Things to be thankful for (and one thing not)

lavender budsMy apologies: I’m a day late on the Gratitude Journal, and it’s been a long day because I woke up feeling stalked by a cold. Hence, I haven’t left the house except to fill the hummingbird feeder and enjoy a brief moment of sun. I’m always thankful for good weather respites.

But this week’s gratitude begins with the category Things That Suck: Saturday night, my son’s bicycle was stolen while he was at work (on the last shift of a temporary job–ouch!). And that’s his primary mode of transportation during his hunt for a permanent job. So unfair.

I found out Sunday morning (after he’d already left to walk to his next one-day job) and I spent a few hours fuming. How could I feel grateful for something like that?

Then I remembered hearing this story on The Tobolowsky files–how after Stephen Tobolowski had breakfast with a friend, his biked back to Brooklyn where some kids wanted to steal his bike and when he wouldn’t give it to him, they shot him and he died.

It’s wrenching.

And it reminded me to be thankful of what I can, what I have.

I’m thankful that, as far as I know, no one was dangerously harmed or killed during this bicycle theft. I’m gigantically thankful my son is okay.

I’m thankful that my husband’s healing well and feeling better, and I’m thankful that conversations with my daughter are starting to feel more normal, as I learn what normal is now. That sounds melodramatic. It just feels good when we get a chance to talk.

I’m thankful for all the poets in my writing group and their poems and the wonderful Solstice party that our generous hostess Susan treated us to on Thursday. Sitting out on the deck reading and discussing poems as the day grew long and then into dusk and finally dark. Lots of iced tea. Fine poems. I felt so lucky–and felt extra grateful during Friday’s gray rain extravaganza.

I’m thankful for strawberries and lavender in the yard–and for the chance to have Sunday dinner with our son and his girlfriend–a nice long meal and then the annual ritual of lemon tart and lavender ice cream.

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

1 1/2 cups half and half

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup honey

1/2 tsp. vanilla

8 lavender bud clusters

Heat the cream, half and half, sugar, and honey to a boil, turn it off, throw in the vanilla and lavender, slap a lid on it, wait half an hour, strain it, and then chill it absolutely completely before putting it into an ice cream maker.

I splurge on it once a year–when the lavender’s blooming. Even now, as I try to cut back on starch and sugar, I make exceptions for these summer events–to live, and with gusto.

Open the door. Open my heart.