Now that I've got that out of the way, I've got a different kind of list. I'd like to thank all those who, through their crankiness or negativity or simple but painful practicality, put me in a position to be able to give thanks for all of the above.
First, I'd like to thank anyone who never gave me a job for which I applied. Thanks to you all--and gee, there are so many. You never call. You never write. Anyway, thanks to you all, I have the work I have today instead of a "real" job. I sit at my desk, tap-tapping away for my various steady clients, helping move the work of science forward one keystroke at a time. And I can go Twitter or Facebook or surf or write a blog post or shop online for hotels any time I please, as long as I get my work done. And I do.
I'd also like to thank the two teachers I had who thought and stated that I was "incompetent" and "stupid" (others thought that but didn't have the nerve to say it out loud). You taught me that not all opinions are valid. I thought a long time about those comments, and I can see that in some ways, like anyone else, I am incompetent and occasionally do some really stupid things. But overall, I am neither of those things you said I was. You were wrong, and I'm confident enough to say that. Many thanks.
My special thanks goes to the preeclampsia that assailed me at the end of my first pregnancy. You visited me again in my third and more severely, but that first visit was a real lesson in what little control I have over fate or parenting or anything else. I thought and planned that I'd have a quiet birth with a midwife. You put me in the hospital with 10 screaming strangers yelling "pushpushpushpush" at me with the door wide open to the hallways so anyone else could sneak a peek if they wanted to--and many did. I'm thankful to you for teaching me even before I had our oldest child that it's true: Life is what happens to you while you're making other plans. Bye-bye, arrogant, presumptuous control freak. Hello, acceptor.
I've got a quick thanks to toss out to a former employer who couldn't quite give me the teaching hours I needed to teach and to appropriately parent my children after school. Thanks to that, I was forced to try my hand as a full-time WAHM, and I now have the flexibility to choose whether or not to homeschool my children when they need it, to stay home with them any day they're sick, to volunteer in their classrooms, to be fully the parent they need me to be. I am truly, not sarcastically grateful to you for forcing my hand.
There are so many more thanks to go around, so I'll just wrap up with this one. Thanks to Me for a willingness to take some risks, make a whole lot of mistakes, and fight my way through life. Thanks to you, Me, I've learned a few lessons about picking my battles, keeping my peace, and holding my tongue when doing otherwise would be futile. Just a few. I still have a lot to learn, Me, but you've really taught me a lot in the last 41 years through your crankiness, pugnacity, and overall willingness to argue with just about anyone. For the opportunity to genuinely grow a little bit wiser and more mature with age, I am truly, truly thankful. Your mistakes have been lessons indeed, Me.
Now, to You, Dear Reader. What putatively negative experiences in your life have turned into something positive for you, something for which to be thankful? While you're considering that, let me wish anyone reading this a truly positive and happy thanksgiving. Be safe, be sound, be sated.