Okay, so I'm thinking about Thanksgiving, and of course I have to consider how lucky I am. Family, friends, health . . . check, check, check. But then there are the unsung heroes of Thanksgiving:
1. The pig snout carved into my Shabbat dining room table. Yep, you saw that correctly. Ours is probably the only practicing Jewish family in the whole world that eats Shabbat dinner each week off a beautiful table that has a pig snout carved into it. Next to it is a carefully carved name: Annie Rose. “HOW did you know it was me who made the pig?” she asked, astounded, when I confronted her. Many people offered me tips on how to restore the wood. I wouldn’t dare. That table is priceless.
2. The instructions for how to make coffee that my husband hand wrote next to the container of beans. I literally STILL read the instructions about how to make the coffee every single morning, because before I have my caffeine, I cannot think. Must. have. caffeine.
3. The washer and dryer shoved onto the same floor as the bedrooms. With three kids, two of whom are the messiest eaters on the planet, we have a sh*t ton of laundry. I’ve saved at least 100 hours of time by not having to go up and down the stairs to the basement with loads of laundry. The downside? It would have been a great excuse to give myself more Weight Watchers points. But folding all those clothes surely deserves a few points, right?
4. Baby Cleo’s hair. Because no matter how crappy your day is going, you cannot help but smile when you see Cleo’s hair. Which means you have to smile like 500 times a day, even on your worst days.
5. Below-the-waist jeans. I don’t know if this happens to tall people, but when you are as short as I am, your stomach poofs to something approximating late second-trimester of pregnancy after eating a meal. Or after eating an apple. Or a carrot stick. So thank God for below the waist pants, which leave plenty of room for comfortable belly expansion. Some of you may buy low-riding pants to look sexy. I buy them so I can breathe after lunch.
6. Talking Caller ID. I have easily saved a month of my life that I could never get back by not picking up on the ten million solicitation calls that we receive. Caller ID was the best thing ever invented for a mom trying to get out of the house. At least when I’m trying to balance 16 different bags, coats, hats, mittens, boots, three kids, my phone, my coffee, and my computer bag, I can safely ignore the phone when I hear that it is the university calling AGAIN about donating more money to the enrichment campaign. Tell ya what, Northwestern. If you donate a kid-loving student from 8:40 to 9:00 am each morning to help me get the little monkeys out the door, I’ll donate a million bucks to your campaign. If I had a million dollars. Which I don’t.
7. DVR. Ten years ago, when we didn’t have DVR, the bedtime routine for our oldest daughter had to start by 4 pm on the nights 24 was on. We pulled off Jack-Bauer-worthy feats to make sure the house was in radio silence by the time Jack Bauer came on. At least now, the kids are allowed to eat dinner when it’s dark out.
8. Google map on my iPhone. This may be the most life-changing thing I’ve experienced. On one of my work trips this year, my phone fell somewhere under the seat while I was on the highway. But I turned the radio off and listened as my phone shouted out directions to me from the bowels of my car, and I arrived at my destination on time. AMAZING. Truly.
9. Find my iPhone. During the above-mentioned trip, I could not find my F-ing phone, even though I knew it was in my car, because it had told me where to go. So I called my husband back in Chicago and asked him to play Find My iPhone, and I followed the pings till I found it wedged alongside an empty Danimal bottle and a handful of rubber bands from those damn Rainbow Looms. And then there are the 10,000 times that I am sure my iPhone has been stolen, but Find My iPhone proves that it was actually on my own person. How is it possible to lose a phone in my own coat? Repeatedly?
10. A couch in the kitchen instead of a table. We elected not to put a table in our kitchen and went instead with a couch. Best furniture decision ever. When I am an old woman, it won’t be cleaning the food stains off the couch that I remember. Nope. I’ll be smiling as I remember finding time in the middle of all the chaos to sit on that couch and read books with my girls. Every single day. Board books when they were babies. Picture books for the early years (and still with little Cleo). And now, with my two bigger girls, we grab chapter books and tangle on top of each other like a pile of puppies, legs and arms akimbo, as we read in companionable silence. Together as a family.
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