Thanksgiving comes early this year, a full 10 days before Advent begins on Dec. 2 and more than a month before Christmas. I suppose that makes retailers happy, with more shopping days between Black Friday and Christmas Eve — the time that more or less defines the secular Christmas season. It also offers an opportunity to take an extra moment and think about all the things I have to be grateful for, in no particular order. First, Thanksgiving dinner. Yes, I actually like turkey. And stuffing and mashed potatoes and really, most vegetables. Sweet potatoes I can take or leave, but there’s plenty on the Thanksgiving table to fill my plate. I’m even more thankful that my sister-in-law really likes cooking it all. And that we have created synthetic insulin that makes it possible for people with diabetes (like me) to eat and metabolize everything. Oh, and I’m thankful I have health insurance to pay for the insulin. Without that, I’d have to choose between my physical health and my family’s financial health. I’m thankful that Frank still wants to run in a Turkey Trot with me on Thanksgiving morning. Well, start a Turkey Trot with me at least, since he will no doubt finish well ahead of me. We did our first one together when he was 8; this year, he is 17. But we’ve missed a few years because of Thanksgiving morning hockey games. This year’s first Thanksgiving tournament game isn’t until Friday, so we can spend the morning out running with thousands of like-minded people. I’m thankful that Caroline is home from college for the holiday, and, for the first time in six months, all three kids are home together. Even better, they get along and seem to enjoy spending time together. Caroline has watched movies with Teresa and even gone to one of Frank’s games. I’m thankful for the time we’re getting to spend with Frank during his last year of high school, driving to games and talking about everything from the history of the abolitionist movement to the need for more public transit. I’m thankful for Teresa and her willingness to offer her unique perspective. She’s already introduced us to new experiences, from swim meets to watching her sing the national anthem at a DePaul women’s basketball game with her school choir. And Minecraft. Lots of Minecraft. I’m grateful that we have years to go before she’s thinking about leaving home. And, of course, I’m grateful for my husband, who helps us all manage to keep everyone together and moving forward. On a purely practical level, I’m grateful for the division of household labor, and for having someone who cares just as much about our family as I do, who always has my back. He’s the one who starts both the goofy jokes and the serious conversations, the ones aimed at getting us somewhere. Then again, he’s mostly the one who drives, too.