From Goofy to Grumpy to Grateful in a few short steps
I love all things fall, especially Halloween. This year, my love of Halloween revelry seemingly knew no bounds. I loved the Halloween parades. I loved being a part of the 4th graders’ school party. I loved that my middle-schooler still has a group of friends excited to dress up and go trick-or-treating together. I especially loved that my 4th grader talked his 15yo brother into taking him trick-or-treating and they had a blast together (and the 15yo managed to score plenty of candy on his own in just a goofy winter monster hat). I loved that our Haunted House party is now a neighborhood tradition and we actually had great weather for it for the first time in 6 years. I loved that, again, an early November birthday gave us a built-in excuse to drag out the festivities just a tad longer.
It was all really fun, but really exhausting so I paused in early November, right before taking down 3 weeks’ effort worth of decorations, for one bittersweet moment; sad that it’s over, glad that it happened and wishing I’d gotten more photographic proof of it all.
Now I am grumpy. I’m grumpy about the state of our house, which looks like chaos and a hoarder had a love child. I’m grumpy about the time change because it’s dark at, like, 10:30am. I’m grumpy about how the weather goes from crisp to bone-chilling cold in 8 seconds. I’m grumpy about the anxiety-inducing crush of holiday catalogs, store displays and “X more days of free shipping before Christmas” e-mail reminders.
My current to-do list looks like Santa’s “Bad List” scroll. Yes, I’m checking it twice because I can’t read most of it – even my penmanship is grumpy. My last social media post was a rambling, obscenity-laced rant aimed at a motorcycle (don’t ask). In a flash of self-awareness, I skipped an adults-only outing because I knew I’d have one drink, lose my already tenuous hold on an internal filter and instantly become the holiday season’s first social pariah.
My husband, who shall henceforth be known as “the most patient man on the planet” suggested a number of logical, well-intentioned ideas for breaking me out of my grumpiness. Obviously, I ignored them all. Sometimes, grumpiness just needs to run its course.
Then a funny thing happened. My youngest woke me at 4am with a bad dream and crawled into bed for reassurance with about six stuffed animals in tow. He burrowed in, threw an arm around my neck and just like that I was done being grumpy. I curled around his sleepy, cuddly little body, breathed in his still-babyish scent and my heart filled to bursting with gratitude.
I lay there reflecting on this life that “the most patient man on the planet” and I have built together. I am so grateful for all that we have – for our children and families, as nuts as they may sometimes be; for our good fortune and for our ability to pay it forward; for our support system of true friends, old and new; for this community we call home. Another crazy day was about to begin way too soon but grateful had replaced grumpy because I realized I wouldn’t have it any other way. May this all too brief season of Thanksgiving find its way into your heart the way it squirmed into mine (hopefully at a more reasonable hour)!