It’s fall here…still. Today I noticed some snow on the hills/mountains (what they are depends on where you’re from) across the fjord, but here in Steinkjer we’re still putting our rain gear to good use. Maybe it’ll snow this weekend, but maybe the weather is working to keep us from hurtling into Christmas-mode in order to remember Thanksgiving.
I kind of forgot today was Thanksgiving, to be honest. We, i.e. the American crew in the Steinkjer area, are having our big Thanksgiving celebration on Sunday, so Sunday has been where my focus is. It was actually a very pleasant suprise to realize that TODAY is the actual, on-the-calendar Thanksgiving Day. It’s always nice to know there’s something special about what might otherwise be an ordinary weekday. To call/text/email people and say ”Happy Thanksgiving!” — how can that not make you smile?
Therefore, I have spent the day thinking about my family in Wauwatosa — about my parents and siblings and grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and their kids that will all be there; I’ve been visualizing the Thanksgiving table and all the food. And I’ve been noticing that I’ve been getting a bit choked up when all these thoughts and visions are running through my brain.
I’ve thus spent the day mentally composing my ”what I’m thankful for list,” never really knowing if it would make it so far the typed word…but as long as the kids keep sleeping, there is hope. Here goes:
1) I’m thankful that our first year in a new place is over. That no one drowned in tears or threatened to move out or was hit with a depression that needed more than vitamin supplementation. I’m thankful that the mandatory time to carve out your little niche in a society has been fulfilled. Maybe we don’t have a niche yet, but there’s at least a comfortable indentation.
2) I’m thankful to live in a safe place; not only to live in a safe place, but to realize I’m living in a safe place. What a blessing, what a blessed relief, to not excercise every hour of every day that part of your brain that works to protect your family. I’m thankful to the people of Norway for giving this to us, and for teaching a cynical American how to trust in the common good again.
3) I am thankful for my healthy sons. For imaginative, word-smith, clear-eyed Karel and for climbing, roaring, cuddly Emil. (Emil and Karel’s latest thing is to roar at each other. Emil now makes every toy animal he picks up roar. It’s pretty funny.) I am thankful that even on the days I totally fail as a mom, they are still ours to keep. Toddler hugs and preschooler ”I love you”s are things we never, ever take for granted, still reveling in each one.
4) I am thankful for my partner in this parenting endeavour — and this whole life-navigating endeavour, for that matter. A man who is patient, kind, and just generally nicer than me. And really good at puns. (okay, that part I’m not especially thankful for, but a guy’s gotta have at least one moderately annoying habit.)
5) I am thankful for food: its presence, its availability, its plentiful-ness; that keeping everyone fed is not something we ever have to worry about. Karel is proving that he can subsist on knekkerbrød and cheese, so that’s reassuring too.
6) As always, I/we are thankful for our families. I am thankful to our American family for making such great efforts to see us — we do not take those efforts for granted. I am thankful to have friends in my siblings, who, if they haven’t completely forgotten how I used to hold them in headlocks and just generally be mean, at least refrain from bringing it up. (Usually.) We are thankful for our Norwegian family, whose faces always light up when they see the boys wether it’s the first or the fifth time that month.
7) And…I’m thankful for technology. Every time I skype my mom or chat with a friend on another continent, I marvel a little bit at how easy it is these days to stay connected with loved ones. This Thanksgiving, for example, I was able to talk to my grandma for 20 minutes — not only talk, but see her; I got to talk or at least see everyone who was at the Thanksgiving Day gathering. I even got to see the pies. This is crazy. Miraculous. Both. In this particular instance, a blessing.
Okay, the list could go on and on, but we’ll stop now. Happy Thanksgiving and much love and peace and joy from our grateful hearts to yours.