ShoreBilly's Swill on ShoreBread

This week I’m thinking about the arrival of my absolute favorite of all the holidays. I know you’ve grown to expect sarcasm and cynicism from me, but I mean with complete sincerity that Thanksgiving truly is my favorite holiday. I won’t say it’s my favorite day of the year, because there are the birthdays of my four children, my anniversary, the first day of football season, and the first day of vacation to compete with for that honor. It is however my favorite official, recognized holiday. At the risk of getting a little hokey on this one, I love everything about Thanksgiving and all that is associated with it. I love what it stands for, though given the extraordinarily blessed life that I live, I most certainly don’t need a day set aside to remind me to be thankful.

My first thought each and every morning when I awake is how fortunate I am and how thankful I am to be. It starts with the opening of one eye to see my beautiful, strong, amazing wife lying next to me. I don’t want to look the proverbial gift horse in the mouth, so I don’t ask why. I simply start with a smile, and thrilled that she’s here, and I start my day.

At this point in the morning, if I raise my head just enough to look beyond my lovely bride I can see the crib on her side of the bed. In which is a beautiful little ice blue-eyed cherub whom I refer to as my Flower. Sometimes she’s still asleep, but usually she stirs when she first hears my alarm and just sits up and stares in our direction until someone looks back at her. She doesn’t fuss, or make a sound; she simply sits in silence waiting for one of us to look her way. And when one of us does, we are greeted with the most amazing, chubby cheeked smile you could ever possibly fathom. I don’t know that I’ve ever known anyone else so excited just to ‘be’. So I don’t even get the opportunity to hit the snooze button a second time, I’ve move approximately five inches, and already I have two incredible reasons to be thankful. Remember, this is every day of my life, not just on Thanksgiving.

Next, I roll over to my nightstand and turn off my alarm because I certainly can’t snooze through that ethereal grin aimed in my direction from the youngest of my children. While in the neighborhood of my nightstand, I’m reminded of my third reason to be thankful, and I haven’t even sat up yet. Many years ago, I had an experience that changed me in many ways. It doesn’t matter what, but the experience prompted me to do something that I still keep with me to this day. I keep on my night stand a ‘To Do List’. The list reads as follows:

1. Wake up today!

That’s it. I look at it every morning before my feet hit the floor and realize how much I’ve accomplished. I start my day feeling great and realize that everything after item #1 on my list is just a bonus.

Incidentally, if you ever want to experiment on how to snap a casual acquaintance (or anyone for that matter) into consciousness and perspective, all while putting a smile on their face, have the following conversation,

THEM: “Hey, how are you?”

ME: “Well, I woke up today. Everything after that is just icing on a really great cake.”

I do this often, and I guarantee the response will almost always be totally worth it. Feel free to use it, or some variation of. In fact, I think each of you should try it just once sometime in the next week and see how it goes.

Now I’m out of bed, and I have to go wake my other two daughters up. Unfortunately, nobody in my house is a morning person, so keeping the perspective going beyond my own bedroom can sometimes be a daunting task. I guess that’s what happens when the spawn are by-products of two bartenders. So now, I go to the tower for the rescue. By that of course, I mean that I ascend the spiral stair case to the second floor to the room of my 8-year-old daughter whom I refer to as my Princess. I usually stand over her for a minute or two and take in her innocence and beauty while she’s still asleep so I can be thankful for her as well. Because I know when I wake her, it could be a halo, or horns coming at me, depending upon how much sleep she got, and what she dreamt about. I’ve already locked in how thankful I am for her, so it doesn’t matter.

I now go downstairs to the final bedroom, and wake my 2-year-old whom I call my Angel. She usually starts my day with some sort of silliness, or joke, or sarcastic quip, anything for a laugh. I have NO idea where this one gets her personality. It must be from her Mom’s side. It’s only 7:00 am and I have all these reasons to be thankful.

On my way back down the hall holding my Angel, we pass a picture of her older brother, and we each raise two fingers to our lips, kiss them, and place them on his picture. He lives in another town (presumably because of the high estrogen level in my house), but we want him to know how much we love him. Yet another reason for me to be thankful, and I haven’t even put breakfast on the table.

This week I sat down at my desk with nothing planned really, other than I wanted to write a Thanksgiving piece. I wanted to convey to you that it’s my favorite holiday because it’s all about being with family and being thankful for what you have. As I wrap this one up, I realize that all I really did was write a brief summary of every morning of my life. I guess I do have a lot to be thankful for. Perhaps I did need a day set aside to remind me how thankful I am for what I have. Perhaps we all do. Maybe mine was today.

As a quick summary, I’m thankful for my kids, my wife, my family, bacon, football, vodka, any day that I don’t see Miley Cyrus’ tongue and/or butt, sunsets over water, and the fact that I was lucky enough to have known my Mom.

Everyone who reads, this, everyone in this little world of ours for that matter, has SOMETHING to be thankful for. So please keep that in mind, if not always, then at least in this moment. Thanks for playing along.

Until next week,

Syd Nichols