I am preparing my end of the year numbers for my day job and thought I should probably spend a minute this holiday taking a personal inventory as well. Instead of posting random shit I am thankful for on Facebook everyday to fill space, I decided to just draft this blog.
I said I would blog about a variety of topics but I find I have used my space so far getting some of the frustration out over the political climate lately. So the first thing I am thankful for is the dead air on the news opinion shows. Since the election the talk has ground to a halt and they are back to filling 24 hours a day with stuff like Lockup: Raw or passing out food stamp diet tips.
Secondly, and more important is my family. The Thanksgiving weekend sort of kicked off (Wednesday) with my 20th wedding anniversary. My wife of 20 years and my 12 year old daughter deserve a big thanks. They put up with me and my crazy, which is more than a guy like me deserves. My brother and his wife and daughter bring me joy every time I follow their antics on the Facebook. My wife’s family, whom I’ve known since I was 17 also deserve a shout out. Not just the outlaws, but the entire Canadian contingency. I’ve watched some of them from the time they were younger than my daughter to today, as they enter parenthood themselves. They have all taught me about the importance of family, something that was sort of missing in my life, unbeknownst to me at a younger age.
I lost my mother earlier this year and while I am deeply saddened and more affected than I thought, I am also a little bit thankful. She was in a nursing home for several years and suffered from emphysema, COPD and other issues. Explaining the suffering in the end is difficult but anyone who has endured similar circumstances can understand what I mean. She was born to a military family at the end of WWII and her childhood in the rural mountains of upstate New York was difficult at best. My mother was a lot of things, some of them good and some of them not so good. But in the end she was my mother and seeing her suffer on a daily basis was not pleasant. One thing that took me a long time to understand is that she was a fighter. Her long time doctors told her she had 4 months to live in June 2009 and she fought until August 2012. More than anything I am thankful for the time we had together at the end. I spent at least 2 days a week visiting with her over those last 3 years and learned more about her life and my life than ever before. It wasn’t always pleasant or easy but it was worthwhile. This coming Christmas we will honor her final wishes and I am thankful for the fact that I can do this for her.
There are a variety of other things and people I am thankful for as well. My boys Dave and Mike at the Studio; Dan for all his help, guidance and trust; Carol for her patience and hard work with Madelyn; my company for the awesome job I have and the life it allows me to live; music for the enjoyment, frustration, challenge and pleasure it brings me; Rob for allowing me the opportunity to treat his art as my own personal lab experiment; the handful of close friends my wife and I have (Nick and Leslie, Jessica and Bryan, Rob and Gentry, Carol and George, etc) and Donica Knight and family for allowing me the opportunity to see how a star is born (remember that name people and buy her debut CD this Christmas on I-tunes).
Lastly I am thankful for whatever higher spiritual being YOU believe in. I don’t necessarily subscribe to organized religion, mainly due to the war, famine, economic disparity and abuse that has occurred in the name of one group or another. But I’ve seen too many unexplained incidents in life to think that there isn’t some form of higher being out there. Call him God, Yahweh, Buddha, Mohammed (don’t start a riot), Hindu Kush or whatever. Just believe that there is something bigger than you or me out there. On my mom’s last day, I spent the afternoon with her at the nursing home. She fell asleep around dinner and I went home as usual. I was sitting in my home office/den at 9pm that night and felt an overwhelming urge to go see her. I couldn’t shake it and I drove the 10 miles to the nursing home, where she was still asleep in her room. I stayed there until midnight, watching American Dad and Family Guy reruns, and just talking to her. When I left I looked at her, told her I loved her in a way I haven’t since I was small child and left. 4 hours later I got the call I have been half expecting for 3 years. I’ve dwelled on that feeling ever since and have no explanation for it. Thanks to my wife, who urged me to trust it and go see her. Thanks to the nursing home staff who befriended Mom and treated her with some dignity late in life when it matters most and thanks to all of you who sent their love and support in the darkest time I have yet to experience. Without you all, I am nothing. Thanks for spending a few minutes of your day with me on random weeks reading my thoughts and frustrations, even if you disagree with me. As we enter the holiday season please take some time to remember the real reason for the season……creating memories of a lifetime with your loved ones.