Here we go again — time to pretend to be thankful for stuff. This year, I thought I’d try a different tact and take it seriously. I can’t swear it worked throughout the column, but in the words of my 18-year-old son when I questioned his less-than-stellar grade in ceramics class: I tried my best.
I’m so thankful, every day, that I have a job that’s more fun than the ball pit at Chuck E. Cheese’s, and a hell of a lot more sanitary. I awaken daily, excited to arrive at playtime masquerading as work. It took 30 years for me to find this job. Patience, apparently, is a virtue. And sometimes it pays off. Sometimes it doesn’t, like in the event of watching eggs boil or waiting for the blue line to appear on a pregnancy test.
This job has resulted in a crop of the best friends I’ll have forever and ever. When you laugh until your tri-belly hurts and your knees buckle, you’ve either had one too many ginger ale and vodkas, or you are at Maria’s place of employment. Really, all we need is a sandbox and a game of Twister. I trust my work peeps with my life. But not my People or Us Weekly magazines.
I’m so grateful I have a father, who’s never in his life seen a glass as half empty, unless it’s a Manhattan. His long-standing positive energy has always counteracted my own negative nuggets that I fling around me like cow manure. His life has been turned upside down and inside out and yet he stays in the light of optimism, while I want to curl up in the dark and cry. I love my father.
I’m thankful for melatonin. And Benadryl.
I’m thankful for CVS, where I can basically grocery, prescription and sleazy magazine shop, all under one roof. I think they should begin selling alcoholic products. Then it would truly be Nirvana for Seniors.
I’m thankful for Darlene, my Pilates instructor, for not making me feel like an uncoordinated baby hippopotamus among a class of gazelles. She doesn’t realize how much she has made my life better. As well as my pelvic floor.
As much as I gripe about the offspring, I’m forever thankful they sprouted from my loins.
I’m thankful for the most beloved and level-headed daughter ever to grace this world. She’s everything I’m not: refined, honest and rational.
For my middle child, whom I cannot refer to as Betty White any longer because he finally cut that stupid hair. I’m so blessed to have this easygoing, charismatic, compassionate human being in my life. He’s everything I’m not: kind and forgiving with the ability to effortlessly use a fake ID with a smile on his face, a song in his heart and a beer in his hand. (Relax, he’s now 21).
For my youngest, who was so premature we feared he would not stay in our world for long. He not only stayed, but flourished. He’s calm, respectful, smart and loving. He’s everything I am not: fearless, athletic and sweet.
I’m grateful that every time I call my husband Nancy, either in print or Dolby Surround Sound, he laughs and never wants to punch me in the throat. So far. And he still sort of has a crush on me. I hope he asks me to the prom!
I should say something about being thankful every day I am alive and breathing, and not just on this day of technical thanks. But, let’s be honest, it’s exhausting. So I’ll end with one more declaration of gratitude: I’m so thankful for my readers who take the time every week to peruse my drivel and not use this page to line your parakeet’s cage. You are everything I’m not: loyal, dedicated and nonjudgmental.
Maria Jiunta Heck of West Pittston is a mother of three, a librarian and a business owner who lives to dissect the minutiae of life.