This past week we Canadians celebrated Thanksgiving. I imagine that Canadians celebrate earlier than Americans because, by November, most of what we were thankful for is being aggressively covered with snow. In October in Canada you will still see beautiful fall colors on the trees.
This is very important because Canadian parents like to get out those autumn colored crayons and tell their children to color their Smiling Turkey Coloring Sheet. Then, they can finish cooking the realistically colored and less smiley turkey in peace.
Here, my kids only know the fall colors because we buy silk leaves from Costco and spread them over the table so we can feel like it’s a crisp fall day while we perspire freely through our clothing. They do not understand why people eat soggy bread mixed with cooked apples and cranberries instead of tortillas with beans. I can’t really explain to them why it’s good, but I can always pull them in with the promise of pie, the food that seems to break all cultural barriers.
Right now I am avoiding the post apocalyptic scene in my refrigerator, after the macaroni and cheese, stuffing, and mashed potatoes have all been thrown unflatteringly together in their lidless tinfoil casserole dish. I gave up for awhile in favor of lying on the cool tile floor. Then I tried to choose the best candidate to be threatened/cajoled/convinced to clean up or at least eat most of it if salsa verde was offered as a condiment.
Failing miserably, I decided it was time to write my Second Annual List of Things I Am Thankful For. Because it is about 37 (000) degrees outside, my first attempts at this list all ended up sounding like Things That Will Annoy Me Until The Day I Die, like baking an entire meal during the hottest day of the year, every year. Or having zero access to canned pumpkin so you find yourself channeling your ancestors’ pioneer spirit and peel, cook and blend a 10 pound vegetable.
And yet, I can honestly say that every year finds me ever more grateful:
1) Low season is giving way, inch by inch, to the wonderfully vibrant tourist season. And then we can all start buying the pricey beans again.
2) My kids are now strong swimmers but still like it when I join them in the pool. This is pretty much the perfect parenting scenario.
3) No one sleeps better at night than a parent in Vallarta who has to watch kids’ soccer during the hottest part of the day. It may be exhaustion, it may not be by choice, it may even be a nightly near death experience, but it’s sleep.
4) My children say things that I can then turn into the greatest quotes on social media. My son asked me why teachers want him to memorize so much information when we’ll all have our own personal robots someday to tell us whatever we need to know. Pure gold.
5) My husband took over the laundry on our unspoken agreement of labor division. I don’t know how it happened. But I’m more in love with that man than the day we met.
6) I live in a place where you can stop and take joy in simple, daily pleasures, where the sun shines every day, where the birds never leave. And that, my friends, is worth its weight in pumpkin pie.