Last week was American Thanksgiving. My fellow bloggers to the south put up gratitude- themed posts. (This one, from Tails and Tales, is especially poignant, given the author’s narrow escape from a tornado.) And even though I’m as Canadian as beaver tails, I found myself reflecting too.
There is so much to be grateful for. In 2½ years of commuting to school, I have never had to sleep in a motel. There has always been someone to take of the kids (and the pets). My profs have been awesome. I’ve made some great friends. And my internship site is amazing; I’m gaining confidence, experience, and having a good time while doing it.
My kids, in spite of a new school and new life circumstances, are doing okay. The Oldest is thinking about law school one day. The Middle Child is ready to decamp for another province, which kind of suits me. The Youngest’s teacher told me that she is a wonderful child– never behaves inappropriately, never raises her voice, never fights with with other kids, and, in the teacher’s words, “is a role model for other children… and adults too!” (We’ll gloss over their lack of table-clearing and laundry skills.) My brother and sisters are doing great; my sisters are both grandmothers now, which makes me a great-aunt, and everyone seems to be flourishing. My mom, in spite of some fragile bones, is still with us at almost 90. We’re all healthy, too, which is the most important thing of all.
I can’t even complain about the Ex. He pays every penny he promised, on time andwithout complaint. He supports me in all issues relating to discipline and other parenting matters. He spends lots of time with his girls, and if he has a flaw, it’s that he spoils them too much. Most importantly, he is amiable about everything pertaining to the divorce, and gave me my get (religious divorce) without any conditions. (To understand what a big deal that is, read this article from Newsweek; my friend Hadassah is quoted!) And my excellent relationship with his family has not changed at all.
And then there’s the park. I am finally back in my beloved dog park, and it feels so good. I am reconnecting with old friends; a few weeks ago I saw Denise, whom I hadn’t seen in at least two years. I’ve had some wonderful chats with Blanche, who lost Princess last year, but now has Katie and Kiwi, as well as three cats at home. And I’ve spend time in deep conversation with Marilyn, who was the first dog park friend to learn of my life status change. She’s been a wonderful support, and of all my dog park friends, the one I’d most like to connect with on the outside.
And, of course, there’s Ronnie. I hadn’t seen Ronnie in at least two years either, which is odd. Even if you go infrequently, you should run into Ronnie; he basically lives there. First time he saw me, back in October, he asked, “Where have you been for two years?” Trust Ronnie to know the comings and goings of everyone.
We caught up. I told him about school, the commuting, the stress. As we chatted, my marital status made its way into the conversation.
“You’re kidding,” he said, shocked.
Ronnie is not an academic or an intellectual. He’s a blue-collar, down-to-earth type of guy. He didn’t ask about causes or consequences. He just asked, “Are you doing okay?”
“I’m fine,” I told him. “The kids are fine. The Ex is being a mentsch. It is what it is.” I told him the various arrangements I have for the kids, which includes nights with their dad.
“If you’re out of town,” he asked, “and the kids are with their father, who looks after the dog?”
He’s the only friend in town who’s asked me that.
I told him Glory comes to stay, that it’s all taken care of, and he said, “If she’s ever out of town, or can’t make it for some reason, you call me. I’ll take Our Best Friend. Don’t worry. Just call me if you need me.”
I have never seen this man outside the gates of the park (unless you count the parking lot). I don’t really know what he does for a living, and I suspect it’s not entirely known to the government either. I don’t even know his last name. But I know a good heart when I see one. And Ronnie has the heart of a dog lover. It expands to encompass anyone in need.
So I’m grateful for a lot of things these days. And as I reflect on it, so many blessing flow just from having my dog. Ronnie. The park. And, most of all, my fellow bloggers. Just as the dog park has provided me with a little community outside my everyday commitments, the bloggers I have met (in real life or just on-line) have provided me with a virtual community that I treasure. It spans the entire continental U.S. and Canada, with Australia thrown in for good measure. I won’t mention names because there just too many, but they should know I get joy from them every day.
So as I finish up my second-last term before graduation, and as 2013 winds down, I am looking forward to what’s ahead, hand in hand, (and hand in paw), with everyone I love.