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 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 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.
I am grateful for a lazy day by the beach. We’re in San Diego. There’s lots to do, and also, there’s nothing to do. Both are great options; but we opted for the nothing to do option, save for a bit of shopping and several trips to swim in the waves.
I am grateful for Cooper, who, when he was figuring out body surfing asked me, “Papa, will you put my a$$ here?”
I asked him, “What? What are you talking about?”
“Put my a$$ here.”
“How do you know that word?” (knowing full well he’s heard me say it a gazillion times)
“After I’m dead. Put my ash here, okay?”
Halloween brought up the topic of tombstones, and then cremation. I guess he figured this was as good a place as any. And he’s right.
I am grateful again for bicycles. Simple, beautiful machines that they are. Cheap, too. There’s lots of renting options, but I found a second hand one for $60, and the guy said he’d buy it back for $20 when I go. I am now the proud owner of the bike we’ve named “Rustbucket”
I am grateful for St. Anthony, who is the patron saint of lost things. We’re going on vacation tomorrow, and we had vouchers to get from the airport to the hotel. They went missing. I was convinced they’d gone into the recycling. Julie prayed to St. Anthony, and kept her faith long after I’d lost mine. When she found the vouchers, she asked me pointedly, “Who ya thankin’?”. Here’s the answer, I am thanking St. Anthony. He’s just one of the benefits of marrying an Irish Catholic girl.
I am grateful for the extra hour that comes with the end of daylight savings time. I managed to get a coat of deck stain on the back stairs before 10:30am. Awesome!
I am thankful for a terrific birthday party today, with “build your own snowman” kits as goodie bags. The boys LOVED THEM, and they had a great time at the party, too!
I am grateful for great behaviour from Coop. We’ve got him in Beavers, which is fun, but it’s across town at 6pm, which makes for a time crunch as we need to fit some dinner in there, too. It went smoothly, and that’s good.
I am grateful for cars. I usually try to bike in at least one direction in my daily commute. With the Beavers and logistics being what they were, today I drove both. It was raining cats and dogs, and nice to be inside with a heater, defroster, and roof over my head.
I am grateful for quiet. Everyone else is asleep in the house as I write this. Hard to believe sometimes with a 2 and a 5 year old, that there is such a thing as quiet. One must enjoy it when one can.
I am grateful for the box our new hot water tank came in.
I am grateful that I managed, just today, the day before workers come to start work, to get our basement devoid of stuff. When we moved in we had most of our stuff placed there, and having so much crap, we never figured we needed it enough to unpack it. One lesson learned that (hopefully) will no longer applicable to me: don’t hold on to stuff thinking someday you’ll have a house to put it in. If you are like me, you might spend decades squeezing those things into closets. You’ll move them from rented apartment to rented apartment. Perhaps you’ll even rent storage space for them. Then, you’ll get that house you always dreamed those things would belong in, only to find you stIll don’t want that crap. It’s been a liberating, but long and tedious journey to a clean basement over these last few weeks.
I am grateful for projects getting done and launched and off my radar. On to other things!