8 November 2016

73 – Give Thanks

We’ll kick off November with a story from October.

Two things happened last month that got me thinking thoughts again:

1) I started year #36 of life. That’s House Newf for birthday.

2) Canadian Thanksgiving. Or, as it’s known to the rest of the world, the second Monday in October.

Though in my books neither of those days will ever be the most important calendar date in October. That spot’s reserved for the first day of the new NHL hockey season. Or as I call it, Canadian New Year’s.


Happy New Year, from Canada.

Anyways, the fact that my birthday and Thanksgiving always occur within short succession of each other got me to thinking about the kinds of things we should give thanks for. And it struck me that we owe a debt of gratitude to the people who made us possible.

So on my birthday I decided to call my parents. I wanted to thank them for having me.

Long story short: it didn’t go as I’d anticipated. The Old Man wanted to talk politics, and Mudder was off playing Nanny. Though I did learn two things about myself:

1) Talking about Donald Trump boils my blood.

2) So does extended conversations about boxes of useless, old stuff.


That needs to stop.

Such is life sometimes. At least myself and The Old Man agreed on Donald Trump. We also agreed that most of that useless, old stuff in his and Mudder’s basement can be tossed. And we agreed that we’d both make excellent NHL general managers.

So the day saw advances. Take the small victories when you can get them, boys and girls.

But this essay isn’t about having constructive conversations with our parents. It’s about having constructive reflections on our existence.

Our birthday is an important day. It’s the anniversary of our coming in to existence. It’s an ideal occasion for celebrating yourself. Your life is worth celebrating, and you definitely deserve some attention on your birthday. And somebody deserves some credit for your being here.

But that somebody is not you.

Perhaps you find this unsettling. Perhaps I’ve spoiled your party. Perhaps you’re thinking, ‘Where the fuck does he get off?’

Answer: that’s depends on the day and which bus I’m on. Perhaps you should change the question and think a bit more about what exactly you’re celebrating. Perhaps we all should.

Our birthdays are a prime occasion for reflecting on how we got here. And that’s important, for none of us had any control over being born. We simply would not exist were it not for the efforts of two other people.

We exist solely because of our parents.

The first gift our parents gave us was the greatest birthday gift we’ll ever receive. Our parents gifted us life on the day we were born. And they deserve a great deal of credit for that. End of story.


He can’t ever top that one.

Our birthdays should also remind us that, whether we like it or not, life doesn’t last forever. They should remind us, as my epic friend Small Paul once did, that we now have one less year to live. Because we should always remember that we’re going to die. But I say no more on that subject here. You can read #12 instead.

So consider doing something different the next time your birthday rolls around. Instead of waiting for your phone to vibrate, beep, or light up, pick it up and make a call. Rather than anticipating a surprise from family or friends, surprise someone else instead.

On your birthday tell your parents, ‘thank you for having me.’

Gratitude is an essential foundation for a fulfilling and happy life. Express some gratitude on your birthday. It’s your day to truly give thanks. And you should give some of that thanks to your parents. After all, you’re only who you are now because they made you first. Your parents triggered the Big Bang that made the Universe of You possible. As Chuck once taught us, togetherness is a beautiful thing.


Elvis can be the King of Rock n’ Roll. This man is God.

Celebrate who you are. Reflect on who you’ve become. Look forward to who you’ll be.

But always remember who made you possible in the first place. For we wouldn’t exist were it not for our parents.

Thanks, Mudder. Thanks, Old Man. Thank you for having me.

I love the both of ye. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the reminder Bob. Reading this a bit late but I to as you know share a birthday close to Thanksgiving and actually was born on that day. I too thanked my parents this year and some others. I think the older we get the more you pull your head out of your ass. As for Mr. Berry..."The King is dead, long live THE KING".

    ReplyDelete

What's a House Newf?

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The House Newf is from a rugged and beautiful island on the eastern edge of Canada called Newfoundland. He was first identified by a potter with a naturalist's flair, and he does in fact live in a house under the watchful eye of a cat that seems bewildered by the universe at large. That house is in Halifax, Nova Scotia and that's where the House Newf writes fiction and essays on things that add value to his life that may add some value to yours. You can contact him at bobharding80@gmail.com, follow him on Twitter @theHouseNewf, on Instagram @thehousenewf, and like him on Facebook. The House Newf is a unique specimen. Every home should have one.