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  • Writer's picturemaggiehsmith07

Thanksgiving Eve

Well. Here we are. Thanksgiving eve. Every year at this time I say that it cannot possibly be this time of year. And here we are, again, having arrived at this time of year and me in disbelief.


A year ago today, Wrigley passed away. I don’t do a great job processing my feelings. I like to sit on them until they accumulate and then, they explode. I don’t recommend this because the explosion is like Mt. St. Helens in 1980. An explosion that was preceded by a 2-month series of earthquakes and “steam venting episodes”. So, I did not really do the things you’re supposed to do when someone you care about dies. I packed that away that very eve, picked my mom up from the airport, and proceeded to host Thanksgiving. We were also neck deep in cottage renovations at that time, we took my mom to see it and it was a mess. I’m sure she was wondering what we’d gotten ourselves into – or perhaps not, perhaps by then, after 48 years of my shenanigans she may have believed it would work out.


Then, in October, I met a golden retriever named Murphy outside my hotel on the wharf in DC as I waited for the valet to deliver my car. And fucking Murphy turned a little key in my heart and unlocked a torrent of accumulated and anticipatory grief – for my boss (gosh how I miss him!), Wrigley, and so it goes. There was a golden retriever shaped hole in my heart. So – we attempted to fill that hole when we picked up Harry on Sunday. Harry is the youngest puppy we’ve had. He stumbles around like a drunk – which means he falls over and randomly pees on the floor. Harry is tough and brave and so he’s already mastered steps, except today when he fell down the last step off the back porch and I screamed. He bounced back up and grabbed at leaves with his small mouth filled with needle teeth. Eventually, drunken Harry will pass out a bit, then rouse, with a second, third and fourth wind. Lately, my Oura ring is like, “WOW! Your sleep quality has really improved! What’s changed?!” And you can tag things in the app but there is no available tag for “new puppy parent”. But Harry causes me to fall into bed and pass out until it’s time to free his drunken, whirling dervish self from his crate in the morning. He’s not a fan of sleeping in his crate but today Andrea realized he likes to hear talking – which means sports radio. Oh Harry. Really? What’s wrong with music?


I feel I’ve done more than my fair share of bitching, whining, and complaining here so, on Thanksgiving evening, I do want to say that I am grateful. Admittedly, perhaps not as much as I should be or show or write about, but I am. As the Buddhist saying goes, no mud, no lotus. I believe that lotus season is coming. But for now, I am thankful. For a few years, on my birthday, I’d write the number of things I’d learned the past year or was grateful for. I didn’t do that this year – not because I wasn’t grateful, but because I was not making as much time as I should for myself.


In October, after the leadership change at my company, a few people asked me if I’d considered leaving my job to coach or consult or promote my book and I would recoil at this very idea, I remember immediately thinking, “No, I don’t want to do that – to give more of myself. I want to receive.” Receiving sounds selfish so it’s tempting to lean away from receiving. When I first said that I wanted to receive, I wasn’t even sure what I meant. But I’ve sat with this idea of receiving for several weeks now and I now know that for me, receiving means taking time off. It means feeding my soul at a writing retreat or at Kripalu. It means writing – both on and offline. Receiving means holding space for and engaging in routine self-care for myself because I’m the only one who can do that. Receiving isn’t isolating, but I suspect it has similar characteristics. It’s conserving your energy and being selective in your own giving.


I do believe gratitude is a sentinel to fear and anxiety. Andrea reminded me of a time we navigated a choppy time and would share 3 things that we were grateful for before we went to sleep each night.


So, I am grateful for…


1. Everyone who supported my book this year. Cheering me on, helping me get unstuck, being interviewed, buying a copy.

2. Leaders who give a shit about their people and model that.

3. I am grateful my mom and her sister got their shit together (let’s be honest, no one’s getting any younger). They are modeling that getting your shit together is possible.

4. I am grateful for the time we had with Wrigley – although no amount of time would have been enough.

5. I am grateful for therapists, coaches, and guides.

6. I am grateful for the river cottage.

7. I am grateful for oceans, rivers, and lakes.

8. I am grateful for authors and books.

9. I am grateful for the artists and creatives.

10. I am grateful for pets. We have a houseful of them.

11. I am grateful for my health.

12. I am grateful for the people who came into my life this past year.

13. I am grateful for the people who left my life this past year and for the lessons they taught me.

14. I am grateful for our home.

15. I am grateful for fireplaces.

16. I am grateful for Fairbault Mill blankets – and that I can afford them. They aren’t cheap but they feel like care.

17. I am grateful for cozy things – like fuzzy socks. And I hope I find my missing slipper soon.

18. I am grateful for little free libraries! And for Andrea for helping me put one up and the people in our neighborhood who sustain it.

19. I am grateful for Richmond and the people in it. Most of them are kind and patient. And they let people be their weird selves.

20. I am grateful for the downshifted pace of Virginia.

21. I am grateful for our (my and Andrea’s) jobs – even when I silently scream about mine.

22. I am grateful for my team at work. They are amazing and funny and keep me going.

23. I am grateful for the opportunity to make small differences in people’s lives. I have to believe I do that at work or why am I even there?

24. I am grateful for tarot, oracle cards, and messages from the universe. The universe is always speaking – we just need to listen.

25. I am grateful for candles and things that smell nice.

26. I am grateful for beautiful journals – even the ones I buy that I later worry they are too pretty to write in. LOL.

27. I am grateful for fountain pens.

28. I am grateful for people who share their stories, speak their truth, and are brave enough to be vulnerable.

29. I am grateful for the writing coach I’ve met here in Virginia and the beautiful spaces she creates for us.

30. I am grateful for all our pets – especially Georgie for being an amazing big brother to Harry and to Tyson for being so brave.

31. I am grateful for pumpkin pie and food. Especially Indian Monday with Andrea.

32. I am grateful for sunshine and how it feels on my face.

33. I am grateful for opportunities to play – if I get too old to play, that’s too old for me.

34. I am grateful for Andrea’s laugh. Particularly when she really gets going with her wheezy, old man laugh.

35. I am grateful for laughter and a sense of humor.

36. I am grateful for the seasons.

37. I am grateful for plays and musicals.

38. I am grateful for meditation.

39. I am grateful for places like Kripalu – they exist in our communities and are where we can receive.

40. I am grateful for my friends. I love when they send me a meme – it lets me know they are thinking of me and I receive those memes when I need them the most.

41. I am grateful for social media – even when I hate it and want to leave it. I am grateful for it so I can keep up with my friends, former neighbors, former work colleagues, etc. I love seeing them and their children.

42. I am grateful for my co-worker Georgie. I know I named my pets before, but Georgie is a great co-worker – even if he sleeps on the job and farts a lot.

43. I am grateful for weekends and long weekends and vacations to recharge my batteries.

44. I am grateful for opportunities to continue to learn and grow.

45. I am grateful for flowers and nature and plants.

46. I am grateful for small kindnesses, appreciation, and acknowledgement. Especially from employees and friends who see me.

47. I am grateful if you’re still reading this – and for reading it this year. I like to pretend no one reads it so that I write whatever bullshit is in my head.

48. I am so grateful for Andrea. I am so fortunate to have her support my crazy ideas and dreams. To have her listen to me, to ground me, and believe in me.





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