There’s a lot to be thankful for.
That’s what I tell myself, what I told Axel yesterday as we were doing laps back and forth in our basement during Little L's naptime.
And yet I’m having a hard time mustering a gratitude post right now.
Maybe what feels more truthful is that there’s a lot of grief and injustice and fear in this world, systemically, globally, in individual lives and circumstances. And yet, at the same time, we can recognize what is good in our days and homes and communities and situations.
As Axel always says, “It’s not either or. It’s both and.”
I’m sad. This is the time of year when Axel and I have traditionally made the trek to California - ten years ago on Thanksgiving we got engaged in a beautiful Sacramento rose garden in front of a pile of mulch. We’ve had visits with Megan and Cameron who drove up to join the family fun. Not being with this side of our family feels poignant - a whole year since they’ve seen Little L now. It won't be long until it's been a year for her Wisconsin grandparents as well.
At the same time, I’m so glad we’re safe and healthy and able to make the choice to stay in and celebrate just the three of us in the hopes that it will keep our loved ones safe and contribute to things getting better in our hospital system, or at least not contribute to them getting any worse**. I’m thankful for the delicious food my mom and mother-in-law have both dropped off - it's like curbside holiday DoorDash with a personal touch! I’m thankful that Zoom will allow us to have five virtual celebrations with all four sets of our parents over the weekend. I’m thankful we didn’t tell Little L about the potential quarantined Thanksgiving get-together we were hoping to make happen, both because we don’t have to disappoint her and because we won’t hear her ask 30 times a day, “Mama why we are not going to have a party like you said?”
Things are bad, and things are good. Try to dredge up some room in your heart for your relationships and the things that give your life meaning. Maybe just reflecting on them will make you feel a little glimmer of gratitude. My friend Lydia has a great gift for appreciating the good in life, and I try to take my inspiration from her.
But don’t be too hard on yourself if all you want to do is stay in your sweatpants all day and watch old Thanksgiving episodes of Gilmore Girls.
It’s not either or.
You can be happy for cherry pie and vegan ice cream and cry at the sight of Sookie and Laurelai hugging each other unmasked.
And if you can do it all in your yoga pants, from the comfort of your couch, even better.
**Thank you to all the essential workers and medical professionals. To say what you're doing is hard is the understatement of the year.