Monday, November 29, 2010

I'm the Ebenezer Scrooge of Thanksgiving

I've been a bad blogger lately.  Bad blogger.  No cookie!

Haven't felt like there's been much to say, really.  And the whole, "Here's what I'm thankful for" Thanksgiving diatribe just feels rather trite.  I give thanks every day, not just one day in 365.

Maybe I'm just feeling cynical.  I know I've done thanky posts for Thanksgiving before (although right now I'm too lazy to go back in the archives and look).  My cynicism this year started on Veteran's Day, when Facebook was flooded with wall posts about thanking veterans and being so grateful for them, blah blah blah.  It all seemed overdone, overplayed.  It felt like one person took the time to change their status in recognition of Veteran's Day, all their friends saw it and thought, "Damn. I better put something up lest everyone think I don't appreciate veterans."  As the day wore on and more and more people felt it necessary to say the same thing over and over, I grew more agitated.  I tried talking myself out of my internal griping.  First of all, in the grand scheme of things, what people post on Facebook is really not important.  Second, if they want to thank veterans, who am I to say that's wrong?  Third, it's none of my business.  Fourth, do I really not have more important things to worry about?

Instead of adding my thoughts to the FB pile, I wrote my annual thank you e-mail to my uncle who served in Vietnam.  It felt more personal that way, and felt (probably incorrectly) that maybe it somehow made more of a difference to an actual veteran.  As opposed to the legions of FBers who are most likely not veterans of either WWII or the mess we can sum up as Indochina.  (Not that more recent veterans - Gulf War, Afghanistan, etc. don't deserve recognition...just that they're more likely to get it immediately and personally from family and close friends, not FB acquaintances.) (And don't get me started on how this country completely f*cked up how we treated our returning Vietnam vets.)

So when I saw the Thanksgiving posts start to crop up in Facebook, I gagged and swore off the site for the remainder of the weekend.  Again, I'm not saying it's wrong to be thankful on Thanksgiving.  I guess I'm just fed up with the overwhelming idea that in order to be properly thankful, one must update her social networking status to assure everyone that she is, indeed, thankful.  It feels like that's the easy way out, the cursory, perfunctory "Give public thanks...check!" act that carries no real meaning.  It's like standing by the Salvation Army kettle and yelling at passersby, "Okay, I'm doing it!  I'm making a donation!  Look at me...I'm helping others!  Here I go...sticking my money in the kettle!" instead of discreetly folding up a twenty and dropping it in as you walk by.  Instead of logging into FB and spouting off, wouldn't it be better to wrap your arms around someone you love and whisper, "Thank you for being you."  Isn't that a much better use of your time?

I'm not entirely cranky for the holidays.  Zozer and I had an incredible weekend, cleaning out her room and the library, putting up the Christmas tree, and setting up the train board.  Then, Saturday night, a new tradition started that I already love.  I didn't hang a single ornament on the tree this year.  Instead, I camped out on an ottoman and unpacked/hooked ornaments for M and Zoe to hang.  I made two piles as I completed them: fragile (M) and sturdy (Zoe).  They went back and forth between me and the tree, finding the right spot for each ornament and working together.  "Hang this one high, Daddy!"  I was so busy just trying to keep up with them that I didn't pay a bit of attention to how or where they were hanging the ornaments.

When it was all done, and the empty boxes were re-packed in their bins, I sat back and viewed the tree for the first time.  It.  Was.  Beautiful.  Evergreen perfection.  I felt like I was unwrapping my first Christmas present, made by those I love the most.  I enjoy looking at our tree, and all the ornaments that mean so much to us.  There are three that Zoe made last year.  Some from events that we attended, or places that we visited, starting with the sand-filled sphere we picked up on our honeymoon cruise.  A tin tiger I bought the year I graduated from Mizzou.  The little owl Zoe and I bought at World Bird Sanctuary when Daddy was in Europe (the first time!).  A small, pewter C6 Corvette we picked up at the National Corvette Museum since 2010 is The Year M's Dream Came True.  The ornament of a man riding a bike and pulling a child in a carrier that I gave to M and Zoe last year after two forays on Highway 40.  The plain, shiny ball ornaments M and I bought together for our very first Christmas tree. The silver pawprint that's engraved "Tachi."  So many truly wonderful memories, all right there in one place.


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