Thanksgiving comes early this year. Are you ready? Whether you are hosting Thanksgiving in your home, or “over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go” is your mantra, you need to be ready. Thanksgiving is a special holiday. It is a time of great food, family memories, and sometimes, conflict. It is my favorite holiday of the year, for those reasons, and more.
Our family has gathered in Raleigh for most of the last thirty-two years, all 40-60 of us! Our family travels from Maryland to Florida, most arriving in Raleigh by Tuesday before turkey day (and a few before!) and the last ones leaving the weekend after. We cook together, play together, and yes, have an occasional conflict together. After all, we are family, and all that relates to family is not fun and games. But thankfully, most is. The occasional conflict is more than worth it!
The adult children proclaim that we do this for the children and grandchildren, and that is true, but not totally true. We do it for us also. We are carrying on the tradition of making the effort to be together, hoping that our children and grandchildren will carry on the tradition when we no longer can. While we know we can’t control what they do when we are gone, we are modeling what we hope they will continue. We hope they will skip the conflict part, but we know when family comes together, there can be conflict. And, it is more than worth it!
As an only child of divorced parents, I do not remember any family holiday celebrations. I do not have any memories of Thanksgiving at all. Probably for that reason, this family coming together for Thanksgiving is even more meaningful. While I have certainly been a part of making this holiday time together work, if others did not care enough to come, there would be no celebration together. So, I am more than grateful for our family who cares enough to come together.
How about you, and your celebrations? It is not about the number of people at your table, or the magnitude of your celebration. It is more about the meaning you and yours gives to this holiday.
Are you thankful? Are you thankful for the gift of life? Do you appreciate your health, your good fortune, and your other blessings? Are you thankful for whatever is your lot in life, knowing that it is all a part of a master plan, and that you are only a part in it?
I am thankful; for family, for other loved ones, and for the gift of life. I am thankful for Thanksgiving.
And dear reader, I am thankful for you. May your Thanksgiving holiday be joyful, peaceful, and filled with all of the love you can give. And in giving, may blessings come back to you ten fold.