Feb 5, 2013
"Gratitude" came out in 1992 and was on heavy rotation in my truck. I took my boyfriend and my little brother to Lollapalooza 94 to see the Beastie Boys and when P-Funk rolled out on stage I couldn't dance hard enough to honor the joy in the music, but I tried. I spent the whole decade trying to dance enough to honor myself and the music, and the people who didn't make it to the 90s. The whole decade before I spent attending funerals. There were suicides and car accidents, illnesses and a murder. When I finally reached my senior year, I'd been to six funerals. These were people who were close to me. People who's middle names I knew, people who's front doors I no longer knocked on but just walked through while yelling out "It's me!" That was the 80s; frantic feelings, funerals and loss.
The 90s I spent living loud and knowing death is a moment away for any of us. I went to Mardi Gras, I bought an old victorian church and lived in it, I got married and spent the bulk of the wedding budget on open bar inviting everyone we knew. I worked back stage at the theatre. I gave my husband a mowhawk. I filled the house with friends and cooked dinners for twenty. I quit jobs. I went to concerts. I tried to do something good every day. The 90s actually bled right into the next decade not really ending until 2004. That was when Ella was born.
Having a child showed me a new quiet and patient gratitude. The kind that isn't dramatic, that doesn't feel like Robin Williams standing on a desk yelling "Carpe diem." The kind of thankfulness felt when a fussy baby finally falls asleep. Or the kind of appreciation you have when you trip on your platform clogs while holding the baby, go down hard and but manage to hold her up in the air, unscathed, while you take the brunt of the side-walk to the knee-cap. The kind of gratitude you have all at once for your parents and all that they do for you and how you feel like you will never be able to thank them enough for taking the bruise on the kneecap. There just aren't strong enough words. I think maybe the only way to thank parents is to live well; the same way I want my children to go out into the world and live happy, rich, full lives.
Though it never hurts to say thank you anyway, so;
Thank you Mom for cleaning up the kitchen that time me and my brother "made breakfast" by dumping the entire contents of the refrigerator on the floor of the kitchen. Thank you Dad for teaching me how to handle driving on ice by letting me do doughnuts in a parking lot on a snowy night. Thank you Ron for being cool about me coming in for the evening at the same time you are getting up for work in the morning. Thank you Grandma and Grandpa for always being a place to "escape to." Thank you my children for showing me quiet gratitude.