Thanks

It’s harvest time here in Canada: farmers are working their land and filling their elevators, geese are fattening up for the long trip south, sweaters are being pulled from the top of cupboards, and turkeys are quaking and lamenting their no-fly status. This Monday is every Canadians Government-given right to give thanks.

Today, I feel grateful. I have healthy, bright, gorgeous kids who manage to get into reasonably manageable amounts of trouble (no crack, prostitution, human-trafficking, or teen pregnancies. Yet). A sweet, somewhat dense husband, who though losing his hair still has a great bum and enormous patience with me. A nice, albeit shockingly untidy house. And an extended family that I love (from a distance).

It’s great to be thankful. I kinda like it. It feels good to feel good and for that alone I’m, well, I’m thankful. It’s especially sweet because it’s taken me so long to get here.

I had one of those childhoods. You know, one of those childhoods that is horrifying at the time (and a future financial boon for therapists), but comical in retrospect: young mother, skirt-chasing-embezzling-absent father, divorce, welfare and living in an 2-bedroom apartment, with my mother and 2 brothers, furnished with cardboard boxes, and a mattress on the living-room floor. Then remarriage and a new “father” who, though not a skirt-chasing embezzler, was a wife and child beater–ahhhh, the good old days.

What?!! Ghastly!! you say. What a terrible ghastly childhood! How can you make light of it? What kind of cold-hearted villain could say such things are comical! I know….I know, but if you can’t laugh you’re gonna cry, right? And as the original funny lady Carol Burnett said, “Comedy is tragedy plus time.” And my own small tragedies have had enough time to adequately percolate to full blown belly laughs.

Then, I had one of those marriages. I married young, very young, as a direct result (so my therapist has helpfully and expensively pointed out) of my childhood. And I married the wrong man. Oh, did I choose badly: a controlling, angry, demanding, demeaning man. Well, 3 kids, some severely devastated self-esteem, a disastrously messy divorce, and a handful of years as a poor single-mom later I’m here in a thankful place.

And today I’m thankful for so many things: for family, for friends, for love, for joy, for warmth, for comfort, for safety. But believe it or not, I’m truly thankful for all the above. For all the heart ache and hardship. For all the loss and pain. For everything I learned and lived.

I am a woman tattered at the edges from life and age, but maybe, just possibly, there’s a little bit of beauty in being care-worn. A small bit of grace in coming out alive and intact. Some small bit of refinement in hardship. I want my children to see that. To carry with them the small bit of knowledge that even through their bleakest moments, thankfulness can and does wait on the other side.

So happy Thanksgiving everyone. And when you stop to give thanks this weekend, don’t forget to send up a small thought for the troubled-spots, and certainly, don’t forget to giggle.

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