Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has never been my holiday. It falls in November, when winter has firmly established itself, when days are short and the sun shines with that thin winter light that doesn't get you very far. And on top of that, Thanksgiving is so much about being thankful for having 85 pounds of food on your plate.

For someone both weight-focused and seasonal, Thanksgiving was a holiday I dreaded. It lacked the fun, twinkly lights of Christmas. All I could see were mounds of mashed potatoes, gallons of gravy. And pie that wouldn't stop.

It used to be that in October I would start my slide into winter weight gain, and by February or March, my annual winter weight would be happily and firmly settled on my hips and thighs. It took miles and miles of running in the spring to get rid of those pounds. Thanksgiving was always the beginning of the season of fat and unhappy.

I cannot claim to be a new woman, but I have, with help, gotten through some of these things. I'm pretty much myself - with all my ups and downs - the whole year through. And while I am always weighing the consequences of a piece of pie, it no longer has anything to do with winter. Now I can appreciate the good things about the holiday.

I spend so much time fretting out loud, complaining about the things I'd like to change or the things I don't have. And so I'd like to make a list - by no means comprehensive - of things I am thankful for.

My parents. My relationship with them. And the fact that now that we are adults, we can appreciate the easy and the difficult and love each other as whole people. Even if we sometimes make each other nutso. They are both smart, funny, incredibly bright, kind individuals. They support me and they love me unconditionally. I am so thankful to have them nearby.

My brother and his wife and their son, my nephew, who is the cutest little Hobbit on the planet. I think the arrival of the Hobbit brought my family closer together, and I am very, very thankful for that. Once he can talk, I hope he has the same sense of humor as his parents. And I fully intend to be Weird Aunt Lisa who drags him to art museums and foreign films.

My group of friends. I have an amazing, supportive group of friends. Since we moved every four years, and since we never lived in the US, I never, ever had a solid group, or any lasting sense of belonging. I had friends, and people always liked me, but I never had the feeling of really being comfortably ensconced in a group. And now I do. I adore these people. I am thankful.

My friends Erin and T. I find them endlessly fascinating. I laugh more with them than anyone. I can tell them anything. They know my deepest, darkest aspects, and they love me like crazy anyway. Even when they think I'm making a huge mistake, they make it very clear that no matter what, they love me for me and will support me. And will be there post-mistake. This is rare, and for both of them I am so incredibly thankful.

Having had B in my life. I've been really angry and hurt for a long, long time. On top of everything, he was one of my best friends, and I recognize that it will take a long time for that ache to dissipate. I have been wanting an Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind erase, but truly, I'm thankful that he was in my life. He's had to deal with more adversity and is stronger and more graceful than anyone I know. He prompted me to grow a hell of a lot, and for all the things I've learned from him over the last six years, I am thankful. I hope he and his family are well and happy.

My job. I fret about the fact that I should be doing something that stretches my creativity, that's more aligned with my personality. And I am working in that direction. It's taken me an astoundingly long time to figure out who I am and what I like. And what I am good at. I have a boss that I really, really like, and coworkers who are smart and funny and supportive. I have the leeway to learn new things. It pays my mortgage and then some. And I can walk to work. For these things, I am thankful.

Finally, I am thankful that I have family friends who love me and feel like I am an important part of their Thanksgiving. I have to take a quick shower, pick up my parents, and head out to Great Falls.

I wish all of you health, happiness, family, and friends. And if it's your thing, enough gravy to drown a small village. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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