Thankfulness and Gratitude, Weighed and Found Wanting


I’ve been arguing with myself for days now. I’m worn out, frankly. On top of that, my Thankful-O-Meter appears to be not in working order….and that is just not a good thing. It’s Thankful time, for goodness sakes! One look at Facebook and it’s clear that every other single human on the planet has a numbered list for each and every single thing that they are eternally grateful for and they probably go around smiling and singing along with the birds outside their kitchen windows whilst preparing a healthy meal for their cherubic children each morning. So, comparatively speaking my fussy lack of thankful-ness and crappy toaster waffles are seriously not cutting it. And for the record, those dang birds are super irritating with their non-stop chirp, chirp, chirping.

Anyway, back to my internal argument. I have it every single year, which tells you just how well I learn lessons. But alas, here I am again… fussing with myself on how I should handle Thanksgiving.

Chris starts Swordfish season each fall and is done by Jan 15. That gives us, depending on his start day, somewhere around 14 weeks to make all the magic happen. For you new readers, this is when the guys go offshore for 5-12 days/nights at a time. So they are gone from home. Like, all the time. Also, this is a very important time of year for us, as a bit over 70% of our annual income comes from these fishing efforts. Our financial well being, very much depends on those (give or take) 14 weeks. This year, God Bless Us All, we didn’t start our season until about 5 weeks later than usual. We have had generator complications, computer malfunctions, a non-cooperative moon phase and weather pattern, all of which apparently did NOT get the memo that we needed to go out onto the sea and make a living. So, yeah. We are all on edge, here.

Finally, he is out there fishing his big ‘ol heart out. They are doing a nice job of it, too. BUT (and isn’t there always a but?) it’s Thanksgiving time now. Several members of our family live up North in the Bay Area. This year, My sister’s very kind neighbor will be out of town and has generously offered to let us stay at her house for the week. What a sweet thing! What a great chance for the cousins to spend time together playing and for my to catch up with my sisters and Mom! Eeeee! My kids are soooooo excited. But, Houston ~ we have a problem. Fishermen do not, ever, take an entire week off of work during their big season. So I’ve been arguing with myself (and the weather reports – because that’s super logical) for way too long. How do we do Thanksgiving when we don’t know where Chris will be? Do I insist he not go fishing? Not reasonable, a total rookie Fisherman’s Wife mistake that I am thankfully well beyond. He could meet us up there? So he’d work night and day, then he’d spend his 12 hours of his 30 hours total of ‘not fishing time, due to windy weather’, driving to and from SF. Then, go right back to work. Totally not cool. Last option: He could fish, come home to empty house and be all alone ~ while I will be left feeling like the Queen of Heartlessness leaving him behind to slave away while we go off and frolic about without a care in the world, feasting on Turkey and Pumpkin Pie. Really?

So I’ve been arguing with myself (and the weather reports – because that’s super logical) for way too long.

I know that this lack of Thankfulness and Gratitude is totally wrong on many, many levels. So, in my infinite wisdom I decided that I should go over all of these details with Chris to get his input. I’m not always the most annoying wife in the world, but when I am I really do it up right! The guys literally just pulled into the Harbor. They’ve been fishing for several days (and nights) and are wiped out and stinky and really want to shower, eat and sleep. They have several hours left of work to do in unloading fish, and scrubbing the deck before they can call it a day. So…. sweetheart that I am, I dragged all the kids and dog and myself down to ‘watch them unload’. This is common enough when he needs me to help with fish counts or picking up fish or whatever. But this time, he didn’t arrange for that. So, we just… showed up. Now, Chris knows from experience that when I do this, I am either 1. Announcing that I am pregnant again (which I am not, by the way) or 2. I have something on my mind I really need to talk about and I feel like it can’t wait. Luckily, we’ve been married long enough that he knows this very well about me. And, luckily he is swift enough to shut me down quickly when I start rambling about stuff that is actually a way smaller thing than I have blown it up to be in my head. So, upon our sort of unexpected arrival at the dock, with a quickly negated ‘you aren’t knocked up again, are you?’ look, I think he realized right away that I was internally freaking out. The kids said a quick hello, we signed some fish paperwork, and I started to tumble out the beginnings of my woes. Chris knew what to do. He sent me home. He asked me to start the fire, and warm up the stew. Within 30 minutes his loud ‘I’m home!’ was sounding through the kitchen. The rest of the offloading and the nasty deck could wait. We heard about the fishing trip over hot beef stew and crusty bread. I did what other people can’t stand, and clicked on the Pandora Christmas music (I know, most people can wait…. I CANNOT) and then with the kids happily Lego-ing upstairs, I started my ranting. I only got a few moments into it. Chris expertly took charge and with clear, no-I’m-not-just-saying-this-to-make-you-feel-better-words, he let me know that I would be keeping my plans with the kids, if the weather changed and he could go with us he would, and if he ended up spending those 30 hours in his comfortable home, with not a whiff of fish around, where he could shower and sleep in his own big bed and watch man TV, he’d consider it an early Christmas gift.

That’s what I needed. Just to know it was all going to be OK, and to be reminded that I am not personally in charge of the wind blowing (yes, I forget that sometimes). For this man, and his clear thinking, and his ability to just be plain honest about it all, I am very, very Thankful.

Here’s to a thanks-filled, relaxing Turkey day to all of us! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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