The (Grateful) Ghosts of Thanksgiving Past

Over my 4 decades on earth, I’ve had a gourd-spilling, fruit-full cornucopia of reasons to be grateful. So many gourds, I tell you! I can hardly keep track of them all.

So here’s an in-depth, indebted rundown of what I could have said — and hopefully did say, more briefly — around various Thanksgiving tables I’ve sat at over the past 2 decades.

Including what I will say (if my parents haven’t already read it on my blog, that is) around this year’s table.

November 25, 2004 near Aspen: This year, I’m thankful that I moved to Colorado. Even though when I got here two months ago, on a lark, I didn’t have a place to live. Or a job. Or any plan at all, really. A wing and a prayer, but not much more. (And possibly less.)

As a result, I was deeply disoriented during the transition. I even called my mom one day to tearfully unburden myself because I didn’t know what I was doing. It felt like as I was writing the ongoing script for my life, I had temporarily lost the plot.

But now I’ve found a place to live for the winter, and a cool resort job, and some new friends. I live in the most beautiful of our 48 continental states, which I’ve wanted to do since my family visited Rocky Mountain National Park in the late ‘80s. And the other day, I skied on a real mountain (sorry, Pennsylvania) for the first time in my life.

Here’s to new beginnings, however traumatic they are right when they begin! *clink*

November 22, 2007 in Steamboat Springs: This year, I’m thankful that I somehow made it through my early-to-mid 20s in one piece. I haven’t taken good care of myself for most of the last 7 years, and I made some deeply short-sighted decisions about what to put in my body.  I can think of several specific times when I could have easily had my stomach pumped, or run my car into a tree. But I am fortunate to have survived it all.

And earlier this year, while a hangover eviscerated me after a friend’s wedding, I had an epiphany that changed everything. An epiphany about the sheer oblivion (and mortal peril) of annihilating my consciousness for nights at a time.

I am now 100% sober. I feel more lucid than I have in years, and I’m no longer desperate for the alcohol-induced approval of others. I thank God for keeping me alive long enough that I could finally right my own wayward, sinking ship.

Here’s to sobriety, clarity, and life itself! *clink*

November 26, 2009 in Fort Collins: This year, I’m deeply thankful that I met Danielle through the wonders of eHarmony. It blows my mind (and swells my heart) that in this wide, disconnected world, we managed to find each other through, of all things, a website. And that we happened to be in each other’s 25-mile eHarmony radius at just the right time.

Both of us, if I can speak for Danielle, had been burned before and were starting to lose hope that we would ever meet the right person. And because of that, when we started dating we were fairly guarded (which had never before been my M.O.). But as we got to know each other, our “roots grew towards each other underground,” as de Bernières once wrote. And that mysterious, subterranean intertwining has changed my life. A life I thoroughly enjoy spending, day after happy day, with this woman.

Here’s to wild serendipity, and here’s to true love! *clink*

[Fast-forward 6 full years this time.]

November 26, 2015 at my parents’ house (with 0 children sitting at the table): This year, I’m more thankful than I’ve ever been in my 35 years of life. Beyond any glowing words I could ever string together — like Christmas lights to celebrate the happiest news imaginable — I am thankful.

After 4 emotionally bruising years of trying and waiting and hoping and trying and waiting some more and seeing hope fade and trying and waiting some more and eventually losing all hope, last month we got our miracle news. At long last, and despite our recent daunting fertility verdict, Danielle is pregnant. We are swimming in a sea of joy (while our tiny baby swims in a sea of amniotic fluid). This is what I have dreamed about for many years, and what Danielle has dreamed about for 3 decades.

Here’s to the miracle of new life emerging in the face of seriously long odds! *clink*

November 22, 2018 at my parents’ house (with 2 children sitting at the table): This year, as with each of the last 3 years, my heart is pulverized with the deepest kind of thanks-giving. Two months ago, Danielle gave birth to our second Hail-Mary-level-long-odds miracle. Greyson Francis and Violet Skye Marie. These two are in a dead-even tie for the honor of “most beautiful thing either of us have ever seen.” They are our pride and our joy, and raising them will be — as it has already been — our ultimate adventure.

Here’s to doubling our brood, doubling our wonder, and doubling our love! *clink*

November 25, 2021 at my parents’ house (with 2 children sitting at the table, both of whom can now use silverware!): This year, my thankfulness runs in a different direction than in any past year. All of my prior thanks-giving is still fully intact — for adventures of yesteryear, for the lucidity of sobriety, for the wonder of true love, for the radiance of our 2 children — but now I have a new arrow in my quiver of gratitude.

Six months ago, I plowed through the darkest chapter of my life. A deep black hole of depression, out of which it took months to emerge. A scary, unsettling, seemingly interminable period in which it felt like my true self had been flattened. As if my flame had perhaps even been extinguished.

But thanks to brilliant scientific research, an antidepressant was designed that somehow seems tailor-made for my exact serotonin deficiency. That tiny white pill gave me just enough of a foothold to climb up once again onto the platform of my self. From that sturdy surface, I was able to leap back into embracing fatherhood and conversation and artistic expression and nature exploration — all the things that make me, me.

Here’s to being rescued from drowning.

And here’s to resurfacing.


Thank you so much for reading. Facebook is my primary platform for sharing this blog, so feel free to give any feedback there. (Unless you somehow found my blog on the wide frontier of the interweb, in which case… welcome!) In either case, I am deeply grateful (and thanks-giving) for your interest.

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