Thankful

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about all the things I’m thankful for, trying to post at least one thing on Facebook each day, as part of the whole “30 Days of Thanks” in November.  I didn’t do a very good job.  The truth is, the list of things I’m thankful for will always seem incomplete.  I’ll always think of something else.  And it’s not just within the 30 days in November that I’m grateful for what I have.

So, now…here are 365 things I’m thankful for…

KIDDING!

I honestly don’t know the number of things that will make it on this particular list.  First, I’m going to group together some of the obvious and also minor-but-also-really-freaking-important “I’m thankful for” items: My house, food, water, bed, car, indoor plumbing, 2-ply toilet paper, beer, washer and dryer, Runza french fries, my phone, the remote control (damn right!), deodorant, bacon, Clorox wipes, chapstick (couldn’t live without it), people who use apostrophes correctly, Kraft Mac & Cheese, wine, electricity, and that there is still no technology available that will allow my husband to text me certain unpleasant smells.

Now…the actual “list.”  In no particular order (don’t go accusing me of being more thankful for TiVo than I am of my family), THESE are the things for which I am truly thankful…

1)  TiVo. Yep. I love it.  My husband has actually accused me of being IN love with it.  I wouldn’t go that far, but…I mean…I do really really really love it.  Why? Because after my kids go to bed, I finally get to sit down.  That’s my time to indulge in my guilty pleasures, which include Real Housewives of (insert city name here), Real World, 16 and Pregnant, Teen Mom, Intervention, Hoarders (the last two are really just to make me feel like I drink an appropriate amount of alcohol and that I keep an incredibly clean house in comparison).  If it’s a bad reality show, TiVo has probably recorded it for me.  (Other than Jersey Shore. I had to quit after I heard a group of my brain cells explode while watching it.)  Sometimes, it records my favorite shows without me even telling it to.  It KNOWS me, you guys!  And I watch these shows, commercial free, sometimes several days after they actually air…because of my handsome and beloved…um, I mean…my inanimate object, TiVo.  But I of COURSE also love something more than this glorious piece of technology…

2)  My husband.  There are not too many people who truly KNOW my husband.  A lot of people would probably describe him as quiet. Sometimes, he likely comes across as stand-offish.  I’ve known him for 13 years, and I’m STILL learning things about him.  Here’s what I know: he’s kind, generous, extremely thoughtful, makes me laugh A LOT, and he understands things like why I need a couple hours ALONE at Target, or that it’s not a bad idea to just take the boys and go somewhere for an afternoon.  Marriage is a lot of work.  He works hard at it, and I’m thankful for that.  Also, he’s not afraid to say those three magical words every wife wants to hear at least once a year: “You were right.”  (Will also accept “I was wrong.”)

3) The iPad.  (You had to know this one was going to make the list.)  It has been, above all other things, my Sanity Saver.  It’s the one thing we can take along to restaurants to give Easton so we can actually carry on a conversation and eat our food without him screaming.  It’s the one thing we can take with us when we go out of town that gives him comfort when he’s out of his routine.  It’s one thing he actually ASKS for.  (“iPap?  iPap?”)  He has used it to watch the closing credits of Finding Nemo too many times to count…sometimes on the floor under our table at a restaurant.  Now, he uses it only for going through photos.  New photos of himself and his brother.  Old photos of people he doesn’t even know.  He goes to the same pictures every time, and stops on the same ones.  He mimics facial expressions and hand gestures.  I believe the iPad is so much more than a “gadget” or the “latest toy.”  It’s a learning tool.  By mimicking these frozen expressions, he is learning.  I believe it will lead to Easton learning more about language and communication.  And…it allows me to just sit and take a deep breath every once in a while.

4) Keegan.  Ohhhhh, Keegan.  He and I actually clash quite a bit.  I didn’t know 7 year-old boys could have so much attitude.  But…he is so sweet, loving, smart, and SO DAMN FUNNY.  He truly makes me laugh, hard, on a daily basis.  And most of the time, he doesn’t even realize how funny he is.  The moment he entered this world (11:36 a.m. on January 26, 2005, to be exact) was the moment my life changed for the better.   I had NO FRICKIN CLUE what I was doing.  He taught me how to be a mom.  And he is the best big brother possible for…

5) Easton.  I’ve kind of already said all of this before, especially in my last blog post…but, he was brought into my life for a reason.  He is teaching me kindness, compassion, understanding, acceptance, and definitely teaching me more about autism than I ever thought I would know.  He makes me laugh and he makes me cry.  He’s wonderful and he’s challenging.  He belly laughs and he screams at the top of his lungs.  He cuddles and he completely melts down.  He’s quirky.  He makes people stare.  He makes me proud.  He makes me stop and appreciate the little things.  He also has brought out a level of something in me that I didn’t realize I had…

6) Patience.  I have waaaaaay more of this than I thought was even possible.  Some days, Easton takes every OUNCE out of me that I have.  But it’s well worth it in the end.  Two nights ago, when Easton was having one of his oh-my-god-do-we-need-to-call-an-exorcist screaming meltdowns…I took a deep breath (I take a LOT of deeeeeep breaths), sat on the floor of the hallway, and waited.  He eventually came to me, sat in my lap and we rocked back and forth for 20 minutes as he finally calmed down.  It ended up being a highlight of my day.  All it took was patience.

