I got out of the habit of writing down the things I was grateful for this year. To be honest, a lot of the time I was afraid of tempting fate, that just when I’d say I was thankful or happy, the universe would swoop in and upend everything.
So, I’m thankful on a meta level that that didn’t happen. And now, in hindsight, I’m kicking myself, because there has been so very much to be thankful for this year. So, a week after Thanksgiving and on my fifth cancerversary, a few things I’m giving thanks for in 2012 (written while listening to the apropos “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep” from my giant Christmas playlist):
- My new job. It was time for a change, and I couldn’t ask for more than I’ve gotten from my new team. Good work, good people. A baby shower featuring a gallbladder diet-approved angel food cake. And a long-ass maternity leave that they most certainly didn’t have to give me.
- The return of (some) cheese to my diet. After a summer of cheese-free pizza — we can have a philosophical debate later about whether cheese-free pizza is even pizza at all — I’ve figured out that I can have a piece or two with parmesan instead of mozzarella and not crumple in pain. Chocolate sorbet still has to stand in for Ben and Jerry’s, but that’s OK if I can have a few bites of cheese. I’m just a happier person with cheese in my life, as I’ve detailed many times over in this space.
- Great doctors (mostly) and nurses. We can leave out the GI doctor who apparently failed to notice the words “pregnancy-induced gallbladder inflammation” and looked past my 28-week belly when she asked me if I was planning on getting pregnant soon. But otherwise, in a highly medicalized year (though for the best possible reason), my doctors were standouts. I was so thankful to have been asked to participate in a research study on the treatment of thyroid cancer patients while pregnant, which meant an added level of watchfulness from my doctors — a good thing, as my Synthroid dose needed frequent tweaking to keep my levels where they needed to be for both me and Teddy. And the nurse who convinced us to let her watch Teddy in the nursery one night at the hospital did us all a huge favor. He left screaming and came back like this:
- Pumpkin, pumpkin, and more pumpkin. I can eat and drink pumpkin all day, and some days I think I’ve tried. Highlights of the season: my first pumpkin spice latte of the season, supplied by Bridget in the hospital after Teddy was born; getting the last PS latte before the syrup ran out at a Starbucks a couple weeks later; finding Dunkin Donuts’ pumpkin coffee, calorie-laden syrup be damned; and getting the recipe to make nearly fat-free pumpkin cookies (1 can of pumpkin + 1 box of spice cake mix + a few mini chocolate chips).
- A lively Nationals season. OK, not so much the last game of the season, when dopes in front of us were taping the 9th inning “so they could remember when the Nationals won the series that sent them to the World Series” (see jinxing, above). But the rest of the season was fun, and the park was alive in a way that it hadn’t been since the team started. It was even fun when Teddy Roosevelt won the Presidents’ Race, even if it invalidated the super-cute “Let Teddy Win” onesie that I’d bought our Teddy before he was born. Though note to the Nationals, in the immortal words of Bull Durham’s Crash Davis: Respect a streak. Go back to Teddy as the loveable loser.
- The Tiny Dudes Playgroup (and their moms). I was so lucky to have great friends pregnant at the same time as me, and now, going through the new mom thing on the same timetable, right down to the middle-of-the-night texts. I shudder to think how difficult the past 11 months would have been without them, and I am so glad that Teddy has some built-in friends!
- The village that has stepped in to support and love Teddy (and his parents). The generosity of family and friends — of hugs and shoulders to lean on and time and food, along with baby gear and onesies — has been incredible. And humbling, as I look back and know that I wasn’t always able to be so generous when it came to new babies in the past few years. I am so thankful for people’s patience with me, and for their true joy in welcoming Teddy.
- A reason to love “A Baby Just Like You” from the Muppets’ Christmas album all over again. That John Denver knew what he was saying.
Oh little angel, shining light
You’ve set my soul to dreaming
You’ve given back my joy in life
You’ ve filled me with new meaning
And with that, here’s to the next five years — and beyond. Where’s the Ballatore?