Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday. It’s often filled with heaping doses of good things like friends, family, and food. It’s the least commercialized of the major American holidays. And the theme, thankfulness, is one worth spending more than one day a year on.
(The lamest thing that I saw on the internet all day was someone who said that T’giving didn’t mean much to him because he lived every day in a spirit of thankfulness. Give me a break. We could all use an extra helping of gratitude.)
I’m thankful for my family. For two kids that are wonderous in so many ways: healthy, clever, generous, loving, kind, and beautiful. For their love for each other — more than I ever would have thought possible between a three year old and an eighteen month old. For a wife who takes good care of them and of me and keeps us all on track.
So many other things to be thankful for, too: A job that provides both autonomy and security. Friends across the miles and years. A church family that nurtures and supports us.
I asked Charlie what he was thankful for today. (They talked about it at preschool this week.) He said, “My house, my toys, and the playground. And books.”
I encountered this quote in the September 2009 issue of The Atlantic. The quote was almost a throw away line starting mid-sentence in a (rather strange, not entirely agreeable) essay by Caitlin Flanagan titled “Sex and the Married Man.”
“[U]ntil you’ve [had a child of your own] you’re just guessing about love, gesturing toward it, assuming that it’s the right name for a feeling you’ve had.”
Now, let me immediately backpedal from what Flanagan herself is saying here and not presume to tell childless people what they have or have not felt. But this quote captures, better than almost anything else I’ve read, my experience of love as a father.
When we were expecting our first child, dozens of people, many that I barely knew, told me that it was going to “change my life.” I found this extremely annoying, almost enraging, because none of them were at all specific about what they meant. What changed, for me, is what Flanagan describes. The love that I felt for my children from the first moments of their lives was incomparable to anything that I had felt before.
Really enjoying John Gruber’s new Tumblr, Fraidy Cats, logging the (mostly stupid) things that many of our so-called leaders are saying about terrorists and terrorism. And he mixes in some quotes from those who are not afraid. Like this great quote from security expert Bruce Schneier.
The surest defense against terrorism is to refuse to be terrorized. Our job is to recognize that terrorism is just one of the risks we face, and not a particularly common one at that. And our job is to fight those politicians who use fear as an excuse to take away our liberties and promote security theater that wastes money and doesn’t make us any safer.
I thought this was a really interesting description of New Orleans, in “Houses of the Future” by Wayne Curtis, an article in the November 2009 issue of The Atlantic. I will further note that this quote is in service of an argument with which I don’t really agree, but it’s an accurate description of the city of my recollection, anyway.
“When I originally thought of New Orleans, I was conditioned by the press to think of it as an extremely ill-governed city, full of ill-educated people, with a great deal of crime, a great deal of dirt, a great deal of poverty. And when I arrived, I did indeed find it to be all of those things. Then one day I was walking down the street and I had this kind of brain thing, and I thought I was in Cuba. Weird! And then I realized at that moment that New Orleans was not an American city, it was a Caribbean city. Once you recalibrate, it becomes the best-governed, cleanest, most efficient, and best-educated city in the Caribbean. New Orleans is actually the Geneva of the Caribbean.” – Andres Duany, quoted by Wayne Curtis