Day By Day: This year, it is all about the silver liningsConsidering I have earlier referred to this year as my “annus horribilis,” it is kind of interesting that the Thanksgiving issue column would fall to me. Turns out after taking stock, it hasn’t been such a bad year after all.
By: Meg Heaton, Hudson Star-Observer
Considering I have earlier referred to this year as my “annus horribilis,” it is kind of interesting that the Thanksgiving issue column would fall to me. Turns out after taking stock, it hasn’t been such a bad year after all.
It is all about those silver linings.
Let’s begin with the family. I can’t say I’m exactly grateful to have my husband out of work for another year. To add insult to injury, he also turned 60 in March, his hair is completely gray, and even though prospective employers aren’t supposed to inquire about his age, he has been asked by more than one of them about where he was when the Beatles broke up or what was his draft number.
The silver lining part involves dirty laundry. After 40 years, he has become the expert on it, reading labels, pretreating stains, and never mixing colors and whites. He even separates them by shades of dark and light. It must be his art teacher background.
He has also made it abundantly clear that I no longer know how to load the dishwasher and when he vacuums, it is an all day project that sends the dust mites running for their lives. He is his mother’s son when it comes to dirt of any kind, and since I am my mother’s daughter when it comes to housekeeping (or lack thereof), things are finally looking up around our house.
He has also taken over all things medical – bills and insurance that is. He seems to take being put on hold for sometimes hours at time as a war of wills and I sincerely pity the poor person he finally talks to. But he is a pit bull with these people and his persistence and fierce phone voice has paid off. I’m thinking maybe he could make a business of being the mean guy on the phone with the insurance companies – they seem to respond to that.
The fact that our kids have both moved out of state could fall on either side of things this year. While they moved to dorms and apartments during college, they were both close by at UW-River Falls - 11 minutes from the dinner table and the washer and dryer. They are much farther this year and they have been missed, but thanks to generous cell phone plans, we have been kept abreast of bad landlord problems in Boston and a series of armed robberies on trains in Chicago.
Cory is working for a program called City Year that has him working with fourth-graders in a school in a pretty rough neighborhood. When he told us he would be getting paid $500 every two weeks PLUS food stamps, we didn’t quite know how to react. Four years of college and a job that requires partial payment in food stamps. But it turns out there is one heck of a silver lining here.
Our son has “drunk the kool-aid” on this whole experience and it appears to be life-changing. Growing up in Hudson, he didn’t see much of any mean streets, but the landscape is all different now. He has embraced his new surroundings and opened both his head and his heart to the children he works with, to trying to understand families and lives very different from anything he has known.
As for our Kate, Chicago may intimidate her from time to time but it doesn’t stop her from jumping on those occasionally crime ridden trains to see “Miss Representation,” a documentary on the image of women in the media, (and you guessed it – the news was not good), to attend a weekend workshop on domestic violence, and on a lighter note, find some laughs at Second City.
She, too, has grown into a very different young woman from her experience - and when she talks about it there’s a little more of that silver stuff for her parents to enjoy.
As faithful readers know, my health has been an issue this year. Who knew I would ever long for the days when the worst things about a doctor’s appointment was the weigh-in.
But while a cancer diagnosis isn’t easy, turns out it isn’t all bad there either. Caught early, treated and medicated, I am about to mark one year cancer-free. And during that year I have learned to be grateful for great and conveniently close by healthcare, family and friends who were always within reach and a community that cares not just for the likes of me but all of us touched by cancer.
I’ve done my share of complaining in this space as have others this year. And I am even grateful for that – the space to do it, that is. But the truth is, there is far more to be grateful for this year than to crab about. And I plan to spend the next six weeks trying to remember that.
Happy Thanksgiving everybody.