Ryan Trares: Taking a moment to give thanks

Thankfulness was on the menu this week.

Anthony and I were sitting in the car, waiting in the drop-off line before school started. Our early morning conversations are usually pretty inane — what he made that morning in his Minecraft world, how the heater on the car works, why Willie Nelson loves being “On the Road” again.

So with Thanksgiving coming up, the conversation turned to his tentative agreement to try turkey this year. We’ve been talking up the holiday’s main course, and after careful consideration, he agreed to try some this year — a minor commitment from him, a major victory for two parents navigating their son’s picky palate.

While we were on the subject of the upcoming holiday, I thought I’d take the initiative.

“You know, Thanksgiving is when we think about the things we’re thankful for. What are you thankful for, buddy?”

Anthony thought about the question, and was quiet for a moment. I could see in the rearview mirror that he was rolling the question around in his head.

We’ve tried to make it clear the importance of thanks. Anthony has been taught to say “thank you” when he receives something, whether it’s the juice box he asked for or a present from a doting grandparent. After his birthday or Christmas, he sits down to color or write a thank you note.

But even as an adult, it can be hard to look at the big picture and be grateful. The minutia and difficulties of day-to-day life can obscure how much we have and how lucky we are. Sometimes, it’s nice to step back and appreciate that.

To help him out, I figured I’d get the ball rolling.

“Well, I’m thankful for you and mommy. I’m thankful we have a house to keep us warm and food for our bellies. And we have a family who loves us and helps us, which is a very good thing.

Anthony took in my answer, before scrunching his face up and scolding, “Daddy, why aren’t you thankful for Olaf (our cat) and Purdle (our turtle)?” I laughed and told him I was thankful for them too.

He started listing all of the things that he was grateful about — his mom and dad and pets, of course, his school and classmates and his friends. He was thankful for his grandparents and aunt and uncle. One by one, he listed the toys he was thankful for, until I told him he could just say, “Toys.”

Then he smiled and said, “And I’m thankful for the internet.” Aren’t we all.

It was a good list, and I hope it put us in the right mindset heading into Thanksgiving. In between bites of turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie, we can take a moment to reflect on all that we have.

Then go in for seconds.

Ryan Trares is a senior reporter and columnist for the Daily Journal. Send comments to [email protected]