Sunday, November 30, 2008

Giving thanks

Thanksgiving was a blast. We drove down to LA to be with my husband’s insanely large family – I believe this is the first time in ten years that we’ve been there instead of here for Thanksgiving.

My mother-in-law lives twenty minutes from Disneyland. Go ahead, guess what we did Wednesday?

That’s right. Disneyland. The Denizens had a blast. Thanks to the threat of rain (which never really hit the park much…a few heavy drops a couple times, but the actual rain-rain hit us Tuesday night), the crowds were really light, and thanks to the handicap pass, Captain Adventure got to do a lot of really fun stuff. He went on Toy Story (which he didn’t really get) and Peter Pan (which he did totally get) and Soarin’ Over California (, he loves that ride soooooo much!).

Carousels? So last year. He wanted to go on the boats, and the airplanes, and the “castle” ride…which doesn’t actually exist but see, the castle is currently heavily decorated with lights? Which means it must be a ride! So we kept wheeling back and forth through the castle gate showing him that it was not a ride.

We also went on Pinocchio and Snow White more than a few times, because they had almost no lines whatsoever. The handicap pass is not like a magic pass that gets you immediately onto the more popular rides – it cuts your wait at least a bit and occasionally dramatically (Toy Story, for example, had over an hour wait but the pass got us on in literally about ten minutes) and lets you wait in a quieter area (the real selling point to yours truly), but it doesn’t mean you just saunter in and hop right on.

You have to wait, too. And for rides like Peter Pan and Mr. Toad, where the “normal” wait time is between thirty and ninety minutes, you could very well wait twenty or more minutes in the ‘handicapped’ line. (I know, big whoop – but when you’re an autistic four year old, even ten minutes can lead to mind-numbing screaming and the parents having to beat a hasty retreat, which of course leads to even more screaming, now in stereo, because the very disappointed sisters are adding their voices to the chorus…)

So! As the lines got longer, we gravitated toward rides with shorter lines or “almost immediate” handicap access.

He had another awesome day at the park. He had another day of new words and happiness and he still loves the Tiki Room (I spotted a Tiki bird pin on a cast member’s lanyard and traded for it – Captain Adventure wore it for the next two days straight, pointing to it and yelling, “Hey! Is BOIRD! Is Eeeki BOIRD!” at people.)

After the fireworks, we went back to our hotel room and ordered in the Thanksgiving pizza. Captain Adventure ate one slice, threw away his plate, thought about things for a minute, staggered like a prizefighter after a fifteen round loss to the pizza box, selected another slice, stumbled to the trash to retrieve his plate, put the pizza on the plate and took a tiny bite of it (the pizza, not the plate), meandered back to the bed so he could sit and eat and watch cartoons…

Captain Adventure Can't Party

THUMP! All partied out.

The next day, we bundled everybody up and puttered over to Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving. I can’t begin to describe the combination of weird and wonderful it was, to be sitting at the kitchen table with my knitting, a glass of really decent red wine, and a whack of family I don’t see that often going, “Blah! Blah blah blah blah! NO WAY! BLAH are you serious?! HAHAHAHAHAHA! BLAH BLAH BLAH! I KNOW!!” while the scent of a turkey I did not have to purchase, store, defrost, trim or baste every twenty minutes for four and a half hours baked itself to perfection in an oven I did not have to clean before or after the event.

Funny the things that pop to mind when you start trying to catalog the things for which we are thankful. For me, it usually ends up being a “too much to list here” kind of thing. Even with things being a bit less flush than usual, I still have so very much to be thankful for…starting with the fact that I know that I do.

It’d be easy to forget right now, I think. It’s been a rough year in a lot of ways. It’s going to continue being rough for the foreseeable future. I’d hoped to have a looser budget going into the holidays – instead, I’m trying to nip and tuck as hard as I can, trying to hold onto what cash we have as long as I can, in case.

But we’re still here. Everybody is reasonably healthy (ear infections and coughs aside), we have plenty to eat and drink, we can afford new jackets for the ever-growing children, we can easily manage our mortgage and good grief, are we ever busy with fun and inexpensive things to do next month!

Life is good. Life is very, very good – even when “times” are hard. Sure, we’re not going to be getting that better TV I’d hoped for this year, nor are we replacing the mostly-works DVD player, I won’t be calling up the satellite company and upgrading our program so that we have the “good” cartoon channels again, and there will not, in fact, be a gaming system under the tree. (Darn. I really wanted one. Uh, for the kids…)

But thankfully, I don’t really mind. I’m thankful that my life has taught me that none of that matters. I’m thankful that the things I really do need I already have in abundance, and am in no danger of having to go without.

I have love, and laughter. I have family. I have friends. When it comes to “stuff,” I have enough, which is not only as good as a feast, but better. Gorging tends to lead to hangovers and regrets and solemn vows that we will never, ever do that again.

Having “merely” enough is deeply satisfying, requires less Tylenol (and dusting) and allows us to cherish the things we do have even more.

Last but not least, thanks for being part of my lengthy list of stuff to be grateful for, gang. I have the best readers in the blogosphere, and don’t think I don’t appreciate that.

Because I do. Every single day.


(formerly) no-blog-rachel said...

Aw...nice Thanksgiving post and the story of Captain Adventure culminating in his mid-pizza crash is priceless!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful 'grateful' post! I am thankful for you, too, and your upbeat willingness to share life - all of it - with us out here. The picture of Captain Adventure is too, too sweet.

(PS - I'm hoping you'll share some of your inexpensive activities planned for the month... I could do with some ideas!)

Misstea said...

Love (1)

Captain A's exhaustion is adorable. It's great that he had such a good time.

Anonymous said...

I am thankful that you had this wonderful holiday with your family. You have dealt with so much, it's great that you had this special time.

Dysd Housewife said...

Excellent face plant Captain A!! Sounds like you had a fab T-day and made lots of memories! congrats on a holiday well done! :)

Marty52 said...

Sounds like you had a grand Thanksgiving! Thank you for your blog, I do so enjoy reading your words.

Anonymous said...

There is an urban legend that the best day (i.e., the least crowded day) to go to Disneyland is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. This was something I heard of about 20 years ago. I don't know if it is still true, but I just wanted to bring it up. Isn't it amazing, that even when DLand isn't at its crowded best, you still have to wait in line. Glad you and the gang all had a good time. Best - Hester from Atlanta

Jen said...

Love the pic of captain Adventure and I'm glad he had such an awesome day. He is such a sweetie! :)

And your thankful list is wonderful. you always make me think. *HUGS*

Leoal said...

Wow, you clean your oven?

(anyway, happy Thanksgiving from Canada!)

Science PhD Mom said...

So happy you had a blast for Thanksgiving! Loved the pic of Captain Adventure crashed out after his day at Disneyland. Sounds like a great weekend!

Yarnhog said...

That picture says it all: Day well lived.