(The following editorial has been reprinted without permission from the HC Middle School newspaper, circa November 1982)
Do You Enjoy Thanksgiving?
By Nissa B.
In two days it will be Thanksgiving. Do you ever get tired of the same Thanksgiving customs? Boy, I know I do.
Every year my family has turkey. So do numerous other families. But some families have duck or another interesting bird.
For dessert every year we have pumpkin pie. My grandmother makes the pie out of the pumpkin she bought at Halloween. Sometimes I wonder if the inside of that pumpkin is still edible after a month. But some groups of people have other desserts - mincemeat pie or sometimes even raisin pie.
Another problem with Thanksgiving is trying to think of something to be thankful for. I guess the most logical thing for HCMS students to be thankful for is that we get a five-day weekend.
(The following rebuttal was submitted to the same newspaper, circa December 1982)
By Ms. G.
I was sorry to read the sentiments of one of our students who felt the only thing she had to be thankful for was five days away from school. Don't get me wrong - teachers are grateful for holidays, too. I'm looking forward to cold, rainy mornings to sleep late and to eating a turkey sandwich while I catch up on a soap opera or two. But I'm grateful for more than that. This has been a rough year for me, and I'm thankful for family members and friends who have provided loving support. I'm glad that I have a career that continues to be challenging and stimulating. I'm grateful for young friends who, as students, give me a fresh perspective on life. At this holiday time, I'm made more aware of basics to eat and a warm, safe place to live. Look more closely than just a break from school. Our lives are running over with blessings.
Ms. G. was the home economics teacher at my middle school. I never took a home ec class so I didn't know Ms. G. personally. Now, I kind of wish I had taken sewing so I could make a Christmas stocking for Anja. Anyway, Ms. G. later married Mr. M., who was the assistant principal of my middle school, and later of my high school. I remember they were both very small people. Physically. They could both be described as petite.
I agree with Ms. G. that my priorities may have been a little misplaced way back in 1982. Come on. What was I? Twelve? Thirteen? But I will defend myself. For over eight years, I worked at a job where I worked most holidays and the occasional weekend with no extra pay. Last year, when I finally got a five-day weekend for the Thanksgiving holiday, no doubt because I was pregnant and tired, I was damn thankful.
This year is much different. I think of the people who sat around my table today at Thanksgiving dinner (where, I might add, we ate the same things we did when I was twelve). My dear friend San, who I have known for half my life. I was so thankful for her this past summer when she accompanied us to a weekend-long wedding celebration in Colorado. A wedding I kind of dreaded going to. But she hung out with Anja and me while the sperm donor tended to his wedding duties. And we laughed. A lot.
My parents. To my mother who has been the comforting voice in all of the difficult moments since Anja's birth. And to my father. The one regret I have in giving birth to my child at the age of 36 is that she will, like me, never get to know her grandfather. He is declining, both physically and mentally, but he takes great delight in her smiles. Ultimately, it will be up to my vivid imagination to make sure he is always alive for her.
OH! And to her!! The newest addition to our Thanksgiving table, sitting happily in her high chair, banging her toys and her spoon on the tray. Anja ate some sweet potatoes, some gravy, and some whipped cream for her first Thanksgiving dinner. It was around this time last year that I first felt her squirm in there. It felt as thought she were running lightly across my tummy. Just before Thanksgiving last year we found out that she was a healthy little girl (thanks be to amnio!). And we both breathed a huge sigh of relief, accompanied by a "whoopee!" because we both really wanted a girl. A year later, she is a rolling-creeping-sitting-smiling-laughing machine. I still look at her with awe - I can't even begin to believe she is my daughter.
And then there was him. Feeding her whipped cream off the tip of his spoon. If there was no sperm donor, there would be no her. And probably no me. And so I am thankful to him, for allowing me to sacrifice financial security for our daughter's well being. For giving her the late night bottles when I'm too sleepy. For supporting my decision to keep on nursing. For picking up dinner all of those nights I don't feel like cooking (which is most nights). For putting crap together. For putting her new car seat in my car. For making me laugh before I go to sleep. For taking care of our birth control issue, which he thinks is no big deal, but for me means I don't have to subject myself to the health risks of the pill and I get to keep all of my parts intact. And for countless other things.
And I am thankful for me. But mostly, I'm just thankful for the huge gift I have been bestowed. I am so blessed to have a beautiful daughter who laughs and smiles and sings all the time. And who is healthy. She and the sperm donor are the center of my world. I guess Ms. G. and I have more in common than we used to.
Oh, and I told Anja that when she wants a little brother or sister, I would just get her a puppy.