Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Full of Thanks

November is the month many people take time to think of what they are grateful for in their lives. The latest phenomenon is updating Facebook statuses every day with something that has made the person posting full of gratitude.

I’m not that organized. My first post of the month was something about giving a shout out to the employees at Home Depot for not pretending I was invisible. This is what usually happens when I venture into the cavernous maw of that store. Honestly, I can’t think of anything more boring to shop for than home improvement items, so I spend as little time as I can in those kinds of establishments. Probably because while I always knew I didn’t have a green thumb, in my maturity (okay, old age), I also realize I do not have a home improvement thumb, either.

However, for this trip I was looking for seeds for a kindergarten science lesson. Not only did the friendly employee help me find some big seeds that little five year old fingers could deftly plant in a paper cup, he pointed out an easy care shrub. I made a pact with myself that if I could keep the shrub alive for a month, it was a sign that my aptitude for homecare was changing and I might venture on to a flowering plant, vegetables, or even a home project.

Well, it’s almost a month later and the shrub is still alive! I am considering this my Grandma Moses moment – she didn’t start painting until she was in her 90’s. I even have a few decades on her for my personal revelation. So, shout out to you Home Depot.

The next day, I believe I posted that I was thankful it was no longer October. That is because after a month of scary movies, scary pumpkin patches, and scary decorations everywhere, I had reached my scary limit. I realized this after I spent a half hour trying to prod a Barbie car into the bathroom with an extended light saber. You see, there was a long, dark leg peeking out from behind the console in the car. My mind extrapolated how big the body would have to be of whatever mutant spider was attached to that leg, and I tell you, it was as big as my German Shepherd.

Once I had maneuvered the car into the bathroom, I had to muster up the courage to actually touch the Barbie car in order to put it into the bathtub. Then, I had to muster up more courage to turn on the shower water – but I had visions of the very large spider leaping out and attacking me.

After five more minutes of deep breathing and trying to look cool, calm and collected in front of my three year old, I turned on the water. I waited for the Barbie car to fill and flood, killing the mutant spider. You know that saying – you learn something new every day? Well, it’s true. I learned that Barbie cars don’t hold water. After about five minutes of soaking that car in a boiling hot shower, the water level never got above the white plastic seats.

Even though the Barbie car didn’t flood, about five more minutes passed and I was sure the spider was dead. The beast’s leg bobbed up and down, but didn’t move. I must have scalded the thing to death. Now was the time for me to meet it face to face, but I didn’t even want to see its lifeless form. Until this moment, I thought I only had an irrational fear of dentists and heights. Now I know I am also deathly afraid of spiders.

Taking the light saber, I removed the dripping car from the bathtub. Carefully, slowly I lifted the front end of the car up, so the drowned spider would tumble forward into my view. Do you know what came sliding out onto the bathmat? It was a spider alright - a plastic Halloween spider ring. I had wasted 45 minutes and given myself heart palpitations from stress – all from doing battle with a plastic Halloween spider ring. So, once I finally disposed of the ring, I gave thanks that I could put my frazzled nerves to rest until the next year’s Halloween activities.

The third day of November, I think I gave thanks that I could react quickly to parenting situations. Like when I decided against leaving my five- and three- year olds girls unattended for a few minutes in their room while I did laundry, after hearing a conversation that required them to say the words “dog” and “makeup” in the same sentence.

On the fourth day of giving thanks, I gave a silent high five to the universe for being a safety net to my own stupidity as I try to raise five kids. Our family was gathered– all seven of us – in the T.V. room. I had a glow about me as I surveyed my brood – together and cozy. My husband was reading a book to the little girls. My oldest two sons were glued to a football game. My middle boy was watching a Netflix movie on my iPad. I was updating my Facebook status.

Then my middle son ripped out his earbuds and exclaimed,” That was the best movie EVER!”
It was at this moment I realized that even though I was no more than eight feet away from my kid, I had no idea what he had been watching.

Afraid to ask, but knowing I should, I posed him the question: “What movie were you watching?”

He responded, very excited, “Beavers!”

I think I was a little ashen when I asked, “Uhm, was it about animals?”

Thankfully it was and I vowed never again to not flex my full parental rights before a person under the age of 18 used any device in my house again.

Those four days about ended my stamina for being thankful. Thirty days of thankfulness? I think I’ll stick to just the twelve days of Christmas, thank you very much.