Gratitude

by Phyllis Irene Radford

Raising a child has many wonderful rewards for which I am thankful.  My son has grown into a thoughtful, resourceful, respectful man.  He has a lovely wife and they have given me the two most beautiful grandchildren in the world.  He also owns a home and has a great job in the tech industry, which he loves, that is stable, and comes with benefits.

Unfortunately they live 600 miles away.  I do not get to see them every week, or every month.  If I’m lucky we manage to get together once a year, rarely during the holidays.

I have brothers and sisters and nephews and cousins all over the country.  Alas, only one brother is close—five houses down the street.  Sometimes that is a great advantage, others he’s too close.

And so our holiday celebrations have simplified.  That means I do not have to clean house to my mother’s or my daughter-in-law’s standards.  I do not have to spend a fortune on a huge turkey with all the fixings.  Nor do I have to spend days in the kitchen only to see my wonderful meal demolished in an hour and then get stuck with clean-up, again, and mountains of leftovers.  Nor do I have to put up with the disappointed expectations of my family: “Mom didn’t do it this way!” they moan and groan every year, more so since Mom isn’t with us anymore to correct their memories.

On Thanksgiving Day, my husband, brother, and cat will sit down together with a turkey breast and one drumstick, stuffing from a box, some yams, and Caesar salad, with pumpkin pie for dessert.  Then while I deal with the few leftovers that will go into the freezer or soup pot, my husband will go off to work—we are grateful for the holiday pay—and big brother will return to his home where he will fall asleep in front of the football game.  I will have the rest of the evening to myself.  Quiet.  Peaceful.

And ever so lonely.

There are two sides to this gratitude thing.  No matter how thankful we are for one aspect, the other leaves a gaping hole.

So we make the best of it and are grateful for the modern technology that allows us to speak to our far-flung families by cell phone, or web cam, or whatever.

On Thanksgiving Day my family will gather together to ask for blessings and be thankful for what we have, not what we can’t have.

Phyllis Irene Radford is a founding member of the Book View Café. Though raised in the seaports of America she was born in Portland, Oregon, and has lived in and around the city since her junior year in high school. She thrives in the damp and loves the tall trees.

For more about her and her fiction please visit her bookshelf here on BVC or her personal web page.

GRATITUDE:

Raising a child has many wonderful rewards for which I am thankful. My son has grown into a thoughtful, resourceful, respectful man. He has a lovely wife and they have given me the two most beautiful grandchildren in the world. He also owns a home and has a great job in the tech industry, which he loves, that is stable, and comes with benefits.

Unfortunately they live 600 miles away. I do not get to see them every week, or every month. If I’m lucky we manage to get together once a year, rarely during the holidays.

I have brothers and sisters and nephews and cousins all over the country. Alas, only one brother is close—five houses down the street. Sometimes that is a great advantage, others he’s too close.

And so our holiday celebrations have simplified. That means I do not have to clean house to my mother’s or my daughter-in-law’s standards. I do not have to spend a fortune on a huge turkey with all the fixings. Nor do I have to spend days in the kitchen only to see my wonderful meal demolished in an hour and then get stuck with clean-up, again, and mountains of leftovers. Nor do I have to put up with the disappointed expectations of my family: “Mom didn’t do it this way!” they moan and groan every year, more so since Mom isn’t with us anymore to correct their memories.

On Thanksgiving Day, my husband, brother, and cat will sit down together with a turkey breast and one drumstick, stuffing from a box, some yams, and Caesar salad, with pumpkin pie for desert. Then while I deal with the few leftovers that will go into the freezer or soup pot, my husband will go off to work—we are grateful for the holiday pay—and big brother will return to his home where he will fall asleep in front of the football game. I will have the rest of the evening to myself. Quiet. Peaceful.

And ever so lonely.

There are two sides to this gratitude thing. No matter how thankful we are for one aspect, the other leaves a gaping hole.

So we make the best of it and are grateful for the modern technology that allows us to speak to our far-flung families by cell phone, or web cam, or whatever.

On Thanksgiving Day my family will gather together to ask for blessings and be thankful for what we have, not what we can’t have.

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About Phyllis Irene Radford

Irene Radford has been writing stories ever since she figured out what a pencil was for. A member of an endangered species—a native Oregonian who lives in Oregon—she and her husband make their home in Welches, Oregon where deer, bears, coyotes, hawks, owls, and woodpeckers feed regularly on their back deck. A museum trained historian, Irene has spent many hours prowling pioneer cemeteries deepening her connections to the past. Raised in a military family she grew up all over the US and learned early on that books are friends that don’t get left behind with a move. Her interests and reading range from ancient history, to spiritual meditations, to space stations, and a whole lot in between. Mostly Irene writes fantasy and historical fantasy including the best-selling Dragon Nimbus Series and the masterwork Merlin’s Descendants series. In other lifetimes she writes urban fantasy as P.R. Frost or Phyllis Ames, and space opera as C.F. Bentley. Later this year she ventures into Steampunk as someone else. If you wish information on the latest releases from Ms Radford, under any of her pen names, you can subscribe to her newsletter: www.ireneradford.net Promises of no spam, merely occasional updates and news of personal appearances.

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