7) Teachers.  There are not enough words to describe my gratefulness for the teachers and therapists in our lives.  Keegan’s teacher is wonderful.  She told us at parent/teacher conferences that he is “just so exuberant…we caught him standing on his chair while we were doing our estimation jar…he was just so excited!”  She is helping to mold him into the kind young man I want him to be.  And Easton’s whole staff of teachers.  From the 2 classroom teachers and 4 paras in his classroom at his special ed preschool, who send me e-mails telling me things like “he didn’t throw his fork today!”…to the teachers at his child care center, where I work, that know him and love him for who he is.  I’m thankful for Holly.  She’s his teacher, and also one of my best friends.  She is always willing to listen, open to any new ideas, and knows his quirks as well as I do…she is genuinely excited every time she sees something new out of him…and knows and understands that sometimes, I struggle with him and honestly don’t know what to do.  I’m incredibly thankful she gets that.  (And Holly, if you’re reading this, you’re not allowed to get all sappy at work about it.  NOT.  ALLOWED.)

8) Diapers. Because, I mean…shit would be everywhere, right?  How could I not be thankful?

9) Keebler Mini Club Crackers.  I’m not kidding.  They are the perfect bring-along-in-my-purse snack to keep Easton occupied when we’re at our second home (Target).  When the pacifier went buh-bye, I needed an alternative.  I discovered these, and have been thanking the little Keebler elves that live in the trees ever since.

10) Toys that light up.  That’s all I’m going to say.  Toys that light up.  They are the most wondrous things in the world to Easton.

11) Music.  I can’t imagine a world without it.  99% of the time, I am singing something in my head.  It might be the Farmers Insurance commercial jingle, but dammit, if I didn’t have music, I would just talk to myself and then I would just look crazy.  (I actually do already talk to myself.  A LOT.  I’m very agreeable with me!)  Also, my boys both seem to have some sort of affinity to it, and it honestly, it has been one of the constant ways Easton’s language skills have grown.  I grew up around music and have an amazingly musically talented family (Nope.  Not me.  I quit piano after 8th grade, against the advice of my mom.  Mom…you were right).  We were the family that got the guitars out and sang The Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel and The Eagles…certain songs bring back memories of innocence and pure joy.  Could you IMAGINE if we didn’t have it?

12) My friends.  Most of my friends are also my co-workers, so I really already mentioned them, but they are worth their own place on this list.  So…I’m kind of a dork.  I’m a little weird and goofy.  They TOTALLY get that and seem to like me anyway.  Also, my friends that live inside the computer are pretty awesome.  I’ve recently become connected to a world of other people with whom I share the common bond of raising a child with autism.  They are intelligent, thoughtful, sarcastic, kind, understanding, accepting, and absolutely hilarious.  They make me laugh until my stomach hurts.  Also? They gave me the nerve to finally speak my mind to someone who had been bugging the shit out of me for 2 years, and…well…I won’t say anymore about that.  They rock.  So hard.  And, if it weren’t for Facebook, I wouldn’t have met a single one of them, sooooo, I guess I’m thankful for…

13) Facebook!

I saved this one for last, on purpose.

14) PERSPECTIVE.  I wish more people had it.  I was given a large dose of perspective almost 8 years ago.  My cousin, 8 years old at the time, died of a brain tumor.  Keegan was 3 weeks old when we attended her funeral.  All I could think, as I held my newborn son in my arms…”I literally can’t imagine ANYTHING worse happening than THIS.”  And my perspective was instantly changed, for the rest of my life.  I think about her all the time, and her parents and brother, who went through the unbearable.  If that doesn’t change a person’s perspective on the sucky things in their life, I don’t know what will.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  It’s perfectly okay (and healthy) to vent about life’s struggles.  I have said it before, and I will say it again: Autism is a real BITCH sometimes.  But, really?  In the large scheme of things?  I have two healthy, happy boys.  Parenthood is hard.  My kids drive me crazy sometimes.  Marriage is not easy.  My husband drives me crazy sometimes.  But I have it pretty damn good.

That’s my list.  And the thing is…there is SO MUCH MORE.  And it’s not like I sit around, while my kids are at their worst and I’m at the end of my rope, saying, “But at least I have so much to be thankful for!”  I do forget.  That’s part of the reason I wrote this post, because I need to remember more often all the things and people in my life that make it so fantastic.

Ohhhh-kay.  I’m adding one more…

15) CAFFEINE.  If it were illegal, I’d be screwed.

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10 thoughts on “Thankful

  1. I really needed this today. My son, nine years old, strong, BIG BOY was very angry this morning over something little (to me, not to HIM) and since then I have secretly been wondering if I am doing what is right for him. Hearing from another mom who also has struggled with autism really made me feel better.
    That was a great “Thankful” list and I really enjoyed it. And ps. I have seen the closing credits of Finding Nemo like 30,000 times. And every other Pixar movie as well.
    🙂

  2. So thankful I met you this year! Our list are almost identical (swap out TiVo for NetFlix and my kids’ names for yours and I quit piano in 6th grade but other than that…) our husbands sound a lot alike too.
    Happy days of being grateful.

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