Hm. Don't really have a great image for this post (though who could fail to be thankful for tasty treats like gingerbread men). But anyway, here's a Top Ten List of things I'm thankful for:
1. Family All of it - my immediate family of husband, three kids, and a dog; my extended family I grew up in, and my husband's extended family who have made me one of their own. It's hard to say something about all of them that's not trite or too general, but here are some of the specific things about them I'm thankful for. I love how my immediate family routinely laughs so hard at the dinner table that we not only have to worry about milk coming out of someone's nose but the occasional spaghetti noodle - which the dog will be happy to eat if it ends up on the floor; I am grateful that my growing-up family never tires of huge annual gatherings at the beach (and grateful that my parents continue to fund these vacations), complete with ritual toad-catching and crab-chasing; and I'm thankful that my husband's family always makes up songs with hilarious lyrics to celebrate special occasions, and especially grateful that they let me sing along with everyone despite my severe tone deafness and complete ignorance of tempo.
2. Friends Having moved a bazillion times over the years and also having lots of friends who have moved (and now having internet-found friends), I'm lucky to have friends wherever I go, and less fortunately, some places I don't go but wish I could. Like my family, I know my friends will do kind things like ooh and ahh kindly over my latest book project (and even buy copies for gifts, even if they have to kind of stretch to pinpoint an appropriate recipient). And when I get a bad haircut, my friends don't say things like, "Oh well, it'll grow out again someday," but more tactful things like, "Doesn't the part look nice!"
3. Child #2 has almost finished his college applications And I'll be really, really grateful when they're well and truly done.
4. Affording college tuition So far at least. Child #3 should probably lie awake worrying a little...
5. Living the creative life How lucky to be working as a writer, illustrator, and kid-advice person! It doesn't get any better than this! (Well, the money part could get better, especially from the points of view of my husband, who would dearly love to be a house husband/amateur athlete and child #3 who doesn't want to lie awake worrying about her college fund.) And some people think it would be better if I didn't live the creative life all over the kitchen table and in big piles in their bedroom that they'd like to use when they come home from college for vacations.
6. That this past year I had one book published, finished one that will be out next year, and got a contract for another And that one's nearing completion. I hope.
7. The disgusting growth on the dog's leg that I've been ignoring for months isn't cancer Phew. The guilt was going to be pretty unbearable.
8. Gas prices that have risen enough that it's cheaper to fly child #1 home from college for breaks like this than to drive 9 hours each direction to fetch him.
9. Dark chocolate is good for you. And so is red wine. Now we just have to work on Fritos.
10. That the world is so full of good books, good people, and the internet, which I'm addicted to.
11. That ending a sentence with a preposition isn't as sinful as it used to be.
12. That this list could be in the 100s or more before I ran out of things to be grateful for, and I had to cheat by 2 even to wrap this up.
Thank you to all the people who have given me so much to be grateful for this past year. I hope I can repay you - and find a way to pay things forward too, in the years to come.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone.