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No Thanks

November 14, 2002

I talked to my mom last night, finalizing plans for Thanksgiving. This year’s surprise is that my brother is cooking the turkey, and we’re going to have the big meal at his house, which I still think of as Dad’s house and probably always will, no matter who lives there or who owns it. Scot’s never hosted a holiday meal before; maybe it’s his new wife that’s making the difference (though she didn’t make the difference when they were living together). I expect that other than the venue change, the event will unfold like other years; we’ll eat too much and talk about nothing much and not all get together again for another year or two.

We won’t talk about what we’re thankful for, much less what we have trouble being thankful for, so I’ll have to do that here. I have a lot of blessings in my life, such as a wonderful husband, good health (the fibroid notwithstanding), and enough money left over after the bills are paid to be able to do fun stuff like travel and buy quilting supplies. I’m really pretty fortunate, but I lose sight of that sometimes and get stuck focusing on the things that frustrate or annoy me. Some of those “bad” things are really good things that I could be grateful for, if I chose to look at them that way.

My mom is one of those frustrating things in my life. I’ve written before about our relationship, about some of the things she did that made me sad or mad or embarrassed. Thinking back over those incidents, they’re really trivial, certainly not worth getting worked up about now. She did, and does, her best. Yes, some of her choices aren’t ones I would make. I need to work on letting that be okay, and not getting into disagreements about stupid things. Case in point: She refuses to pick up clothes that fall off the hanger in a store when she’s combing the racks, saying she doesn’t do that anymore now that she’s an old lady. The first time this happened, I tried to get her to see the error of her ways; arguing that she’d taught me to pick up after myself and the standard for good behavior doesn’t change just because one’s now a member of the AARP. All that accomplished was me getting more wound up when she refused to listen. Now, I either pick up the clothes myself and tell myself what a good person I am, or I just don’t look at the floor when we’re shopping together. I wish I could pull back into the big picture mode more often and just be happy that my mother’s still with me. Filling out the family medical history for the new doctor I saw on Monday, I was reminded of all the health crises my mom has had, how many times I could have lost her. She’s had heart surgery, and cancer, and life-threatening hemorrhaging incidents, and a lot of other problems, yet she’s still here and still able to enjoy life. That’s something to be thankful for, even if she doesn’t pick up after herself any more.

My job is another thing I have trouble being grateful for sometimes, and that’s really sad, because it’s the best job I’ve ever had. When I’m working late yet another night on the albatross project, or gritting my teeth and making a change to a system that’s working fine just because the customer is even pickier than I am, or feeling like I’ll forever be stumbling across messes left by Mr. Lying Slacker Guy, or listening to a customer tell me why they’re not going to pay for work they requested, it’s hard to remember how much I like it here. I have my own office, with real walls, a window, and a door that closes. I can dress however I like and take advantage of flextime. My boss listens to me. I’m fairly compensated. So why am I so depressed about my job lately? More important, will it ever get better? It’s got to get better. I’m pinning most of my hope on finally getting the albatross module done. The rescheduled meeting to review it is Tuesday, and I’ve actually made some good progress on it the last couple days. There’s still a lot to do, but I’m starting to see that first glimmer of light at the other end of the tunnel. Maybe by the time Thanksgiving is here, I’ll be close enough to be sure that light is not a train.


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