Snow Sunday: Thanks for the Thankless Things You Do

Snow Sunday: Thanks for the Thankless Things You Do


Thanksgiving is the time of year that I try to take stock of how fortunate I am, and spend a few days on reflection and gratitude before the holidays devolve into the chaotic frenzy of consumerism. And even though I’ve got a comprehensive list of all I’m thankful for—from the basics like having potable water on demand from every faucet in my house (sweet Jesus, we even use clean water in our toilets in this country) to the incredible fortune of having two healthy, happy kids— it seems like every year I overlook one of these blessings: my husband. You know, the guy that fills up my bike tires when they’re flat, drags the garbage out to the curb, occasionally does the dishes, and sleeps in my bed. But I’m not going to forget him this year. This Thanksgiving, I’m giving him the MVP for 2014.

I’m not sure why it is exactly that he gets overlooked so often. I’m sure part of it is the same reason he takes me for granted. If you are the one that always does the laundry or cooks or cleans the toilets, then you’d better not expect a trophy when you do these things. You probably won’t even be noticed. Until you don’t do them. Then, the task becomes something to acknowledge—I do kind of expect a pat on the back when it’s me who drags the garbage out. Only I never get one; I just get a wry smile, which is the same look I give him when he announces breathlessly how he has just made dinner. Oh, bravo. Dinner. Grrrreeeeat.

But the main reason I forget to be grateful for my husband is because relationships are such a strenuous undertaking. They don’t always feel like a blessing. Healthy relationships are hard work. I think your partner is essentially a mirror—someone who helps you reflect on who you are, helps you evolve as a person—and let’s face it, nobody loves mirrors. Especially those magnifying mirrors that show all your flaws, which is basically what a good partner does. Because if your partner is one of those dimly lit, full-length mirrors that make everyone look skinny, that’s not that helpful. If you want the truth, the best place to get it is at home, from someone who loves you and supports you. Not from above the grimy washbasin of a public restroom, where you are likely to be wounded by it or, worse yet, not believe it or benefit from its critique.

My husband’s an exceptionally good mirror, which is a nice way of saying that he recognizes all my faults and weaknesses and is not afraid to let me know about them. And yet, he is still here, by my side. Doing the thankless jobs like dragging out the garbage and filling the bike tires. Loving me despite the flaws that are so apparent in the harsh lights of a relationship. So this year, that’s the thing I’m most thankful for. And I’ll try to be a loving and grateful reflection of that for him.

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