Giving Thanks—by Jamie Levine
Thanksgiving in my home used to be a big, joyous family affair. It was my favorite holiday, and because I am a fan of turkey and most carbohydrates, the meal made me very happy, too. But over the last few years, our guest list has dwindled down to fewer and fewer people, and as a result of all the family drama and pent-up resentments brewing around our table, I’ve started to look forward to the end of our Thanksgiving dinner before it even starts.
This year was no different. However, I did try to have a better attitude about the situation: I simply focused on feeling good about myself (and the few positive family relationships I have fostered) and taking care of my daughter. We had a busy, active, social Thanksgiving, and the end of our meal signaled the start of a long weekend that proved quite joyous and fun for both of us.
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were packed with play dates galore. The weather was remarkably warm and sunny, so Jayda and I spent hours at a different playground every day. Both of us enjoyed lots of quality time with our good friends, and amidst a constant whirlwind of activity, I was forced to forget the major stresses in my life that are currently plaguing me. And while I did break down and cry to a few of my friends throughout the weekend, having them to lean on helped me focus on all the wonderful things for which I should be thankful.
The obvious list-toppers are my amazingly supportive, always-willing-to-listen-to-me-whine friends, terrific parents, extraordinarily helpful and loving niece, and the most important person in the world to me—my daughter. But then there’s a silly short-list of stuff, which may also be worth mentioning:
*Dunkin’ Donuts French Vanilla coffee (without it, I’d never stay awake through my weekly eight-hour Sunday classes).
*CVS’s 99-cent bags of butterscotch candies (also helpful for getting me though my classes…and for satiating my constant sugar cravings at a low cost—and without consuming a zillion calories).
*Self-serve frozen yogurt shops (amazing variety and personal portion control keep both me and Jayda very happy several times a week).
*Unseasonably warm weather (though I lived in Alaska for a year almost two decades ago, nowadays, I abhor weather that’s below 55 degrees).
*My ipod (packed with the cheesiest ‘70’s and ‘80’s music you can imagine—but so inspiring for long runs and workouts).
*Genes that keep me youthful-looking (my parents are much older than you’d ever imagine…as am I! Or at least most people think I look a lot younger than I really am).
*Online shopping (be it protein bars by the bulk, special shampoo for my curly-haired kid, or new jeans for me, buying things while sitting in my bedroom is so much easier and enjoyable than hitting the stores).
*“I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” spray (I spray it, dip in it, douse with it—I should buy it by the case).
*Being debt-free (next month, my loans for my second semester of grad school will come through, but up until now, I’ve been supporting my kid and myself without borrowing a penny).
*Jayda’s amazing Sunday babysitter (as well as all of the adults who care for and inspire Jayda, including her teachers, ice skating instructor, and my friends and family who keep an eye on her when I can’t).
*Long, warm showers after a long, sweat-inducing workout (and the fact that Jayda now takes short, warm showers instead of long, annoying baths).
*The strength I somehow keep mustering up to save me from settling for less than what I deserve in a man.
*This blog (sometimes people who are close to me get pissed about the things I write…but I never write anything vengefully; writing helps me process things that are going on in my life, and posting about them frees me, and makes me feel so much better).
And, finally, I’m thankful to you…for reading (and hopefully appreciating!) what I write.