It's Thanksgiving Eve, and Renta and the boys just left for the Epic Car Journey to Grandma's. I'm told it will take 10 hours, but because of the traffic I'm banking on around 12. Either way, I eagerly await the text that tells me they've arrived safely and are not foraging for sustenance just outside Nowhere, PA.
We made that drive after our wedding, in a rental van loaded with betrothal booty, and after we left Ohio I-80 abruptly became a generic, wooded void. From Hubbard to Williamsport, the only thing remotely recognizable, that gave even the slightest clue to the state we were in, was the turnoff to Punxsutawny. It was a creepy time, made creepier when I returned the van and realized we'd made the trip without a spare tire. If we'd gotten a flat, we might still be there, preparing a Thanksgiving meal of fiddlehead ferns and roadkill.
I'm not sure I ever specifically mentioned here that Thanksgiving was the Day My Marriage Died. For various reasons--some monetary, others not--she took the kids to her folks' place without me, and when we spoke by phone, two years ago tonight, it didn't go well. When I think of all we've been through since then, I can't believe it's been only two years. It sort of feels like 10. Or 100.
And now that the world is burning down around us, and New Yorkers are bracing for the long-term effects of "doing more with less," I've noticed that my gratitometer has been radically recalibrated:
- I'm thankful I have a job.
- I'm thankful I like my job.
- I'm thankful my job affords me lots of time to goof around with my kids.
- I'm thankful my kids are still young enough to think goofing around is cool.
- I'm thankful I sort of like my ex-wife.
- I'm thankful my Citigroup stock has doubled in value over the past few days (if I cash it in now, I think I can afford to pay off that parking ticket).
- I'm thankful for my mother's pecan pie, which is stupendously good and does not contain Karo syrup and whose recipe she will not share for love or money. Because she is weird.
- I'm thankful I can write that my mother is weird and not fear reprisals when she reads it.
- I'm thankful I can live in the present.
And right now, as I prepare to meet up with my family tomorrow, I'm thankful my brother has a drum set, a fridge full of beer, and cool neighbors.