Being Thankful

With the Thanksgiving holiday fast approaching, I wanted to be more thankful for the things that I have.  I am so very thankful for my loving and supportive husband.  We have been together for 25 years now and it has only gotten better.  Hopefully for him too.  But I can’t speak for him.  He has made me a better person.  He makes me laugh when I have wanted to cry.  He does amazing voices that make me laugh.(Anyone need a good voice-over actor?)  He urges me to follow my dream to become a published writer.  I am so blessed and thankful for my two sons.  They are healthy, well-educated, and compassionate(well, as compassionate as two teenage boys can be).  I have a roof over my head, a functioning car, work that keeps me happy, and good health.

Now some people may not agree with me on these next ones, but that’s okay.  We all have different opinions, and well we should, but here goes.  I am thankful to all those who have served or are currently serving in the armed forces.  It’s not something they all wanted to do, I’m sure, but they did their tour of duty, or are currently in it.  I am thankful for those families who give their sons and daughters to protect this nation.  I am sure it can’t  be easy being away from their loved ones for that long.  My brother was in the army, during peace times, thankfully; and I saw first hand how difficult it was for my mother.  She was constantly worried that a war would break out and take her beloved and only son away from her.  And she gained a lot of weight due to the stress. Also, she had lost a brother to war and her father when she was still a child.

I am also thankful to all those who are firefighters and police officers.  Being constantly on call has got to be very trying on their emotional well-being and upon their families as well.  Especially with the fact that their lives are on the line whenever they are on duty.  I could never do that job.  Wondering if you’d make it back safely to your family thar night, has got to be beyond stressful.

I am grateful to my mom and dad who raised and loved me.  I saw them as overbearing many times during my teen years, but looking back I understand that they did it out of love and care.  I can now see how tough a job parenting actually is.  And it is a lifetime commitment.  It does not get any easier the older the kids get.  I repeat, it does NOT get any easier.  All you parents out there know what I mean.  But they provided me with clothing, food, shelter, schooling, all the necessities of life.

I am thankful to the few teachers in my life that I believed truly cared about the students and about teaching.  My high school English teacher, Mr. Anderson.  Thank you for taking the time to teach a rowdy bunch of fifteen and sixteen year olds.  It couldn’t have been easy.  He was a fantastic teacher.  I learned.  I advanced.  Thank you to Herr Taylor who made German class fun and a pleasure to come to.  I learned a lot and had a good time all at the same time.

Thank you to my older brother and sister for tormenting me as a child and probably making me a stronger person because of it.  Telling me that the government took out my birthday month, so now I no longer could celebrate my birthday, how cruel.  See what I had to put up with, people?  Older siblings can be so harsh.  Yes.  I love them still and I know that they love me too, their little baby sister.  Though my brother told the doctor a few weeks after I was born that he wanted to send me back because I was no longer wanted.  Imagine, a five year old not wanting his sweet, adorable little sister?  Never mind that I was a pooping, crying, hardly-sleeping, burping machine.  But, hey, I was cute!

So, let’s remember to be thankful, always, to those who love us, and for those who put their lives on the line for us on a daily basis.  Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.  What are you thankful for?

The Monsters Are Not Always Found Under The Bed

It’s funny how watching something briefly on the local news can trigger unpleasant memories from the past.  Some months back I was watching a story on the news involving the late, notorious serial-killer, John Wayne Gacy.  And suddenly this brought to mind a deep and inconsolable sadness for the victims’ families.  First, the agony of not knowing what happened to their loved one, and then the horrifying discovery that their loved one had been gruesomely murdered.

When I was a child, my overly protective parents lovingly reassured me that there was no such thing as the boogeyman.  Nothing sinister was lurking within the dark recesses of my closet.  There weren’t any monsters beneath my bed, waiting for me to fall asleep before pouncing on my helpless body during the dead of night.  I would nod with false bravado, yet confident in my parent’s comforting words that I would awake to live another day.

Yet for the young victims of this very real monster, the boogeyman had indeed become real.  Not some imagined creature with blood-dripping fangs, but all fleshed out before them.  That reality, for the victims, went far beyond the common night-time fears, but came barreling down the tracks into the realm of sheer, unspeakable terror.

I shuddered to think what those young men and boys had to suffer through, and then to be buried in a humiliating mass grave beneath this monster’s crawl space.  Gacy had promised them things; drugs, liquor.  But what they found instead was torture and death.

As parents, we warn our children to be wary of strangers.  To never go into someone else’s house unless we are present.  But what if the stranger was kindly looking Mr. Smith who lived next door?  We all know from the news that evil doesn’t always wear a demonic grin on its face.  Sometimes it can be sweet.  Or elderly.  Or even a clown.