I want to apologize ahead of time for this entry. I was carried away with schmaltz and hate myself for it. Nevertheless, I’m still putting it out there because… well… I need to. You have been warned.
If I learned I had one week left to live, I would undoubtedly be bummed out. I still want to see my daughter grow up and make her own way, and I hope to be able to enjoy at least some of my retirement. I also want be able to fit in those size 34 jeans at least one more time before I cut loose on the carbs for good.
Glancing down at my feet, I see the travel bag stuffed with the regrets I’ve accumulated over the years (I try not to haul it around very much ’cause the sumbitch breaks my stride). I secretly hate people who don’t own one of these bags– how could they have gotten it all right?
But even more importantly, I’ve accrued a couple of huge steamer trunks full of gratitude, and I’m feeling their weight particularly mightily right now. So if it happens that I get hit by a bus before I’m in front of a computer again, I just want to share some of the things for which I’m grateful:
Let me get the obvious ones out of the way. I’m intensely thankful for my family– my wife and daughter– and am stupefied by how I managed to find such love. And yes, I’m also (painfully) grateful for my adult son who is currently not speaking to me. Regardless of how he feels, I’m so proud of the man he has become. I’m gratified by having been raised in a loving home and to have had such colorful parents. I think it’s especially been their idiosyncrasies that brought such fond memories and added character to my life. And I’m grateful that I found the Gospel, despite myself. “A soul so rebellious” doesn’t come close to what I was. My gratitude for Jesus Christ can find no suitable words.
Now for some less obvious things, the small nuances that color in the spaces between the big things and make me feel so blessed.
I’m grateful for snow. The smell of it and the silence that accompanies it, except for the crunching of boots and whoosh of an inner tube being dragged across it. I’m grateful for the itchiness I get when thawing from it.
I’m grateful for Christmas; the unparalleled spiritual tangibility of it. The magic of the glow and reverence and anticipation. All the childhood memories associated with it.
I’m grateful for all the sweet crushes that left me a broken pile of lovesick despair. The songs on the radio associated with them and the hopes of seeing them in the halls, of them saying “hi.”
I’m grateful for smells like crayons and pencils and barbecues and records playing on turntables and egg nog in chrome & glass Waring blenders and fall leaves and libraries and my father when he came home from work (cold night air, cigarettes and Old Spice).
I’m grateful for things that make me cry.
I’m grateful for MAD magazine, for it is the epicenter of my sense of humor. SNL? MST3K? All roads lead to MAD.
I’m grateful for my second home– the movie theater– for the alchemy of the darkness and light, conjurer of laughs and screams, the popcorn and soda, and stolen kisses.
I’m grateful for mayonnaise, condiment of the gods.
I’m grateful for blue jeans, a constant comfort throughout my life. 501′s, Brittania bell bottoms, Pointer Brand overalls– for all the jeans I’ve loved before…
I’m grateful for books, my earliest and bestest of friends. When I was low, alone, bored, uninspired, feeling like a cipher, they kindled my heart.
I’m grateful for music and the benchmarks they were for the best memories in my timeline. The perfect timing of a song on the radio, the slow dance when time held its breath, laying on the bed and letting the stereo be your mood’s soundtrack.
Lastly– and maybe a little cornily– I am grateful for gratitude, for how it overwhelms and galvanizes me. It nourishes happiness. It’s life’s true love. And it brought me everything that is good and true in my life.