Happy Thanksgiving

A year ago, M and Laurel and I sat around the table with Jack for Thanksgiving dinner. I knew that I was supposed to be thankful for Laurel, but at the time she was this red-faced fussy little baby attached to my boobs 24-7. Not cute. Not quiet. Not easy.

This year is different. Gratitude smacks me upside the head several times a day. Watching Laurel toddle through the kitchen while I do dishes. Brushing our teeth together in the morning. Feeling that end-of-the-day sigh push out of her as she drapes her arms around my shoulders and lays her head down, ready for bed. Life is good, because of Laurel's presence. She doesn't make me happy, but she makes me pause and take stock of my life all the time. And when I look around, I realize that whatever teaching catastrophe or house repair or traffic jam is irritating me in the moment is largely inconsequential next to the nights out with my mama friends, and good food from our farmer, and an always-interesting husband. And of course a certain small human scampering around the house leaving a tell-tale path of destruction in her wake.

We have to post our photos from our Thanksgiving Charlottesville visit, but at the moment I can't find the CD they are on. I'm waiting for the plumber, and making calls to City Council about the abandoned property next door, and getting ready for the neighborhood holiday party and trying to remember what discrete math is. And radians. (Did I skip that week in tenth grade? I have zero recollection of some of these math concepts.) And that's a day "off" for a working mom.

The things that remain undone on my to-do list crush me like an avalanche. Some are minor and could be easily done, if only I had a spare 15 minutes (hem curtains on staircase window, schedule the last two IEP meetings at school, capture all remaining stinkbugs). Some are critical and should have been done ages ago, but require too much decision making and so they remain undone (write our will, pull down ivy from garage). Most fall somewhere in between and will probably be done by me in my mad dashings around the house after Laurel goes to sleep, but I still worry that I'll forget (feed the cat, plan dinners for the week, vacuum cheerios off living room rug). I compulsively write and manage lists on my smart phone. I do think that I am more productive because of it, but there's always more to be done. I never get to Done.

Other people do this, I know. And they probably have something better than peanut butter for dinner.

And so, I think that this year, what I am most grateful for are the things in life that melt away my anxiety. On our way to Charlottesville we pass through the Front Royal and just north of Shenandoah National Park. All I need to see is one 2"X4" white painted blaze on the side of the road to remind me...just keep walking...this little crap doesn't matter. The journey is the destination. That phrase appears on a lot of AT t-shirts and I used to think it was corny, but it's become a bit of a mantra.

M and K and L are going to be just fine if the stink bugs keep circling our living room ceiling. Peanut butter is plenty nutritious. Life will just keep happening whether I check things off or not.


Rebecca said...

Sorry I missed you guys in Cville! I live there was in Seattle for Turkey day.

Did you guys ever know Terrapin and Granite? A nobo couple from '07 that I had lunch with in Seattle. They hiked with Water and Bucket for a bit, although I am not sure what state.

Happy Trails,
Rebecca "BooBoo"

k said...

Hey Boo Boo!
Yeah! We do remember Terrapin and Granite. I think we bumped into them from time to time in New England. I seem to remember them during a thunderstorm at that pavilion shelter that was in New York at the monestory (?). They live in Seattle now?
Happy Hiking!

kxm said...

:-) Lovely!

I spent a few years in Cville--beautiful piece of god's green earth there. Glad you had a good Thanksgiving!zar

Anonymous said...

The house feels pretty empty, and Sadie looks bored, but I had a delicious dinner of leftover mushroom loaf, cauliflower/potato puree, beet/leek/walnut pate and sauteed greens. I wonder what Rebecca BooBoo does in Charlottesville?

Missing you, Aunt Mary

Amy said...

AMEN to all of that. So good to read this and not feel so alone in the drowning of my never ending to-do list and the millions of things I forget every day. (I thought pregnancy brain was supposed to go away by now.) Miss seeing you.