As any person who has been used as a human Kleenex can tell you, being a parent is a thankless job. I mean, I literally have to threaten people to get them to say, “thank you,” as I serve them meals and clean up after them.
But with all the craziness in the world, and especially on Thanksgiving day, gratitude is what we need to have right now. I am so thankful that I am a mother. I wouldn’t trade their chocolate-covered kisses and slimy, snot-covered hugs for anything in the world.
1. Everything becomes an opportunity for magic. Fog becomes dragon’s breath, plum thickets can become battlefields with ogres, sticks become sabers, frost becomes fairy dust.
2. Sunday morning snuggles—this is when we play the “Who Can Be the Quietest, Longest?” game. It usually only last for about five minutes before the wrestle-mania starts, but it’s a sweet and silent five minutes.
3. I get to relive all of the old movies that remind me of my own childhood. We are currently making our way through Gremlins, The Princess Bride, The Goonies, and The NeverEnding Story. It’s so totally awesome and rad.
4. I have the privilege of getting to teach them how to be decent people. The world is in need of some more decent people.
5. Every week, we pretend Donut Sunday is “for the kids.”
6. There’s nothing quite like Christmas morning with kids. The aftermath of the whole thing is usually a little frightening, but the toy-induced frenzy is super fun and magical while it lasts.
8. I get to make instant friends with all of the other people who have to sit and watch kids play soccer badly for endless hours of their life.
9. I’m a part of someone’s “firsts”—first step, first lost tooth, first bike ride, first day of school, first crush, first face-plant into a street pole.
10. Laughing at bodily functions is cool again. Of course, I have to act like a proper parent in front of company or grandparents, but when it’s just me and my husband and the heathens we created, we giggle at farts and see who can burp the loudest.
11. I realize how much my own parents love me. Then I feel kinda guilty about how I treated them when I was 14.
12. I get to witness the moment when my kids find their funny, like, when my 4-year-old threw out a well-timed “Hell yeah!” in approval of his dessert one night, and well, we all laughed. For a very long time.
13. There’s the Halloween candy. My kids don’t even know that peanut butter cups exist.
14. I get to do things that only kids do—things we all secretly think they are awesome—such as riding a carousel, going to the science museum, feeding the giraffes at the zoo, spending the whole day at Six Flags, playing at the pool, and watching parades.
15. I have rock-star status. For a brief moment in time in a child’s life, they believe their parents invented everything good that has ever happened in the world. And we let them believe this.
17. We always get two orders of egg rolls, even though we know the kids won’t touch them, and oh well, I guess we’ll have to eat them instead.
18. I get to look at things through fresh eyes: Cows are fascinating. The changing leaves are mind-blowing. A found rock is lucky. A dropped eyelash is a wish.
19. I have someone to wrestle with, like, full-on wrestling, tickling, dog-pile craziness. There is nothing quite like laughing so hard that someone in your family is for-sure going to wet their pants.
20. Parents get to share their passions. Whether it’s football or skiing or picking your nose, if you love it, your kids will think it’s pretty cool too (at least until they hit puberty and decide you are an embarrassment to planet Earth).
So, on this day of being thankful, I am thankful most of all that I am a parent. It’s a great gig if you can get it. I’m going to go hug my kids now and then bribe them into taking a nap so that I can hear my own thoughts for just a couple of minutes.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!