Hands down, one of my favorite things about living in New York City is Thanksgiving. Long, long ago, when the husband and I were just dating and I was still in college, I started coming here to his family for Thanksgiving…and the parade! I have ALWAYS loved parades and the best one of all is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Every year, my house was filled with the sounds of parade coverage as we lounged in the living room waiting to go to my grandma’s to feast. When I had a chance to actually attend in person, I jumped at it…and kept going every year after.
I have so many parade memories that they sort of start to meld together into one awesome parade: there was the year we had brunch at Jean Georges and watched from the patio, the year my sister-in-law and I froze to death and laughed at a family near us that had a comment for EVERYTHING, the year my mom and sister came up and we took selfies with the balloons before it was cool (with a real camera no less), the year we watched from an apartment high above Central Park West, the year Declan was a tiny baby in the Bjorn.
But two years ago, we said no more. It got to be a hassle getting the kids there and then getting them ready to go to the in-laws. So instead we went to the balloon inflating the night before. NEVER go to the balloon inflating!!! It is a nightmare that knows no equal where people are herded like cattle past giant cartoon characters captured in nets. We escaped into the subway halfway through!
So last year we scrapped the whole parade. It was sad, but it was relaxing. This year, we were all prepared to watch on TV and hang out at home. But after 40 minutes of interviews with sitcom stars, commercials, and clips from Broadway shows, Brady and I couldn’t take anymore. So we went for a little walk and got us some parade action.
I decided not to do 30 days of thankfulness on my Facebook this year and I haven’t put up a gratitude post here either. It’s not that I don’t feel thankful or that I don’t want to share it. It’s just that I don’t really update my Facebook status much and it felt disingenuous to start doing it just for November. I didn’t want to feel bad if I forgot to update one day or if I forgot someone or something that I was really grateful for.
Last week the same yoga instructor whose blog post I shared before based her class on the idea of focusing on what we do have, rather than what we do not. Here’s her post on the subject. The basic idea is that the universe reflects back to you whatever you present, so if you are thinking only of what you don’t have, you will only get back more emptiness. During the class I wasn’t so keen on her premise. Why would the universe be so vindictive as to only give us back what we reflect? Clearly if you are depressed you are presenting that feeling to the universe and what if that was all that you got back? How would anyone dig themselves out of that hole? But somehow her words and ideas still stuck with me.
Yesterday morning I went out to get coffee for the husband and I after our coffee maker went all nutso with our daily brew. The kids and I had just been Facetiming on the phone with my sister and my niece. My little ball of joy is 9 months old now and she was having a great time waving to Brady when he waved and clapping when he clapped. I was lamenting the fact that I would be spending the day with my in-laws instead of my own family. I was sad that my niece is growing up so far away and that I’ve missed her sitting up and crawling and clapping and waving. The words of my instructor came back to me and I thought to myself, instead of thinking of what I’m missing I should think of how lucky I am.
So instead of focusing on the things I don’t have I decided to be grateful for the fact that we can Facetime. I can see my niece doing all those amazing things in real time. My mom and my sister can talk face-to-face with my boys several times a week. I decided to be thankful that I have a loving family to share the holiday with, even if it isn’t my family of origin. And it changed my whole outlook. The real meaning of the words became clear to me when I was faced with a real situation.
So today, the day after Thanksgiving, I decided to share the fact that I am blessed and I am grateful for it. I am thankful for so very many things that I could never list them all. My life is filled with amazing people. I am lucky to such an awesome family – a husband who is the best friend anyone could ask for and two bright, beautiful, amazing little boys. I am lucky to have a mother who is always, always there for me and who sets the bar so high for being a parent. I am blessed to have a sister with whom I have an amazing relationship and who has built an amazing family herself. I am thankful for my niece, whom I love with all my heart even thought she is far away. I am so lucky to have in-laws who love me as if I was always a part of their family. I have friends who are so loving and helpful and supportive and funny that I don’t know what I did to deserve them. And I’m grateful for everyone who reads this blog, it blows me away that people regularly read the words that I put down.
So, yes, I AM thankful, even if I don’t say it all the time. I hope that, even if I don’t share it in words, I am reflecting it in my actions everyday.
How could I not be grateful for these two?
Just wanted to say Happy Thanksgiving! We went over to the parade this morning for a bit. Brady loved the balloons, but not the crowds, so we only stayed for a half hour, but it was fun! I think his favorite part was the low-flying helicopter that went by!
Waiting for it to start with a pretzel