I used to work with this great guy named Josh. He’s one of those people for whom the glass is always half full, and he never lets propriety get in the way of being himself. Once, when he heard that his girlfriend had forwarded me a link to some landscape photos she’d taken — photos that included a discreetly naked Josh tastefully posed as part of the landscape — he bounded into my office to view them with me.
Even though it’s been a decade since we worked together and a couple of years since we last spoke, I think of him every Thanksgiving. You see, Josh taught me the real meaning of Thanksgiving.
Up until Josh set me straight (so to speak), I saw Thanksgiving as the height of hypocrisy — people showed they were grateful by gorging on food and maybe, maybe sending a donation to the food bank in response to appeals that everyone should have something on Thanksgiving. Seriously, I thought? What about the rest of the year?
Josh reminded me that I can only control my own thankfulness by expressing it throughout the year — and to look at Thanksgiving as the one time that, in some way or another, other people express their own gratitude.
So with the tip of the hat to Josh, I am thankful!
For my partner, Kelly, who has loved me, cared about me, supported me, legally married me twice and made me laugh for pretty close to 25 years.
For my sons, Gus and Niko, who have taught me there is joy in every single day and that I can be a hero by just being me.
For my parents, who love me unconditionally, accept me for who I am and embrace my family.
For my brothers, who stick up for me and show their love by never missing a chance to tease me.
For my sister, who does so much for us, and who is also my friend.
For my nieces and nephews, their spouses and their children, who have taught me that love is like fertilizer — it works better when you spread it around.
For the rest of my “big, fat Greek family,” who make me laugh and are such a present part of my kids’ lives.
For my job, which challenges me and offers me the chance to help do some good in this world.
For my colleagues, who teach me something new every day, and even in the most challenging times can find a few minutes to laugh.
For my boys’ school, where they are nurtured, educated and celebrated for who they are.
For the difficult experiences I’ve had this year, especially the loss of my sweet aunts, which made me appreciate the years we shared together and reminded me of what is really important in life.
For living in Utah, where it’s not always easy being gay, and where we’re on the front lines of the battle for equality.
For this column and my blog (Christopher-whosyourdaddy.blogspot.com), which allow me to share my experiences as a gay dad, and from which I receive such amazing support.
For my dog, Gracie, who is always excited to see me, even when I’ve only been in the other room. I hope sometimes that I’m the man she thinks I am.
For the new friends we’ve made since moving to Utah, who are a riot.
For the friends with whom we’ve reconnected — sometimes it’s like we never even left.
For the friends in California we no longer see every day. They’re the one part of the Golden State we consistently miss.
For the people who read this column and my blog, share it with others, and contact me to say what I’ve written made them laugh or think, or just to tell me they think I’m full of shit.
For Josh, last but not least, the hot blond with the smoking body on the other side of the office, who taught me to just say “thanks.”
No matter how you observe Thanksgiving — as a day watching wall-to-wall football, serving dinner at a homeless shelter, or sharing a feast with family and friends — take a minute to think of Josh, and just say thanks.