Tuesday, November 30, 2010
A Few Words on Gratitude
I believe it's time to discard the pumpkins when they catch their first snow. But, a certain little man refused to go to bed last night, so before we move those pumpkins to the compost bin and ourselves onto the Christmas season, humor me as I take a few minutes to write what I meant to post last night.
During the Thanksgiving season, I can't help but notice all the preparations happening around me (or by me and the members of my own household): the stocked carts of groceries; the composing of wish lists and lines of souls, braver than I, lined up outside of stores on the eve of Black Friday; cars being serviced and prepped for snow (okay, I haven't seen this done at our house, but I have thought about it). Thanksgiving, at times, also allows us to delight in abundance as we stuff ourselves with too much turkey and multiple desserts that look too good to pass us, and give thanks for those "scrapbook moments" - the new baby, that award at work, or family traveling from far and wide to be in the same room at once.
But, last night, during our last few hours of November, I found myself curled up on the couch with a sleepless boy and and ball of yarn, thinking about pizza sauce. Yes, pizza sauce. Monday night, I had planned on making a dish we call Tamale Pie. But somewhere along the way, I got this crazy notion that I might take a shower. I took both kids and a small pile of toys into the bathroom and told them they could play while I showered. I thought things were going swimmingly. In fact, if I had the ability to whistle what-so-ever, I would have been, right out of the shower and across the bathroom floor until I opened the closet door. Where I found Audrey, sprawled out on a pile of clothes, as if she had just raked them up into a huge jumping pile. Every shelf on Jason's side of the closet was clear, knocked to the floor. Ties, hats, shorts, and out-grown baby clothes that I had organized by size (well, somewhat) amassed from one corner to another. I was still refolding and sorting the mess when Jason let me know he was on his way home and asked about my plans for dinner. I told him that I planned to start making it after I finished reordering the closet. He offered to stop off for pizza on his drive home.
By the time he got home, that side of the closet was more organized than it's been in months (or since I began using those shelves for baby clothes storage). Jason dropped the pizza box onto the counter and I opened it to start plating dinner. That's when I saw the container of pizza sauce. The pizza usually comes with a container of garlic sauce, which I don't like. But I do like to eat my crusts and breadsticks with pizza sauce. Jason prefers cheese sauce. But there it was in the corner of the box, the garlic sauce swapped out for pizza sauce - a little moment of thoughtfulness. You won't see a picture of pizza sauce in my scrapbook (if I ever got around to finishing or beginning a scrapbook, that is), but perhaps, you should. Those little containers, and the thoughtfulness they stand for, make me smile every time. It's not quite the same as the blessing of a new baby. I'll grant you that. When everyone goes around the Thanksgiving table saying what they're thankful for, you're not going to get the same reaction from "pizza sauce" as you would for saying, "Aunt Rita being able to travel 1000 miles to be with us." (That is, if you have an Aunt Rita, if not, you might be better off saying pizza sauce, the looks you get will be just as odd). But sometimes, while calming a restless baby or preparing to enter a season known for joyous chaos, it's just as good to remember the little blessings. After all, what is life but a sum of all its little parts? So here's to pizza sauce and a season of Thanks followed by one of Joy. And, here's to you, and those little things that make you smile (even if it's the garlic sauce).