In my family we have a tradition. Every Thanksgiving, before the big meal, we take turns telling each other what we are thankful for. This usually leads to an animated discussion that lasts far past the apple pie and ice cream. Yet, through the years, my own “thankful for” list has changed quite dramatically. Here’s a look back.

Age 7 It’s the 1970s. Thanksgiving Day. I stand on my chair to make my proclamation: I am thankful for Shrinky Dinks ‘cause they’re the funnest! I’m also thankful for my Pet Rock, The Carpenters, Silly Putty, and my Magic 8 Ball. I can’t wait to grow up so I can spend all my money on truckloads of candy and stuffed animals. And, since we’re all listening here, for Christmas I would like roller skates, a Simon, a Raggedy Ann doll and  my very own AM radio for my room, and … 

As you can see, I often turned this gratitude forum into my own, personal,  pre-Christmas seed-sowing session. Who could blame me? Back then lots of kids were brainwashed by the ads on TV. Don’t believe me? Finish this sentence, “My bologna has a first name, it’s…” See, I told you. 

Age 10 I’m thankful for my friends, family, and finally being a double-digit age. I can’t wait to grow up because I really want to be one of Charlie’s Angels. I’m also thankful for “Gee your hair smells terrific” shampoo because this super cuuute guy in my class said I smell nice. He likes monkeys just like I do. By the way, can I grow out my hair from a Dorothy Hamill to a Farrah? 

Here’s the backstory: I had recently (secretly) borrowed my friends copy of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. It.  Blew. My. Mind! So shocked was I, that I took to smoking candy cigarettes, developed a serious Zotz addiction, and generally started acting peculiar. Add to this my chest exercise regimen and I had all the makings of an angst-ridden punk rocker.

Age 14 Uuh, myyyy, gaaaahhhhdd, it’s the 1980s. I am, like, totally thankful for General Hospital, The Go-Go’s, parachute pants, and my new Swatch watches. The only thing that would make my life majorly gnarly would be if mom would let me, like, go to the Rick Springfield concert next week. Puhleeezzz moooommm. 

After weeks of my Valley Girl pleadings, I finally broke her. And, I got to touch the hand of the hand of the girl who touched Rick Springfield’s water cup. It was tubular to the max, fer shur!

Age 18 I am so thankful to be going to college and to get out of this small town. I’m also thrilled to finally get away from all the snooty mean girls. College is going to be great!

Mid 20s Thankfully I now have a REAL job and I love it! Plus, my company cell phone looks super cool mounted in my car. My new apartment is amazing, and I am glad I could make it home to spend Thanksgiving with my family. I almost forgot how much I like my hometown.

Age 30 Welcome to the new millennia! I am thankful to be here with my new boyfriend and my family. Who knows, he may just be the one? (He was.)

Age 35+ I am incredibly thankful for my husband and my two precious children. The fact that we are all happy and healthy is the greatest gift I could ask for. All I want now is for time to stop, so I can appreciate every second of their lives. And, even though I know they have to grow up, I want them to stay little forever. Why must time rush by so fast? Funny how things change. Happy Thanksgiving! 


Jane Suter is one funny mom of two boys.