My “Gratitudes”

If you aren’t Canadian, you may not realize that we celebrated our Thanksgiving last weekend. I won’t hold that against you. I am too busy holding a grudge against the Vallarta grocery stores for not stocking canned pumpkin early enough. I mean, Canadians bring a lot of tourist dinero here, and all we ask is to have the opportunity to eat pumpkin pie on our holiday.

Well, that’s not ALL we ask if I’m honest. I’d also like the opportunity to not drown in my sweat while I bake it, but I doubt that’s going to happen either.

Last weekend, our family gathered with several other Canadian-by-birth and Canadian-by-awesomeness families to eat turkey and drink Fireball (you have your traditions, and we have ours). I had carefully hoarded the last can of pumpkin that my mom brought me last year, so we had the pie, too.

After all the eating, zipper-easing, and eating again, we packed it up and went home. We may have been physically uncomfortable, but emotionally we were basking in the afterglow of fellowship with good people.
And that, to me, is Thanksgiving in a pie shell. When you live far from your family and your home country, often you have to change some of the customs you practiced around your favorite holiday.

We can’t always have pumpkin pie. We can’t walk around in our favorite sweaters kicking fall leaves around. I can’t even get into an argument with my brother, because neither one of us likes talking on the phone.

But you can get together with good people and eat great food. And, above all, you can experience the kind of gratitude that only comes with laughter and Fireball. It doesn’t matter where you live and what the humidex says.
So, in keeping with the holiday, I thought I’d list some “gratitudes” in my column this week. However, I am the mother of teenagers, so I think gratitudes might be a bit grandiose for how I’m feeling. Maybe we could call them Simple Pleasures:
1.) I’m here in Vallarta, watching news about a massive snowstorm in Winnipeg. My family is ok. So it’s fine to feel grateful for not being there.
2.) No one has asked me to make them anything to eat in over three hours.
3.) Never mind the above.
4.) I work with young children, which means I have one place I can go where people think I’m an expert, and I’m pretty.
5.) When you have teens, no one minds (in fact they prefer) if you go to bed at 9 pm.
6.) Tortillas. Beans. Salsa. Queso Oaxaca. Queso panela.
7.) Queso (it also deserves its own).

I suppose this is the point at which I should get serious and say that I’m thankful for my precious family, my health, and the bright blue sky. Ok, yes, in all seriousness, I’m grateful for all of those things. But I’m also thankful for the many ways that life hands me a good laugh when I need it. Sometimes (!) family life is chaotic, and I have to be a Mean Mom who everyone will hate forever (or at least until later in the evening). Sometimes my back hurts, and my head aches, and I can’t digest all the cheese. Sometimes (not often in Vallarta, I grant you) the sky isn’t even blue.

But I can almost always find a reason to laugh about it. And that’s most definitely something for which I am forever grateful.