Thankful (edition 2). adjective. Defined by me as what we celebrate on Turkey Day. Also my emotion for the following things.
1. Kindred Spirits
I am surrounded by so many great people. Kind, funny, fabulous friends invest in my little life by watching movies and eating lunch and sitting in chapel and having fits of laughter while praying and talking about futures and feeding encouraging words. You are, as Anne Shirley says, kindred spirits, and I love you for it. And I’m sorry I’m often not a good friend in return. With my git ‘er done mentality, I often forget that the rock stars around me are as worthy of time as my to-do list. Friends, I’m thankful for you, and I want to work harder at showing it.
As I drove north for break, I was greeted by black skies and bright-burning stars. They proclaimed, “Welcome to the Middle of Nowhere,” and I loved them for it. At school, the night sky is wimpy, colored pink or navy or charcoal gray. On a clear night, a whole six stars might wink at you. In the country, night is thick and black. Countless stars streak across the sky. It’s stunning, and it’s one thing I miss as a city dweller.
3. Peanut butter
Peanut butter is an all-star. It plays well with others, pleasing the varied company of bananas and grape jelly and chocolate. It can hold its own when scooped straight from the jar (please tell me I’m not the only one who does this). It is delicious in all forms, from the natural stuff made with nothing but nuts to the highly processed, sugary junk. It can top bread and pancakes and ice cream and crackers and most of the worthwhile carbohydrates. It nourished me every morning of high school. It is a key ingredient in Peanut Butter Captain Crunch (or so they claim). It’s pretty much the best thing ever.
I love middle schoolers. Right now, I get to hang out with them all day long on Tuesday and Thursdays. It’s awesome. Exhausting. But awesome.
Those kids are hilarious and awkward and sweet and sincere and trying so darn hard. They simultaneously make me want to give hugs all around and pull all of my hair out. I would not like to be in their shoes. Actually, you could not pay me enough to go back to eighth grade.
This is me in middle school. Not my favorite season of life.
But I made it through the awkward years, and I want to tell these kids, “I survived and you can too!” I want to inspire them to actually give a rip about school and learning and being a good person. Or at the very least, get them to do their homework and read a book every once in a while.
I also adore children of the smaller variety.
On our first morning of Thanksgiving break, my sister and I got to go hang out at our old school and make pumpkin bread with the kindergarteners my mom teaches. (We also ate pizza with my dad and sang happy birthday to my little brother and saw great people. But that’s beside the point.)
Brita and I had four messy little munchkins who licked their hands and spilled sugar (and licked that off the table, too) and crinkled their noses at smelly pumpkin from a can. Could I handle that energy and messiness every day? No way. I prefer teaching kids who are capable of stirring without splattering the table and their neighbor and themselves with pumpkin. But our little group was precious and enthusiastic and way fun. They also reminded me how much I love little dudes, which I sometimes forget in the big-kid world of college.
5. The Nimbus 2000 (This is my car, for those who have not yet been acquainted.)
I know nothing about cars. Case in point: I tried to check my oil before driving home, and a nice boy stopped and helped me because I looked so clueless. (How do you get the hood open, again?) But even with my lack of vehicular knowledge, I know a few things about my dear Nimbus 2000. It’s named after Harry Potter’s first broomstick, which makes me smile. It has a charming (read: tacky) Christmas tree ornament dangling from the rearview mirror proclaiming that name to the world. It gets me to school and Target and home and other important places. And it has not busted on me yet, a gift for which I thank God every single day.
Happy Thanksgiving, friends.
On this holiday, I pray the mashed potatoes are abundant, the fellowship fills your heart with joy, and the blessings and gratitude overflow.