Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Largely, I think, because it is what I so want Christmas to be: a holiday centered on a feast, on gratitude, on family and friends and spending time with one another, undistracted by notions of material obligations. Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving an official national holiday during the Civil War because he felt it necessary that we should pause and give thanks for our many blessings even among (maybe especially among) our worst trials. That there are always things to be grateful for. This Thanksgiving is challenging me to actually focus on thanks; to live up to Mr. Lincoln's original intent.
This year I will be spending Thanksgiving in my hospital bed, with my wonderful husband by my side. I won't get to overstuff myself and then go sprawl on the couch and shoot the breeze with whatever family I'm surrounded by. I won't have my favorite pecan pie; the only dessert I anticipate is the pumpkin mousse the hospital will provide. Honey has the turkey ready and will bring it and some sides from Boston Market. We'll probably play a game on my computer and maybe a card game; watch a movie and just hang out. Sadness washed over me this afternoon around dinner time as my hospital dinner sat before me. All my family will be spending Thanksgiving surrounded by loved ones, except for me. My brother with his in-laws, my parents with aunts and uncles, my in-laws with Honey's extended family at a wedding in Texas we couldn't attend. And I haven't even left my side of the room since last Thursday. Last Thursday since I've crossed this curtain. I've had exceptionally high spirits since I arrived here 10 or 11 days ago, but they suddenly began to crumble when I pondered how different this Thanksgiving would be from all the others in my past.
I began to cheer up when Honey came by for his (near) nightly visit. Honestly, he's all I need. And it's only one Thanksgiving. Next Thanksgiving will be completely different. And what an extraordinary opportunity to really think about what I'm thankful for and offer genuine thanks for those blessings. It's better than do what I usually do, which is to give my blessings a perfunctory blip of a thought and then dive into the traditional meal!
So what am I thankful for this year? In no particular order:
- That we are going to have a baby.
- That the complications with this pregnancy have been spotted early enough to mitigate them.
- That we have a delivery plan for this baby in the face of these complications.
- That if, heaven forbid, we have to deliver this baby this week, it is viable and would most likely survive and hopefully, eventually, thrive.
- That I have wonderful doctors.
- That I have a great nursing staff.
- That I have the window side of the hospital room.
- That I have a friendly roommate.
- That we have so many generous and amazing friends who love Honey and me so much.
- That this child will probably be one of the most-loved in history when he or she arrives.
- That I have great health insurance. That I have insurance at all! (Seriously glad for this.)
- That I have, at most, another 7 weeks here. (There are other women on this floor here for far longer.)
- That I live in an area where great health care is available to me.
- That I have a dog at home who loves me.
- That Honey and I have loving families.
- That the baby, by all available standards, is healthy.
- That my health has stabilized.
- That the baby likes to have dance parties in the morning and random parkour practices during the day.
- That I'm just an elevator ride away from delivery if we have a genuine "must do now" emergency.
- That we have clothes for the baby to grow into, at home.
- That we got a dresser for free and a co-sleeper for a steal.
- That, despite my irritations with my job, I know they want to keep me on-tap, even though I don't qualify for FMLA. I feel less in the cold about that.
- That our domestic life is stable, safe and loving. It's easy to take that for granted until you hear the concerns of other women in OB-emergency worried about their partners.
- That I have had good spirits throughout this, so far.
- That I have time to nap during this third trimester when I really need it.
- That I got to have a great, refreshing rehearsal weekend retreat with my fellow performers right before the incident that landed me here.
- And mostly: That I have an incredibly loving and thoughtful husband who lives the definition of standing by your spouse "in sickness" as well as in health. He's had to do it several times in the last few years, and I just pray that I'm as good for him when it's him who needs me, as he has been for me.
Happy Thanksgiving, all!
* photo courtesy earlycj5 via Flickr Creative Commons