Posted on November 27, 2008
It is our Thanksgiving family tradition to share aloud the things for which we give thanks in the year just ended. We were on Skype this morning exchanging holiday wishes with Emma, our twenty-year-old, who is living this year in Damascus, and she said she started her day by making her list. She just spent six weeks embedded with the US Army in Iraq, taking photos for newspapers and magazine, and the pain and suffering she saw there amplified the ample blessings of her life and put in sharper focus the value of the little day-to-day things we too often take for granted.
In the spirit of not taking anything for granted, my list:
- That I am happily married to the woman I fell in love with at age 20 and as best as I can tell she feels the same way;
- That we have two great daughters who are the loves of our lives and who are out in the world leading meaningful and exciting lives (even if some of that makes my gray hair grayer);
- That I go to work each day in a place I’ve come to love in a mission I share with talented and humane colleagues who care deeply about our students;
- That I can still beat Daryl Dreffs on the racquetball court roughly half the time, bike a bunch of miles in the nice weather, and play an occasional (very occasional) game of hoops.
Family, work, and health — those are the three building blocks of a happy life it seems to me. Less selfishly, I am:
- Filled with optimism and faith that our newly elected president will lead us through these tough times.
- Thrilled at the way our culture is in era overflowing with new and exciting music, books, art, architecture, and even television (come on, you got to love The Sopranos, Entourage, and The Daily Show).
- Amazed that New England’s sports teams seem to exist in some sort of weird confluence of energy fields and aligned planets where they all keep winning: the world-champion Celtics in first place, the Brady-less Patriots in playoff contention just behind the Jets, BC football still alive for an ACC championship, and even the perenially mediocre Bruins in first place. The Red Sox need no comment after 2004 — we can all die happy. No city in America enjoys this good fortune.
Pat and I are bringing two SNHU students along for our holiday dinner down in the Boston area. It is a loud, chaotic scene with over twenty people, a bunch of little kids, five dogs (three Goldens, one Lab, and one three-legged mutt) and may just be overwhelming for these students from countries with no such holiday as Thanksgiving.
But when everyone quiets with full, rounded tummies, and half of us slip into light naps while pretending to watch football, and before the annual girls versus the boys Trivial Pursuit game (an entirely vicious gender battle), my hope is that our guests soak up the combination of simple things like food, family, and companionship that make Thanksgiving my favorite holiday of the year.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!