It’s been a bad year. 

We all know it. 

We all have a story that’s personal to us about a tragedy or a disaster or a sadness that couldn’t wait for any year but this one to descend. Sometimes it was prompted by this fucking year–and sometimes it’s wholly unrelated. But for many of us, the “lets talk about one thing to be grateful for” moment of our holidays was particularly hard. 

Still–it’s that time. It’s that time to remember that there are things that haven’t been taken from us. That there are things that keep us going. That–as The Bravery says–there’s something to believe.

So here’s my go at it–and it’s gonna be dumb. It’s gonna be out there, obvious stuff because A. the more personal stuff has been withheld from social media for a good long time and B. sometimes that’s he stuff we NEED to remember. It’s important. 

So here we go.

*  I’m grateful for my Mate and my children. Period. The end. Worries, tears, teen upheaval and all, my kids are still–will ALWAYS BE–my best thing. 

* I’m grateful my fur babies have made it through this year so far. (Knocks on wood, makes the sign of the cross, the evil eye, and burns sage so as not to attract the attention of anything bad.) 

* I’m grateful my parents are still alive. Mate lost both of his–his father at the beginning of this year, and he feels the loss keenly. I mourn his mother still. My parents are still alive, and I’ll by golly learn how to Zoom over the phone until this virus is gone to keep them healthy.

* I’m grateful we have enough. House is a pit, cars work sometimes, and we’re not going to live in one of those apartments from The Undoing  any time soon, but we have plenty. We have food and shelter. We have amusements. We get to do takeout once or twice a week. It doesn’t sound like “living the dream” but we are VERY aware that after this year, having “enough” is not as common as it should be. We have enough to give, and we do.

* I’m grateful for those friends that I talk to on the phone, or privately in DM, or even sometimes on Zoom. (I had a two hour chat just to chat today. I am pleased.) Those people whom you can confide in, and who love you for who you are–those are the people you need to hold on to.

* I’m grateful I’ve normalized saying “I love you” to friends. Didn’t used to. Used to hold it back, hoard the “I love you’s” like I’d run out–now I say them to everybody I would miss if they were never on the other end of the line. Because this year has brought home that either their presence or mine is not a given, it’s not a guarantee. “I love you, bye bye,” is the best thing we can give ourselves and each other as far as peace of mind whether we see our friends every day or over Zoom once in a blue moon.

* I’m grateful I’ve kept writing. It’s been hard. People laugh at my productivity, how I keep “churning” out books (a term I find as offensive as fuck, and I know just saying that means I’ll find it again and again in social media relating to me. Oi.) I don’t “churn out” books–writing, going other places, practicing my craft–even imperfectly–is my sanctuary. I am so grateful I can continue doing that. I count every book I’ve written during the pandemic as a gold medal winner because I wrote it when I was frightened and felt very much overwhelmed and very much alone.

* I’m grateful for space heaters at my feet–because that’s what’s going to keep me warm after staying up late with my spouse of 31 years to shotgun a popular TV show. And I’m grateful for that too, because while it’s not sex on the beach–or not on the beach–it’s my Mate and I still doing things a little bit naughty like staying up late on a school night and being glad we did it together.

* And I’m grateful for my readers, who have stuck with me through thick and thin, quite literally, and who are in it for the story and seem to find something in my stories worth their time. 

I love you all–good night. 

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