….I used to participate in a weekly challenge called 10 Things of Thankful. The idea was to find 10 things every week for which I was thankful. After a while it became more difficult each week to find things for which to be thankful. I was broke, depressed, and it seemed like everything that could go wrong did. Eventually I stopped writing them. Even more eventually (that’s a thing, right?) I stopped writing altogether.

I’ve decided today is a good day to be thankful because, well, it’s Thanksgiving and that’s what you’re supposed to do. At least, it’s what you do after you’ve eaten an entire turkey, stuffed some stuffing down your throat, guzzled a gallon of eggnog, and assaulted someone for the last PS5 during the Black Friday blitz.

I don’t think it’s an understatement to suggest this year has been a shitshow for everyone. From COVID to a highly contentious and divisive election cycle, 2020 has spent its entire existence trying to dig another level deeper into hell. Despite 2020 being an unmitigated clusterfuck, there have been happenings (to me at least) for which I am thankful.

2020 actually started in July of 2019 for me with the death of my mother and there is nothing about that experience I’m thankful for. 2020 wasn’t content with that early blow, however. In December I had an ultrasound on my neck to examine a lump I’d discovered there. That led quickly to a biopsy, which then led quickly to a diagnosis of thyroid cancer, which then led to a complete dissection of my neck when my thyroid, 53 lymph nodes, and other cancerous tissue was removed from my body.

Despite all of that hideousness, there were things of thankful to be found. I’m thankful I had an amazing surgeon who successfully removed all but a couple small cells of cancerous thyroid tissue from my body and that what was left could be taken care of by radiation therapy. I’m thankful that, other than the recovery from surgery and the week I had to spend in quarantine while I was radioactive, life has otherwise returned to normal. I’ve been working, yelling at my children (I love them!), and have had a normal (for 2020, at any rate) life. It’s been a long process getting my synthroid to the correct dose so that I’m not perpetually exhausted, but I’m thankful that (once the dose is figured out) I’ll not really miss my thyroid.

My job is another thing for which I’m thankful. During my recovery and radiation therapy they couldn’t have been more supportive (I hope you read that in Chandler’s voice like I heard it in his voice as I wrote it). They gave me all the time I needed and told me not to come back until felt like I could. Luckily, a lot of IT work doesn’t require physical labor so I was able to come back after a couple of weeks (despite my surgeon telling me I should have taken 6 weeks off). I had a young coworker to take care of any required lifting. Basically, I was accommodated. I have never been treated like human being by an employer before and, before sitting down to compose this here blog post, I wrote them an email to let them know just how much I appreciate that.

Not only did my employer help me through one of the most difficult times of my life, after I recovered I was given a promotion! I’m once again thankful for my employer for giving me an opportunity to grow into a new role and learn new technologies. Plus, the position allows me to work from home most days so I won’t be exposed to COVID, or worse, stupid people.

Another thing I’m thankful for is that everyone in my family has been healthy during this pandemic. Despite the inconveniences imposed by the pandemic, we’ve managed not to lose our sanity. Well, not any more than we already had. There were a couple tense moments where two of my children had been exposed, but tests came back negative.

I think we all knew back in 2016 that 2020 was going to be a tense year. A Trumpster fire was allowed to flourish and spread as less than half the population voted because, I’m guessing, they just assumed there was no way in hell he would win. I’m thankful this year’s election had the most voter participation ever and that the majority of those people decided that the Narcissist in Chief needed to pack his enormous toupee and orange makeup and leave the White House he’d tarnished. I don’t think Biden was the best candidate overall, but out of the two we had to choose from it was a no-brainer. At the very least, Biden will bring civility and compassion back to the Oval Office.

In 7 days my once cute little twins will turn 21 years old. What. The. Fuck. Where did the time go? What happened to my adorable little boys who used to run around mimicking everything I did because “I want to be like daddy when I’m big!”? What happened to the boys who insisted they tell me bedtime stories instead of vice versa? What happened to the delightful giggles? The joyful hugs? The days when I could physically look down at them (stupid kids getting taller than me…)?

Well, I’ll tell you what happened. They turned into fine young men and I couldn’t be more proud of them. They are both compassionate, kind, funny respectful, and just…amazing. I spent so much of the last ten years feeling afraid that every step I took with them would end in failure and I couldn’t be (Bing!) more thankful for how they’ve grown into men of whom I am undeniably proud.

My sweet (most of the time) little C is having his ups and downs with school. He’s a bright young man, but his attention span is shorter than February 29th on a non-leap year. His teachers have been gracious and patient and have worked with me to allow him to do a lot of his work at home so I can supervise him and keep him focused. The school has been very accommodating to help ensure he is successful and I’m extraordinarily grateful for that.

Lastly, I’m thankful for my princess (she thinks she’s royalty – I just don’t argue with her). She has stood by me during the most difficult time in my life. She took care of me as I physically recovered from surgery. She drove me to my radiation therapy appointments. She has been there for me any time I needed someone and I’m not sure what I’ve done to deserve that. She’s fun, she makes me laugh, she’s understanding, she’s compassionate, and she cares about everyone’s well-being. She is, quite simply, an amazing person.

Finding things to be thankful for during this debacle we’ve dubbed 2020 is challenging, no doubt, but despite the darkness there are glimmers of light. You can find them if you open your eyes.

Dearest reader…it’s your turn! What are you thankful for on this fine Thanksgiving Day?