Remembering, Treating, Competing, and Giving Thanks

I know that Veterans’ Day was established on the 11th day of the 11th month, and we usually have an observance on the 11th hour, as a symbol of how our servicemen and women have saved us at the 11th hour. It’s also fitting that it comes each year just as our thoughts turn to giving thanks for all of our blessings.

Something changed for me around the first of November, and I suddenly found myself giving thanks more for all the blessings in our daily lives. Yes, I was still worried about the economy, and yes there was still an impending election which was likely to go to the candidate I was not supporting. But driving along one afternoon I suddenly realized that… well, I was still driving my car, with gas in it, to the grocery store to buy food for my family. And after the shopping I would take the food to my warm home and prepare a good meal for my healthy family. After dinner my children would play with toys or do homework for the school they would attend the next day. What more, I suddenly realized, could I ask for? We are so, so, so blessed. And I was ignoring all the blessings while I worried about what future prosperity we might be missing out on. Suddenly, life looked much rosier than it had since the start of the whole economic crisis– whether you date that from the beginning of October, or even before.

Back in October, we celebrated beautiful Chloe’s 14th birthday. We wrapped her present in multiple boxes so the package wouldn’t give away that it was an iPod. After opening three boxes, she got to the tiny package wrapped in decorative tissue paper. Quinn, who had been watching with great interest, piped up in disbelief, “It’s Kleenex?!” (the subtext: what a ripoff! And the package was exactly the same size as one of those purse packs of tissues.)

Then there’s the bit of wisdom Claire came out with on Election Day. I think I wrote somewhere else of the election her class staged: over what kind of scarecrow they would make for the scarecrow contest? (She voted princess…of course!) Well, she was quite interested in the presidential election as a result of discussions at school (oddly enough, she came home rooting for John McCain!). That day turned out to be sunny and beautiful here, so after school I took Quinn and Claire to Preston Beach park, which is just an overlook with benches and tall stands of seagrass above the seawall. The littles ran around a bit, and I sat on the wall looking at the ocean and just praying in general for our country. When we got in the car to leave we were discussing the election and I told Claire I had been praying. “Oh,” she said. “Were you praying for the people who are running– so that they don’t fall down?” Yes! I didn’t put it half so well to God, but that was exactly what I was praying for!

Meanwhile, November saw the end of both cross country and soccer seasons. Will finished up the first of the month with a big win over Martha’s Vineyard. Chloe ran in a state-wide invitational meet at the beginning of the month, finishing 7th in the freshman race (out of 127). Last weekend she ran in the big District meet in Boston. The team finished a very respectable 9th place, but only the top 5 teams moved on to the State meet. Chloe finished in the top 5 for the team– which is such a great achievement. The top 7 runners on the team are the varsity squad, and the top 5 times for each team are what count in the competition. Marblehead’s varsity runners were all underclassmen this year, so hopefully they will get better and better. The starting line photos are from her Conference meet. Will’s soccer game was a few weeks earlier, and once again, my photos are mediocre at best!

Finally, just in case you’re feeling like there aren’t enough pictures here, I’ll throw in some trick or treats. The littles went out with Chloe and her friends. Claire went as, you guessed it, a princess! (But not a Disney one, at least). Quinn was a cowboy on a horse– in an adorable get up, thank you, Target. Though he would have been happy to go as Mr. Incredible again, his super suit is in tatters because he wears it all the time! But he took to the horse costume immediately, too, even taking it to nap with him. In case you were wondering, the pumpkins are named Mr. Bones and Mr. Muscles– the littles and I carved them together earlier that day. I think they were our best ever! We also toasted the pumpkin seeds. They weren’t very good, but Claire doggedly ate them, and made everyone else eat them, because we made them ourselves! And, of course, we ate them– because she was so very proud, we wouldn’t let her down.

My friends and family, I hope the coming Thanksgiving finds you all with much to be thankful for. Though November has gone from bright to bleak here, with all the leaves gone and the rain seemingly here to stay… I’m determined to keep that flash of understanding from earlier in the month, and not to lose sight of the blessings in our lives (including all of you). Love to you all at Thanksgiving…

Micki & the family

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