The signs and greetings always say, "Happy Thanksgiving", but is it really? For many people it is their favorite time of the year. They look forward to gatherings with family and friends, copious quantities of food, good cheer, and gift giving. For others it is a time to reflect on how much they don't have to be thankful for. Maybe the loss of a family member or pet. For others it is a reminder of how much their life is a struggle to have even just the basics each day, things like money, shelter, food, or companionship. The holidays are a mixed bag for us.
This Thanksgiving will be the first time in our forty-five years of marriage that Linda and I will not be together. She is helping out a friend by dog sitting for her daughters family while they are on vacation. Linda will spend this Thanksgiving with her friends family and I will be here with the two mom's and our dog. It will be weird for both of us but we will get through it.
Linda will be gone for around eight and a half days in total. There were plenty of times when I was working that I would be gone for eight or ten days at a stretch and she kept things going here at home, alone, like a trooper. This week her being gone has made me realize something that I always said but didn't really think about.
How in the hell did she do it and why in the hell did she do it?
So what am I thankful for? This babe pictured above. Seriously, where the hell would I be without her all these years? She has only been gone for five days and I'm already half crazy having to deal with everything on my own. I honestly don't know how she did this all those years.
So far, since she left Friday morning, this has been my world. The first night the dog wet the bed, which I had just changed the sheets on that morning. Time to do laundry again. Two days later the same dog, who is seventeen and shaky at best, was pooping outside at four thirty in the morning when she lost her balance and plopped down right into her freshly dropped poop getting herself covered in it. Luckily it was outside so I could get the hose, corral her, and hose her off. Good times.
That should have been a wake up call for me because yesterday, day four, Doris got light headed and fell down hurting her ribs, back, and posterior. Luckily I was able to drag her over to her bed, put an ice pack on her back and load her up on Aleve. She is mostly OK but her ribs hurt and it is painful for her to move and breathe. I loaded myself up on vodka but it didn't seem to help her.
Last night, the same dog wet the bed, and me, again. Laundry time once again and while I'm out I may look for some bed diapers too. Incredible.
Tomorrow is beauty shop day with my mom, always fun to hear her and her stylist fight about what he is doing to her hair. I still have to go to the grocery store for some last minute things, then to Ace to refill the grill propane tank, on to some store to pick up a package that UPS forgot to deliver yesterday, and oh yeah, get Thanksgiving dinner ready for Thursday. (Note to myself: pick up more vodka.)
I seriously owe Linda an apology for thinking she had it easy all those years of me being gone. And I still am wondering, especially this week, why the hell she is still here with me?
Now that I've shared with you what I am thankful for, let's think about what we can do for others this holiday season, and beyond.
If you watch any TV then you know that there are an unlimited number of groups that you can help, "for only $19 a month". Each of them thinks their cause is the most worthwhile, and they may or may not be right but it doesn't matter. I applaud their efforts to help those in need, no matter what it is.
If you're like me then you would love to give to them all so that others can be helped and/or have a chance for a better holiday season then they expected. It feels good for us to give, I get it, but the reality is that, if you're like me, you just don't have the money to help everyone, or maybe even anyone and frankly you could use a little help yourself occasionally.
If you are reading this then you are already better off than too many others. Maybe you can't afford to give thousands of dollars to charity but there are some things you can do to help others.
How about preparing some food and bringing it to your local first responders who are away from their families on the holidays. Or maybe you can invite a soldier or two over for dinner since they are alone and away from their families while saving us from bad guys around the world.
Don't forget about our pets and those that are trying to save them from a bad situation. Bring some food or gift cards to your local animal shelter to help them feed our furry friends. Same thing for our human shelters, they need help too and while you're there maybe volunteer to help out around the place.
We can all do a little even if we only have a little to give. You see, it's not about how much that you give it is about that you care enough to give. No matter how bad you think you have it there are others with it much worse than you can imagine.
Enjoy the holidays. Help where you can. Let's get back to being nice to each other, that's who we really are as a country.