I am working on several projects right now. I have been asked to make 40 very special and "creative" name tags for an event. They won't take long because there are only 40 of them. I can probably finish them in an afternoon, but the planning stage always takes a week. I have at least a dozen different ideas for them and have played with these ideas, rejecting some and setting aside others for further consideration. I just have to decide on one and get going. John is antsy for me to make a decision because he has offered to do the cutting and part of the assembly. I think he likes to do repetitive work. Doing this kind of work is so far into his comfort zone which harkens back to him kitting up for 160 or more high school art students every day. I think he misses it even though he adamantly denies this.
When I was growing up, we always had to go around the Thanksgiving table telling everyone what we were grateful for. I could always tell by my mother's face whether I had passed the test of being grateful enough. As my own kids got older, the ritual brought groans and jokes, mostly at my expense, but they always indulged me.
About a dozen years ago, I found myself in a very sad situation. My three kids had married and moved far away. I was newly divorced and had just sold my business. I hadn't decided what to do with myself or how to reinvent my life. A young family moved in across the street. I ignored them and wallowed in my self-pity. One Saturday morning, the dad and his 5 year old son showed up at my door. They were wearing matching tool belts. The dad asked if there were any little jobs they could do to teach his son to help his neighbors. It became a regular Saturday event. I noticed that they did not go to any of the other homes on our street. They were both good company and soon the mom came with them just to visit. We became very good friends. On Tuesday nights, the dad worked late and the mom, the little boy Will and I would go out to dinner. As we got into the car, Will would always ask me to tell him three things that made me happy that day. I realized that they were number one on the list. They turned me around with their kindnesses to me. I realized that I was actually pretty happy and ready to move on. The "name three things" ritual has stayed with me. I never go to bed without making my list of three. Now John has joined me in this evening gratitude. It is such a good, positive way to end the day.
Speaking of gratitude, Keith Lo Bue, who lives in Australia, told me that he was invited to a real American Thanksgiving dinner with other Americans. He said that he almost passed out with homesickness at the sight of pumpkin pie. It is definitely the small things that make one happiest.
I loved reading all your comments on holiday cards.
Today's question: What is your favorite part of Christmas?