So far this November, I’m thankful that Facebook (at least on my newsfeed) hasn’t been deluged with that tiresome habit of people posting one new thing every day that they are thankful for. My eyes were sore from rolling them last year. I finally stopped reading when I saw, “I’m thankful for the love of my turtle.” Say what? Your turtle loves you? But even the obvious thank-you posts, like “I’m thankful for the love of my children” or “I’m thankful for clean air to breathe” get a little old.
I’m not suggesting that we should not be grateful for things like love and breathable oxygen, I’m just saying this: Can’t we dig a little deeper? Not in importance, because what is more important than love and air? (Well, perhaps an unwatched episode of Real Housewives of Beverley Hills on our DVR.) I mean, not even one nod to Facebook? Not once have I ever seen an honest Facebook appreciation post, like, “I’m thankful for the opportunity to be friends with people I actually thought were dead” or “I’m thankful for having an outlet to broadcast passive-aggressive insults thinly disguised as compliments.”
So I’m borrowing a page from late-night show host Jimmy Fallon, the man who has single-handedly resurrected the lost art of thank-you note writing, and dedicating this pre-Thanksgiving column to my four teenagers. It’s not in cursive, on a notecard, but it still counts. Here we go:
Thank you, teenagers, for standing in the kitchen and saying, “Can I make…” and not “Will you make me…” I don’t even care it it’s healthy; I only care that I’m not being asked to do it for you. For the record, if you were to say, “Can we make deep-fried hot dogs for an afterschool snack?” I’d say yes. And then if you said, “But can we make deep-fried hot dogs using our dog?” you’d still get a yes as long as you can do it without my assistance.
Thank you, teenagers, for being old enough to wash the car, pick up your shoes, socks, backpack and the dog’s poop. You are physically capable, and so I’ll let you, just like I let you use the ladder to get to the top of the playground slide once you were able to do that. Doing it yourself made us both happy then, and it makes us both happy now.
Thank you, teenagers, for occasionally not being able to stand the sight of me, or hear the sound of my voice. The feeling is mutual. I realize this is a natural stage of adolescence, and the level of disgust you feel just being in my general vicinity is evidence of your emerging sense of independence and vital to your survival and successful navigation of the world you’ll be slogging through by yourself in just a few short years. Feel the urge to storm out of the room in a huff? I’m especially thankful for that. Knock over my wine, and you’re dead.
Thank you, teenagers, for each smelling uniquely different, which allows me to identify the owner of random articles of clothing I find around the house. If it’s a sweatshirt smelling of strawberry fields deodorant wrapped in peach blossom bodyspray, cloaked in honeysuckle-rose room freshener, I know exactly who it belongs to. We’ll leave it at that.
Thank you, teenagers, for being old enough to form your own opinions and follow your heart. But the day I catch you watching Fox news or dating a guy with giant fake bull testicles hanging from his bumper, we will be having a talk.
Thank you, teenagers, for not a single one of you insisting I go to 6th grade science camp. It may have been because you knew I wasn’t sciency, or it may have been your emerging sense of independence. Whatever the reason, thank you for not making me prove to your dad that I could go four days without wine.
Happy Thanksgiving, teenagers, for giving me so many things to be thankful for.