Monday, November 05, 2012

Jumping ship on the Facebook grateful trend

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of all time.  Growing up just north of Detroit we would always go downtown to the parade.  After, we'd come home, wrap up in afghans and drink hot chocolate.  That is, if we stayed awake past the warm, drowsy ride back home.  Later, we'd join the collection of the Sinki family at large for wonderful meal and even more wonderful laughter-filled visits.

I was just a kid, but was aware of how much more relaxed Thanksgiving was than the stressful joy of Christmas.  Taking time to be together to note the harvest (food related, and otherwise) of the year is such a simple ritual.

Over the past few years, it's become a growing tradition on Facebook to share something you're grateful for every day in November.  This year, I decided to hop on in.  Five days into it, I'm considering dropping out.

I have a zillion gazillion things to be thankful for: our insane transition into fall has started to calm down a little.  Henry's adjusted to his part-time school very well.  Willa continues to rock the first grade world.  Jim is doing some great things at work, will start teaching at the college again tonight, and still has energy and focus to be the loving and present dad and husband I knew he would be.  My big, scary exam is in the past (I hope, if I don't pass, I'll be taking it again in the Spring), my internship is challenging and teaching me so much, and I might be done with school on my birthday.  My little job is going well.  I have friends who are generous with their support and humor.  The dogs, the chickens, the fish are good.  [and typing all of this here is kind of counter-productive to my point, and makes me feel squirmy]

But I just can't get into this Facebook thankfulness thing.  Publishing good things every day seems like a slap in the face to people I know and love who are going through some life-altering times in their lives.  I help run a group for children who are staying in a homeless shelter.  My old Americorps team mate and her husband are trying to soak up every moment they have with their sweet infant son who was just diagnosed with a terminal disease.  My uncle and three cousins are adjusting to life without their wife and mother, my sweet aunt.  I know people who struggle with employment issues, major health issues, money issues, relationship issues...  It seems almost greedy for me to count my blessings publicly.

Not because I'm ungrateful for the embarrassment of riches I'm surrounded by.  Because clicking "share" after typing "I'm thankful for my son's health and energy and intellect, even after a very long evening" makes me feel like kind of an asshole.

So, friends, either affirm or challenge my thoughts, or help teach me how to be publicly grateful without feeling like a jerk.  What do you think?