Raley D., Washington
It was the day of Thanksgiving, and Daria Smyth’s family was hard at work, because later that day the entire family would be coming over for Thanksgiving dinner. The house had been filled to the brim with mouth-watering aromas since early that morning; her parents had been hard at work in the kitchen. Daria’s mother was making her famous buttermilk biscuits and her father was busy stuffing the turkey.
It was Daria and her two siblings’ jobs to clean the house while their parents cooked. Normally, when the Smyth kids were house-cleaning, they each would have earbuds in and would listen to different music. However, they weren’t doing that today. It was a strict rule in the Smyth family that on holidays, “The family must be together.” Which meant that they couldn’t go off to friends’ houses, they couldn’t stay up in their rooms all day, and they couldn’t block out the family with earbuds. So instead of listening to their own music, the Smyth kids turned up the speakers and listened to Christmas music while they were cleaning.
Soon the house was clean and the food was ready, not a moment too soon either. For just as Daria was putting away the last of the cleaning supplies she heard the doorbell ring. She rushed to the door and opened it to let her relatives in.
Soon the festivities were in full swing with games and contests among the little ones, and conversations and banter among the older. Everything was so crazy, happy, and loud all at the same time. Daria couldn’t wait to escape from it all. No one noticed as she snuck off to the sitting room at the front of the house. At least that’s what she thought.
Daria was relieved when she saw that no one was in the sitting room. Immediately, she sank into one of the plush chairs. Daria was just getting comfortable when her two older siblings, Kathleen and Caleb, walked in.
“Daria, there you are! We’ve been looking all over for you. What are you doing here anyway?” asked Caleb.
“Oh nothing, just resting for a moment” replied Daria.
“Are you sick or something?”
“So then come join us! Robin was telling us how she went to Virginia to visit her aunt.” invited Kathleen.
“What’s wrong? You never say no to hanging out with Robin” said Kathleen worriedly. Robin was their older cousin and ever since she was little, Daria had absolutely adored her, especially since Robin always had so many adventurous stories to tell.
“It’s just... don’t you ever get tired of all the noise?” asked Daria.
“What do you mean? You’ve been to stuff like this before and it’s never bothered you until now” said Caleb.
“Well, yes, but that was before we had all these new cousins! Take Cassie, for example, last time we got together like this she was just in a crib. But now she is nearly two and has almost knocked over half of the food on the table! Or Billy and Bobby, those two twins are nothing but trouble; they almost pulled the curtains out of the wall!” exclaimed Daria.
“Well, yes they did. But think how much you would miss them if they were gone. If none of them were here think how sad it would be. And besides, look how much fun they are having!” said Caleb pointing to where their cousins were playing “Duck, Duck, Goose!” in the corner of the room.
“You should be thankful to have so many cousins, Daria, I know I am. In fact, I am thankful for a lot of things. Maybe you should try to be thankful as well? It might help you feel better. In fact you could even make a list.” said Kathleen as she dropped a blue journal into Daria’s lap. Then she and Caleb stood up and walked out of the formal sitting room, leaving Daria on her own once more.
Daria thought long and hard on what her siblings had said. And the more she thought, the more she realized that they were right! Daria started right then and there to make a list of everything she was thankful for. So for the rest of the night Daria added to her list and at the end of the night she had over twenty things on it! After the last guest had left, Daria took her list and showed it to her siblings:
Things I am Thankful for:
- My parents
- My friends
- Our pets
- Our house
- All the great food
- My teachers at school
- My siblings
- Family gatherings
- The holidays...
On and on her list went until eventually Daria had filled up her notebook! Her siblings smiled at their sister’s list. And for the rest of the holiday season, whenever Daria got annoyed or cranky, she pulled out her notebook and looked over her list. Soon November passed and Thanksgiving turned into Christmas. Then Christmas turned into New Years. And although Thanksgiving had long since passed, Daria didn’t stop being thankful. No, in fact, she was even more thankful than before. And when people asked her about her new attitude, her answer was always the same.
“You see I have this blue journal...”
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