Thanksgiving has come and gone for another year. Of our 57 relatives and friends who graced our tables, only Tara, our oldest daughter and her family, husband Stephen, and daughters Mary Grace, Elsie, and Virginia, and Uncle Barry remain. They will all be gone by Monday and I will be left with lots of laundry, but even more blessings. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Mike and I have been hosting our family’s gathering for more than 30 years. Family comes from all over the U.S., gathering in Raleigh for a few days of love and food and making memories that will last a lifetime. My heart is overcome with joy to see them all come and pain to see them go. We never know what our lives and circumstances will involve before we meet again as a large group. But for these past few days in Raleigh, we reconnected, knowing how blessed we are to have each other in this circle of life. While reflecting on this year’s family celebration, I note the things for which I am most thankful.
I am thankful for the gift of life and health, having suffered a couple of life-changing events in 2017. In the midst of all of that, I was thankful and remain so. I am thankful to have made it through all of that and to be physically and emotionally able to enjoy Thanksgiving.
I am thankful for the love of family and friends, love that sustained me through difficult times and nurtures me during times of celebration, such as Thanksgiving. Positive and supportive relationships are so important. I am so blessed to have them.
I am thankful for the willingness and ability of our family from Maryland to Florida, (and some years, California) including soon to be 94-year-old Dad and Mum Rosie, to travel many miles to be together.
I am thankful for the love of our family of cooks, who come together and prepare meals for this large crowd of discriminating eaters, knowing that as soon as one meal is finished there are hungry mouths ready for the next. There is never a lull in the kitchen and the dishwashers, both electric and manual, are always busy.
I am thankful for where we have evolved as a family. Some of us have reconciled some differences years ago, making it possible for our family to take priority over our individual pride. As I watched our children and grandchildren play together, laugh together, and work together, it was clear that all of our effort to make family unity a priority is more than worth it.
And at this late hour, when most of our loved ones have arrived home and we are left with the memories of our time together, I am also thankful for the night, which calls us to rest.