Friday, November 26, 2010

A Time to Give Thanks: Pilgrim-Style

Guest post by Melinda L. Wentzel

Thanksgiving is a time honored day of celebration that we Americans hold near and dear to our hearts. It is a holiday rife with tradition and steeped in historical importance. It is a special time to give thanks for the bounty we now enjoy -- the many freedoms, the plentiful food and perhaps for the wealth of opportunity that exists in this land that is like no other. For many of us, it is also a time for personal reflection. We often pause this fourth Thursday in November (or at least we should) to remember for whom and for what we are to give thanks.

Now I may not resemble a Pilgrim in the least, but I am grateful for plenty -- for four-wheel drive vehicles, high-powered snow blowers and window defrosters in the dead of winter and for effective deodorant, insect repellant and air conditioners in mid-summer. I’m also especially thankful for wrinkle-resistant clothing, static cling sprays and industrial-strength stain removers that really work. Likewise, I appreciate heavy-duty trash bags that can handle the voluminous amounts of rubbish my family can generate in a week’s time as well as those priceless devices that contain, for the most part, the stench and mess associated with dirty diapers. What would the Pilgrims have given to possess such luxuries?! Probably a decade’s worth of their harvested crops or a plot of land the size of Texas.

I also give thanks daily for cats that are litter box-trained, fish that are quiet and for children who eat neither the fish nor the litter. I am equally grateful for economy-sized Cheerios, Goldfish snacks and buttery-tasting microwave popcorn -- staples that my family couldn’t possibly live without. Moreover, I’m quite fond of super absorbent diapers, no-leak sippy cups and the magnificent shelves in my refrigerator that prevent spills from becoming major catastrophic events. I am also thankful for par fives with wide, treeless fairways that possess neither an ounce of water nor a grain of sand. Sunny days are nice, too.

Furthermore, I have a wonderful family who accepts the fact that housework is not my forte; nor is cooking. And for that, I am eternally grateful. I have friends who understand that my social calendar has undergone an extreme transformation since the days before small children. They don’t take it personally when I choose to spend an afternoon sipping juice boxes with a dozen toddlers instead of sipping suds with them.

We have very kind and accepting neighbors who haven’t banished us even after they discovered that our cars are only washed an average of once annually -- whether they need it or not. Nor do they think twice about our strange cats that play fetch and come home to whistles instead of, “Here, kitty kitty!” For these things, I am highly appreciative.

What’s more, I am married to an amazing man who tolerates my incessant questioning throughout movies, accepts my foibles regarding domestic duties and refrains from nagging me about my deplorable lack of follow-through on yard sale projects. He also insists that I fit some “me time” into my schedule each day, since he knows he’ll pay dearly if I don’t. His mama didn’t raise no fool. And he never questions my credit card balances, especially when they include massages and yoga dues. He realizes, full well, that those things preserve my sanity. Smart man, that guy I married.

Moreover, I am thankful for a daughter who, at times, forgets that she’s a teenager and reminds me of what life was like when she was 11 -- heavenly. She willingly rescues me from computer glitches, understands that I cannot attend all her sporting events and occasionally thinks of me as someone other than “the merriment-wrecker” or “the nag queen.” Priceless treasures by anyone’s standards.

Furthermore, I am indescribably grateful that my twins refrain from inspecting the contents of their diapers, that they have yet to escape from the house or their cribs, and that they stopped biting each other months ago. For these things, even a Pilgrim would rejoice.

Despite the fact that this may have appeared to be an exercise in absurdity, there was some truth to it. Arguably, there is inherent value in discovering for whom and for what we can each offer thanks this season and throughout the year. Be sure to remember and acknowledge the special people and things that make you thankful, Pilgrim.

Planet Mom: It’s where I live. Visit me there at


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