Personal Statement

Personal Statement

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving - Days 1 Through 5

A lot of folks are putting daily posts on Facebook, advising everyone and no one of what they are thankful for.

I am one of those folks.

The idea is to post something every day through November 30th.  I thought I'd share my "thanks list" here as well.  And, yes, I know that it's already Day 5.  Hence the title of this post.

Here goes:

Day 1:  I am thankful that my middle schooler is happy and thriving in sixth grade, which is not something that we took for granted, or even expected.  So grateful, and so aware that things just as easily could go the other way (and have, for some friends' kids).

Day 1 happened to coincide with C's Whiz Quiz meet.  I believe that this is our fifth meet, and our fifth win.  Watching C and his friends work as a team (and they make a great team, obviously - see "undefeated," above), I could not help but notice how much in his element he was.  And with good reason, because the other kids seem to be as well-adjusted, sweet-natured and full of personality as he is.  They were all very supportive of each other, and the closest that I saw to negativity was a little sarcastic ribbing from time to time, when someone made a bone-headed mistake.  The errant thought ran through my brain:  this is like a Disney Channel version of middle school.  I halfway expected them to break into song.

And then it dawned on me that C and his friends, collectively, are straight out of Disney central casting.

A:  Light-skinned African-American boy, dimples, eyelashes out to THERE - Corbin Bleu, minus the bushy mop of hair.
The Spelling Whiz (I am blanking on her name, but I call her the Spelling Whiz, because she is the team's go-to on spelling questions):  Raven-Symone.  With a little bit of that girl from the jump-roping movie who occasionally guest-starred on Sweet Life.
W:  The kid on Waverly Place who turns into a werewolf.  Has a British accent?  (The werewolf kid, not W.  W's local.)
The other A:  Mitchell Musso, but shorter - short like the other kid on Hannah Montana, who's sort of annoying and runs the beachside concession stand.
N:  Rocky from Shake it Up.  Heck, she's even dressed sort of like Rocky, since it's a no dress code day - denim vest over striped t-shirt, ruffled skirt, Ugg boots.

It then occurs to me that I watch WAAAAY too much Disney Channel with the kids.  But I'm happy that C's happy.

Day 2:  I am happy that I have the opportunity to watch my younger child come into his own. 

Believe me, it's been a long time coming.  But more and more PJ is stepping out of Big Bro's shadow.  And we like what we see.  We knew that he was hilarious, and perceptive in terms of being empathetic and a good reader of people, but now we see that he's pretty clued-in in general, and more like his brother than we ever realized.  One similarity:  an obsession with creative writing.  During Whiz Quiz, PJ had a pad of paper, and throughout the meet he would write out short stories - most no more than a paragraph -using quiz questions for topics.  On a few occasions, he only wrote down a couple of words, I guess as story prompts.  My favorite:  "rainforest canape."  Yes, he meant canopy, but I appreciated "canape" more.  Perhaps he has a future in catering?  Seriously, though, he's a top-notch inventive speller, and as a friend pointed out the other day it's a good sign when kids use words that they can't spell yet - even a better sign when they do a good job of spelling them phonetically.

So, in a nutshell, my younger child is currently the most fascinating person that I know.  And I dig that.

 Day 3:  I am thankful that my parents and grandmother, Parnell's mother, brothers and sister-in-law (and our soon-to-be second sister-in-law) all live within a thirty-mile radius.  Okay, I won't lie - this one went on the list the same day that my mom babysat the kids, on our home turf.  The only thing better than free babysitting is free babysitting that comes to you!  But I have the thought frequently that my children are so much better off than I was, from the standpoint of having the opportunity to truly get to know their family.  We were in close proximity to my mom's family for a short time in my early childhood, but then we moved from California to Texas, and thereafter family face time was infrequent.  Contrast my kids' experience:  because my grandmother lives with my parents, they have benefited from multiple visits by my uncles and aunt, who come into town to see their mom, but both boys are utterly convinced that they are the attraction.  They also have very little concept of the fact that my mom's siblings are not, actually, factually, local.  "Mom, can you invite Uncle George to my seventh birthday?"  "Well, honey, I can, but I don't know if he'll come."  "Why not?"  "Um, he lives in Virginia?"  "Ohhhh.  When did he move there?"

It's cute.  And, most definitely, a blessing.

Day 4:  I cherish my husband - even when we are renovating our home largely against our will and on a breakneck timetable and are therefore fighting like cats and dogs on a routine basis.  He is my best friend, and - somewhat notably - he is a great friend to my friends.  Case in point:  a few weeks back, a Woman's Club cohort mentioned that she'd heard that Parnell would be the auctioneer for one of the Junior Woman's Club departments of which I used to be a member.  Huh.  News to me, probably news to him, although not outside the realm of possibility for him to talk directly to my buds.  The Woman's Club cohort looked embarrassed:  "Well, I'm sure that they said that they were going to ask him.  Maybe they haven't gotten around to it yet."  On the way home, I called him and recounted the conversation, and his response was basically verbatim what I thought it might be:  "When would it be?  ON A THURSDAY?  I have tennis.  I don't want to miss tennis.  Which department?  Who's in that department?  Oh, Melissa, Julie, Tammy, and that group?  Yeah, I'd skip tennis for them."

And so he did.  He was great fun as auctioneer (and darned successful - goal was $3,600 for live and silent auctions and raffle combined, and he brought the live auction in at just under $3,400).  And he had fun.  I consider myself so fortunate that I don't have to entertain him in social settings with my friends - to the contrary, I can go an hour without even bumping into him, if the room is big enough, and I'm working it in one direction and he's moving in the other.  I also consider myself fortunate that I don't ever doubt his motives when he is chatting up one of my friends.  Basically, I see my good friends as sisters, and I think he considers them his sisters-in-law.  He never had sisters, but he would have been a great "brother to a sister."  So he is making up for lost time now, with my buddies.  Confident that he would bend over backwards for any of them - in a strictly nonsexual way.

Day 5:  I am thankful for my coworkers.  We're an odd group - individually and collectively - but, really, who isn't?  What is rare is the fact that I respect each and every one of them - there's no one in the mix who isn't a person of integrity, and it's notable that I can, and do, recommend their services to my clients (including friends who are clients) completely without reservation.  Trust me, I've seen how things are in other law firms, and in other offices in general, and all is not perfect in Paradise.  As a group, we're pretty darned close to perfect, even with (and perhaps because of) our imperfections.

And then there are those moments when I really appreciate them - like Thursday at lunch, the theme of which, evidently, was "let your mind drift into the gutter and stay there."  It all started with a conversation about sexual harassment in the workplace generally, and then someone segued into a story about a judge hitting on a female attorney, which inspired the comment:  "He enjoyed having her on his docket."

And then the gauntlet was thrown:

"He was impressed by her oral arguments."

"He reviewed her briefs in great detail."

Yes, there was much snickering.  Yes, we are all huge geeks.  Refer to the part about us being lawyers.  But it's fun to be reminded that we are all in this geeky business together.  And it's refreshing to be around folks who can laugh.  (Refer to the part about being lawyers once again.)

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