Thursday, November 23, 2006

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." ~ John F. Kennedy

thanks·giv·ing
Pronunciation: tha[ng](k)s-'gi-vi[ng]
Function: noun
1 : the act of giving thanks
2 : a prayer expressing gratitude
3 a : a public acknowledgment or celebration of divine goodness b capitalized : THANKSGIVING DAY

It seems to me that the true meaning of Thanksgiving Day has gotten lost somewhere amongst the family get-togethers, large meals, and an overabudance of football. Between running around to get all of the right ingredients for the one big meal that most families actually sit down to eat together anymore and the obligatory trips to the homes of relatives that are practically forgotten during the rest of the year, I wonder how many people actually take the time to stop and give thanks on the one day of the year that is expressly reserved for that purpose.

I opted to spend this Thanksgiving Day at work even though it was my normally scheduled day off for reasons that I won't go into here other than to say that disappointment was at the top of the list. Because I was going to be working a double yesterday and then going in for dayshift again today, Mike and Laura offered to have Amanda over at their house in Rhode Island so they picked her up yesterday afternoon and I will pick her up tomorrow morning.

If there's one thing I've learned in all my years of dispatching it's that holidays on the desk are going to be either feast or famine when it comes to call load and today turned out to be a vertitable smorgasbord of 911 calls, paramedic intercepts, and STAT transfers out of local hospitals. Add on to that the handful of dedicated individuals who came in on their holiday to drive patients in wheelchair vans between nursing homes and relatives' homes and back again and it made for a pretty busy day.

Well, scratch that - it made for a very overwhelming day; a day when I left the dispatch center with stress riding solidly on my back between my shoulder blades and my head pounding just a little bit at the temples. A day when I got in the car after work and sat there for a moment or two and wondered what the heck just happened and where the last ten hours went before I wearily threw the car in gear and headed home.

Because I was feeling particularly drained and came home to a house empty of all but the cat I sat down and stared at the wall for awhile trying to think of what it was that I was thankful for this year as I thought that might help with my mood. In no particular order some of what I came up with is the following:
The fact that Amanda gets along with her brother well enough that he invited her over for a couple of days. When they were younger there were times when I despaired of them ever getting along.

My health - despite the other medical issues I've had this year I no longer have the back pain that I did last year and have only had minor issues that Tylenol or Aleve can handle.

My friends - those both close and far away without whom my life would be empty. They make me laugh, they understand when I cry, and they keep me more or less sane.

My job - despite the fact that I was ready to call it quits when I first got home today. It can be maddening, it can be stressful, it can be overwhelming but it gives me the opportunity to help people at times when they most need help. And I like being able to do that.
Taking the time to think about what I had versus what I don't was helpful in calming me down and even though that's only a partial list, as there are so many other things that I'm thankful for, I thought it was important to list at least a few. I've found it's easier to live by the words you utter when you write them down so that you can remember them later on.

So tell me, what are some of the things that you're thankful for?

3 comments:

  1. Well, in the midst of having PMS and the stress of visiting a relatives home with a baby and a toddler, I'm afraid I did not make my husband feel like I was thankful for him yesterday. (I belive the comment "Would you stop talking and &^*%ing help me with the kids!" came out of my mouth) However, to list what I am thankful for.....

    My children, despite all the hard work they are a constant source of joy in my life

    My husband, despite wanting to bash him on the head on a fairly regular basis

    My Mom, despite the fact that I could bash her head right slong with my husbands I am thankful for her generosity and help

    My health

    My job

    My friends.... that includes you Linda!!

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  2. Thank you, Jen, for including me on that list and for being the voice of reason last night when I had the unmitigated gall to call you when "Survivor" was on! Should you ever find that you, too, need a shoulder to cry on when our job gets to be - shall we say - overwhelming you know where to find me ... I'll be the one curled up in the corner rocking back and forth while sucking my thumb and crying!

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  3. I'm thankful for the fact that I still have a family, though some of them have "passed on" recently, and the dinner table seemed a little "smaller" this year. I'm thankful for lessons learned in the past year. I'm thankful for my friends - though sometimes I wonder what kind of friends they are. Most of all, I'm thanful for my wife - my love & best friend who puts up with my moods and whims on a daily basis. She is truely my floatation device in a sea of assholes!!

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