Writing a column about what one is thankful for around Thanksgiving is so cliché that it’s even cliché to note that you’re writing a column about what one is thankful for around Thanksgiving.

But since the Cliché Police are off today along with most everyone else, here goes:

* Sponge Bob Square Pants: What the heck, here’s a shout out to the yellow polygon who represents just about the only TV show everyone in our family likes – from the 5-year-old to the jaded teens. Even my wife, who looked askance at Spongebob until she really started watching it, has become a fan. Everyone needs a laugh to wind down with at the end of the day, and for us, Spongebob often fits the bill.

* My wife and I sometimes whine about being something other than wealthy, but then we realize how we needn’t think very hard to realize just how good we’ve got it. As the preschooler tears around the living room, ostensibly driving us ‘round the bend, we can be thankful that he – and all the rest of us in our family – our healthy and alive.

In today’s paper, we have a story about a 4-year-old girl facing cancer and multiple surgeries; last week we read the horrible story about the Denver family wiped out by a drunk driver. It’s a good time to shut up and be thankful for what we’ve got.

* We’re all together. Since my wife and I both have first-hand knowledge of what happens when families break up, we try to recognize on a daily basis what all’s at stake and how we can keep our family strong and healthy.

We’ve all heard about how Britney Spears and Kevin Federline are breaking up, and we’ve heard the late-night comedians joking about it. I don’t know anything about “K-Fed” and I think Britney Spears’ music is pretty awful, but I don’t think there’s anything remotely amusing about them – or any couple, especially one with children – breaking up. All the money in the world won’t insulate them and their children from the hell that can accompany divorce and child-custody and visitation battles — and all the other ramifications of a divided family that will last for decades.

* We live in the Rocky Mountains. Our family spent three years in Southern California and found little to recommend there. We’ve been back in Colorado for two-and-a-half years now and we know we’re in the right place. Home, it’s true, is where you make it, but living in the heart of a National Forest filled with clean air, outdoor recreation galore and all kinds of great people makes it just that much better.

*  This “Denali” ice cream they have at Safeway. Even when I try to ignore the Siren calls it emits from the freezer, I find myself lured onto the rocks of high-fat, high-sugar frozen confection. Heroin has nothing on this stuff, and maybe I shouldn’t be thankful for it but … I am. I need more — or perhaps just some counseling and a conversion to low-fat frozen yogurt.

* Finally, I’d like to thank the readers who’ve written to comment on something I’ve written or who just say they like the column. My goal is always to write about things I believe will resonate with other mountain parents, and I love to hear from you so … keep those comments coming. As I move into the second year of Mountain Family, I’m always on the lookout for new ideas, so feel free to suggest one.

Happy Thanksgiving!



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