book, Christian, Disney, family, family life, Harry Potter, Holiday, humanity, J.R.R. Tolkien, life, people, preschool, siblings, single life, sisters, teacher, thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Day, the lord of the rings, toy story
I have had a good life, but even the best life has gaping, black moments.
Growing up, I was very close with my family. I was homeschooled, so my mom was all my teachers, my dad was principal and VP, and my siblings were both my toughest bullies and my fiercest protectors. I got to spend weeks sleeping over at my grandparents’ house, I was treated to every Disney movie by my favorite uncle, and church was my second home.
You hear “adultier” adults talking about “the good ol’ days,” and I’m starting to understand what they mean. As you grow, your body slowly dies, and the life that formed you slowly deterioates. My siblings got married, joined other families with other traditions, and are starting whole new families are their own. I remain at my childhood home with my parents, with only an adorable, snuggly mutt to call truly mine. Then, my favorite uncle is diagnosed with stage four liver cancer, my grandmother is in the hospital for unknown causes, and my church is dying. My health insurance didn’t cover all of my doctor visit when I had to go to get rid of my bronchitis and vertigo, and I have a full-time job that can’t support me. Happy Thanksgiving, right?
Yes, it is.
I have a roof over my head, providing by loving parents that charge a minimal rent that they then put into a savings account “for my future.” I have a beautiful dog that runs out to greet me after a long day of dealing with 3-year-old meltdowns and tattlings and accidents. I have siblings that still live nearby, and I get to work alongside my two sisters-in-law, and I’m about to have my first nephew! I have a caring mother that runs to help her parents whenever they need it; she’s currently helping my grandfather while my granny is in the hospital, and she does whatever she can to keep them comfortable and happy. I have an uncle who refuses to let “a little cancer” bring him down, and I still get to enjoy going to see current Disney movies with him–including the upcoming Star Wars! My church may be small, we may have to sell our building, we may be full of hypocrites and self-absorbed members, but that doesn’t change the God I love and serve. I currently have good health, and I have a strong support system for when I get in trouble. And my job? It may not pay much, but I love teaching.
I have worked as a teaching assistant in my preschool for four years now, and before that, I was working before and after care. I may not reach every child, but I am so blessed to have reached any at all. My first K4 students, now in 2nd grade, still ask me when I’m going to be in extended care, they still give me hugs, and one talks excitedly about his little brother coming to my class soon. And one of my before and after care students (now in 9th grade!) reached out to me this week. I was so happy that one of “my kids” still remembered me enough to be able to find me, and that I was able to be a fond memory of her elementary school life. I wouldn’t sacrifice this love for all the money in the world.
“Life is only worth living if you are loved by a child.” ~ Buzz Lightyear, Toy Story 2
It is so easy to get focused on all the bad things that happen. It’s crazy that we have to work to see the good, that we have to sit down and count out all of our blessings to see how good our life is. I know that the tradition of Thanksgiving is tainted by how our government treated the Native Americans, but I think it is still important to set a day aside to remind people that there is still good in this world that is seemingly filled with sexual assault and shootings. At times it can be hard to believe that there are people out there sacrificing their time and happiness to help others, that there are every day people who see you in that moment and hold the door when your arms are so full, you’re liable to drop everything. There are good cops, good men, sweet children, and fluffy puppies that cover you with slobbery kisses.
“There is still good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.” ~ Samwise Gamgee, The Two Towers
This year I have a lot to be thankful for. Here’s just a few things I can count off the top of my head:
- My family
- My dog
- A warm fire
- Warm food
- The Lord of the Rings (and its author J.R.R. Tolkien)
- Notebooks and pens
- JK Rowling
Of course there’s more. There’s always more to be thankful for, but I’ll stop there. I have a family to feast with, a dog to cuddle, and a couple dozen books to read.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!