Sunday, November 30, 2008

What I am really thankful for.

With Thanksgiving now past, the holiday season has officially begun. Every year we answer that age old question, "what are you thankful for". And every year we give the same stock answers. "My family, friends, a house, food to eat, blah, blah, blah!.

What are you really thankful for? What is something in your life that has never let you down, made you mad, or caused you stress?

Today I found a paper with two crudely drawn pictures on it. One was lobster, the other was a pickle. I asked my 4 year-old why he had drawn those two things and he responded very matter of factly "They told us to draw what we were thankful for, so I drew a pickle and a lobster."

"Of course!" I thought, "It makes perfect sense." Pickles have no natural enemies and the lobster he was referring to is stuffed and therefore harmless.

This really made me reevaluate what I am truly grateful for. What are the things in my life that are simple, good and purely beneficial, with no drawbacks or compromises? I offer the following list:

1. Ankle Socks - I love these little guys! They protect my feet from my shoes and don't ever fall down or bunch up.

2. Q-Tips - "Hello, my name is Shea... And I am a Q-Tip-Aholic" Everyday after I shower, I use my beloved Q-tips. In fact, sometimes I will shower just so I can use a Q-Tip. Here's another confession. Sometimes in the middle of the night, I will just get up and clean out my ears for no reason at all, other than I love how it feels to clean my ears. You think I'm crazy? Well maybe you are just repressed!

3. Sneezing - Sneezing is like a free 1 second, natural high. If you don't know what I am talking about, chances are that you aren't allowing yourself a full uninhibited sneeze. Forget about being politically correct! Next time you have to sneeze, just let-r'-rip! You'll thank me later.

4.My Blankie - Here me now world! I am 28 years old and I have a blankie! (Really it is more of a quilt but you get the point) It was a Christmas present from my grandmother when I was 18. And I have slept with it nearly every night since and I LOVE it. I literally love my precious blanket. If my house was burning down, I would run back inside, risking my life, to save my blankie. Just like those lame scenes from the movies. Fire Cheif - "Okay!, that's everyone! The building could come down any second!" Me-"Wait, what about my blanket! I've got to save my Bbblllaannkket..." (my voice trails off as I run back into the burning building). In this daydream, the story either ends with me emerging triuphantly from the crumbling building after an impossible amount of time inside the blaze, with the blanket in my arms, or with the firefighters finding us dead the next morning, curled up together, with some sort of melted metal between us, shaped like a heart.

P.S. I would love to hear what you are really greatful for. Please don't be afraid to share, we are are all friends here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

You can be anything you want to be. (almost)

The other day my wife had some errands to run and I was left home, taking care of my two boys. We were I was sitting at the table having a snack, when out of nowhere my 4 year-old announces, "I'm going to be an Indian when I grow up." He said it very matter-of-factly, just like in a, "just so you know" sort of way. "Oh really?" I said. And he responded "Yea, I'm gonna get that triangle thing (referring to an indian arrow head he has) and rub it on a frog and kill animals with it. Here, he was clearly confusing our Native American Tribes, with the indigenous tribes of South America (a common mistake for a 4 year old) but I let it go and asked what someone has to do or have to be an Indian? He said "Well I already got one of those triangle things, so I won't have to buy that, and I need a band that goes around my head."

I had to admit he had a pretty solid plan and I was wondering about becoming an Indian myself, but then I remembered something else, so I asked him about having white skin, and how that would effect his plans to become an Indian. He really thought about it and said "Well, you don't have to have brown skin to be an Indian. I thought his over, and knowing it could become an issue in the future I suggested to him that maybe, being an Indian, was more of a state of mind, rather than some clearly defined biological or genetic "fact". He readily agreed and that is where the conversation ended. And though I was uncomfortable with the idea at first, I think I have really come to respect his decision.

I think as parents we have a tendency to take it personal when our children choose a path in life, that is different than our own. But then I have to remember when I was young, and I decided I wanted to be a lion, in a circus. "Oh, that's nonsense!" they told me. "It can't be done." Well, my spirit was crushed, and gave up that dream, and I have regretted it everyday since. So when my son, my own flesh and blood, looked me in the eyes and said "I am going to be an Indian!" I knew I couldn't be responsible for crushing that dream.