The Thankfulness of Children


I’m thankful, don’t get me wrong, but to be honest I never think about what for specifically. When my uncle cops out of making a toast at Thanksgiving dinner again, each member of my family will have to go around and say what has made them thankful this year. I usually answer using a full cliché without giving the question real thought. “Good food”; “that we’re all here together”; “we have a roof over our heads.” Of course, all of those are true and I don’t want to take them for granted (I clearly take them for granted.) But it would be more interesting to give the thanks only you could give.

I encountered this honesty in first grade. We traced our hands on brown construction paper and colored some feathers with marker to make five-minute turkeys. We each wrote a Thankful statement on our turkeys’ scratchy brown bellies. I borrowed a marker from Danny, one of the four in my huddle of desks. I’M THANKFUL FOR . . . MY MOM, boring only child Leah wrote. I’M THANKFUL . . . THAT LEAH LETS ME COPY HER MATH, wrote Danny.

I’m thankful still that neither of us got in trouble. I’m thankful that Danny’s turkey was allowed to hang on the wall outside our class. I’m most thankful that it cemented me as a combination chivalrous math genius and total bad-ass.


**Leah Prinzivalli is still doing math at a first-grade level.