Living Below Your Means
What Are You Thankful For?

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By InLivingColor
November 26, 2003

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Before I head out for lunch and that deep-fried turkey, decided I wanted to do this after all. Recent threads have gotten me to thinking a lot about what I'm grateful for, over and above my usual "I'm grateful I don't have to deliver the heaviest newspaper of the year this week".

I'm gonna type up only the stuff on the top of my head right now, then go for lunch and help a friend with some yard work, and hope that when I get back maybe y'all will have added your own.

I am grateful for my father, who gave me an awesome work ethic, a sense of personal responsibility, wisdom, strength, optimism, and faith in systems larger than myself (even if I rejected his version of godhood).

I am grateful for my mother, who gave me an illness which put all those good qualities to the ultimate test: a second chance at a life I thought had been lost some years ago.

I am grateful for my first-grade teacher, who understood about dyslexia even though it had not yet become a household word, and who taught me to read better than I had done before she'd met me.

I am grateful for my fifth-grade teacher, a perfectionist who taught me the wisdom of my father's advice to "consider the source". Cuz, see, I was expecting a dragon, and what I found was: those who thought she was a dragon were slackers who didn't want to work for their grades.

I am grateful for the nuns in the convent from my childhood parish, for teaching me compassion without weakness, love without disrespecting myself, and that joy and sorrow are a matched set.

I am grateful for the old-timers who took the time to teach me from their experiences, showing patience with my struggles, accepting me in spite of (because of?) my flaws.

I am grateful for every librarian who ever lived, lives now, and ever will live.

I am grateful for Ada Lovelace for her inspiration, both for being an awesome female mathematician and for writing error-free code for a machine which never would have worked, even had it been built, cuz in my own generation the ACM determined Babbage's designs were slightly flawed. I am also grateful for the long, long line of women mathematicians and computer scientists throughout history, giants upon whose shoulders it has been my privilege to stand.

I am grateful for my e-mail friend who remained a constant source of sanity, love, friendship, and acceptance during a time when I had cut myself off from humanity in one last, desperate attempt to fix myself.

I am grateful for my doctors, who helped me understand that determination and perseverance are not always enough, that one must understand one's circumstances properly before trying to set out finding a solution to them, and that what we think is going on is not always what's going on.

I am grateful for the scientists whose work has given me a hope for the second half of my life, a hope which was denied my female ancestors for lack of information and compassion.

I am grateful for my birthdaughter, who managed to be conceived despite both a high-dose oral contraceptive and my lover's vasectomy, for giving me a glimpse into a type of love and beauty I, a committed childfreer, would never have otherwise experienced.

I am grateful for my birthdaughter's parents, who were there for me when I needed their emotional support, and for giving my daughter what I could not give her, myself.

I am grateful for my friends, who have stood by me through the darkest of nights, despite all the hell I put them through, and showing me a light at the end of the tunnel.

I am grateful for having found TMF discussion forums when I did, because interacting with y'all has helped me find the words to explain many, many things I have long understood but did not know how to say.

I am grateful to have found a place that serves deep-fried turkey, so that I may run off now and try it without first investing in a lot of equipment and time.

And I am still grateful that I won't have to be delivering the largest newspaper of the whole year this week.

I'm InLivingColor

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