bought at a thrift store. Fact is, I probably could have bought something new for the same price, but this one didn’t introduce any more plastic packaging to a landfill, and didn’t cost any more carbon emissions to ship from China. I prefer used things generally. I dislike waste, like anyone else does, but I also respect and enjoy the stories objects can tell, and something new out of the box just doesn’t have much to say about itself.
I am grateful for bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches. Any 2 of those actually would make a great sandwich. The 3 together are greater than the sum of their parts.
I am still grateful for bicycles. You might think for all my talk I an avid cyclist who goes on big rides. I’m not. I pretty much always ride places I need to go anyway. What I like about biking is it fits in so nicely into my life. I need a way to get around, and biking is fun, and good for me, and saves a bundle on parking and gas. If that’s not nice, what is?
I am grateful for all the things I should be grateful for that I don’t even know about, because I, like you, and everyone else on this planet don’t know how good I’ve got it. No matter how bad it is, it could always be worse, and likely in ways we can’t (or won’t) imagine; in ways both big and small. I was thinking about this on the ride home after work, which is up a big hill. At our last address, I did not have to climb any hill and was hardly aware I might one day live on top of one. These days, as I bike home, I’m only slightly aware that there are even bigger hills I might be living on top of. So, I am grateful it’s not a bigger hill, and more importantly, I’m grateful there’s a warm, dry comfortable place to come home to at all. Not everyone has that, but I do, and I’m lucky I have that privilege.
I am grateful for the salmon run. It gives me a sense of place and continuity. I’ve been watching these animals come back every year since before our first kid was born. It’s a unique thing to this part of the world. It’s cyclical. It’s as big as birth, life, and death get. The fish I saw here today came from eggs that were laid here in 2010. I saw their parents that year. And parenting wise, it’s a bit of perspective, too. I feel like I sacrifice a lot for my kids, but these big, grownup fish who have had all kinds of freedom in a great big ocean, give it all up to swim hard upstream, in an environment that is fatally toxic for them, to fertilize and lay eggs in the same place they come from. After that long struggle, they finally expire and nourish the land with their bodies, never to meet the children for whom they’ve laid down their lives. It’s safe to say these creatures are giving it their all. I look forward to seeing their offspring all grown up in 2018, when my kids will be 4 years older, and, for that matter, I will be, too.
I am grateful for old friends. Not just my old friends, but Cooper’s. We brought a friend along to the salmon run that Cooper has known since he was 20 months old. In relative terms, Coop has known this buddy for over 70% of his life. That would be 30 years, if you used that same percentage for someone my age. They are hilarious together, and there’s a trust that comes with familiarity that’s hard to create any other way.
And I am grateful for the village it takes to raise a kid. It’s great to know a family well enough that we can receive and answer the call when they need to have someone take their kid for a few hours, and it’s great to happily take that same family up on an invitation to eat microwaved leftovers and homemade pizza after dropping their kid off afterward. Humanity works best when we help each other out. Sometimes I need to remind myself that it is too dang easy to get stuck looking inward. Often, the path of least resistance requires me to be more outgoing than I might initially think.
I am grateful for democracy. I voted in our municipal elections today. So did lots of neighbours I saw at Coop’s school, which was our polling station. Voting felt good.
I am grateful for “Good, bad, funny, mistake”, which has become something of a tradition around our dinner table, where everyone takes a turn telling about something good that happened, something bad, something funny, and a mistake they made (and ideally, what was learned from it). It’s a nice way to sum up the day.
I often seem to be grateful for something I ate, and today is no exception. I am grateful for Hong Kong West, a Sichuan restaurant on Fort street. The eggplant mushroom dish was particularly good. NOM NOM NOM.
I am grateful for a day of playing hooky with Julie. We saw “Interstellar”. It was fantastic. I suspect it’s a movie we’ll be talking about for decades to come. I will be, anyway, I really, really liked it.
I am grateful for a moment I saw Coop at school when he didn’t know I was there. Looked like he was doing great.
I’m grateful that when we got home to find out home inhabitable for a few hours due to the work happening on the reno, we found good friends to call and invite ourselves over for dinner. The guys working on the basement were using a gas saw to cut the foundation, and exhaust fumes filled our house and were making our carbon monoxide detector wail in protest. Nice to know we have people to call in this circumstance, and it turned out to be a nice evening out, with grocery store rotisserie chickens, and kids playing together. Our house is still a bit smelly, and chilly after several hours with windows open and fans on, but we’re snug and warm in our beds now.
I am grateful for my house. I dig it. Coming home to see more renovation in progress has been nice too. It’ll be good to have that suite set up; the rental income will make buying this place seem like a better idea. The Boulder was pushed up the hill, now we’ve given it a push and it’s rolling.
I am grateful for homemade mac and cheese. I often like to cook, solely because I can prepare food just the way I like. Mac and cheese is like that. I am also grateful that many of things I am grateful for are simple pleasures that are easy to come by, like food I can make for my own self, and when they aren’t too fickle, my adoring family, too.
I am grateful I planned to take a few more days off after returning from our vacation. It’s nice to have a soft landing. We didn’t send the boys off to school and daycare today, so they had a soft landing, too. They are, however, going tomorrow, and we have a sitter booked for tomorrow night. After a fantastic 12 days of kid intensive weekend, beach and Disneyland time, a childless tomorrow with a day off work for Julie and I will be a nice change of pace.
I am grateful for air travel. It probably stresses me out more than any other mode of transport, but what, with the onboard wifi and free colouring book and crayons, it sure beats walking.
I am grateful that I was compliant with the dress code at the bar the other night.
I am grateful for triple AAA rating 5 and 2 year old behaviour on the trip back home so far. We’re only 2/3 the way through the first flight, so it could go pear shaped at any moment, but it’s been great this far so I’ll be grateful for that even if it does.