A Moment of Gratitude for the Week of Thanksgiving
I count my comforts these days. Maybe it’s the times. Maybe it’s age, but as I write this, I count my dogs, the cup of coffee that starts my day, and my siblings. Yes, siblings. They are the ones who with one word know exactly where you are going. It’s kind of like the joke where comedians shout out a number, and they all laugh. The joke doesn’t even need to be told.
I have been blessed from the start with wise parents who shaped a family where everyone counted. My parents owned a small kosher grocery store where we all worked to support the business. Apply any financial criteria to our life, and we would definitely have been considered poor. The magic of my parents is that we never knew this. Our home was 1241 square feet with one bathroom for our family of eight. I grew up thinking that bananas are to be eaten when brown, and over-ripe peaches are simply the best (well they kind of are, right?).
Into this world, insert my three brothers and two sisters. We are alike in the most important ways and different in the ways that make life interesting. Ask any one of us what is the most heinous quality that a person could sport, and you would likely hear, “Arrogance.” We value community because we grew up in a small and connected neighborhood. We value education because my parents never had the opportunity to attend college, and we didn’t want our future to be running their store.
We are different in our professions, our lifestyle, our sports’ teams, and yes, our politics. We can have very spirited conversations — sometimes too spirited — but at the end of the day, we always settle upon shared values and unconditional love. The same kind of love that my dogs, Nemo and Teddy, give to me. My sibs are my littermates.
We all knew from the get-go that loyalty was essential. My parents hated the rare times we told on each other. My sister Beth once bit into a potato chip dipped in mustard and proclaimed it “delicious” to prove the person wrong who called my mustard-chip-eating brother “weird.” Beth’s loyalty showed itself in other ways, too. I was processing my mother’s keepsakes and was slowed down by reading Beth’s countless cards reminding us all, through good times and bad, that we have what it takes (in the now extinct talent…