Thanksgiving is a time to pause and give thanks for all things in life for which we feel gratitude and love every day. Of course, there’s the holiday time off from work and the food and spirits we imbibe during this wonderful Autumn celebration – a time of true abundance in our lives.
It is also a time for reflection and charity towards those who may not have food, a home, or even family with whom to celebrate. A time to give to those less fortunate by volunteering at a soup kitchen, donating to the local food bank, or simply purchasing a meal bag when we check out at our grocery store.
For me, it is all of this and more…
Thanksgiving is the beginning of the holiday season with Christmas just around the corner. When I was a child growing up in a traditional family with my parents and five siblings seated around the table, stuffing ourselves on the delicious banquet that Mother had been cooking since six that morning, followed by hours of watching football with intermittent napping, I can’t help but look back at those times with great warmth and a feeling of security.
That was a simpler time of course. People weren’t traveling to get to their Thanksgiving destinations like they are today, one of the busiest travel days of the year on the road, in airports, and back and forth from one family to another… This can be a time of great stress.
Fast forward to my early adult years of raising my son on the Island where every other Friday night we would walk onto the ferry in Clinton to meet my son’s Father at the Mukilteo dock for his regularly scheduled weekend visit. The “kid exchange” as we called it, was a phenomenon for which only those of us involved were keenly aware. The same parents were seemingly on the same schedules handing over their children to an ex-spouse or family member on the other side. Likewise, the pick-up schedule on Sunday evenings would find some of the same people traveling on the boat. This went on for years.
Today, my son and daughter-in-law and their children have four sets of parents to juggle their time with every holiday. My husband and I have conceded Thanksgiving to the “other” parents in order to help alleviate some of the travel stress my son’s young family surely encounters in obliging everyone their time and expectations. We are happy to have our children over for a second Thanksgiving meal and celebration on the following weekend.
In this time of hectic, rushed travel and blended family obligations, we need to stop for repose, practice living in the moment’s splendor, and once again prepare for another holiday season. Times have changed from the typical nuclear family sitting around the table in the old home town, but we can still be thankful for the family and friends we have today, and be mindful of our joy as we create our own traditions and holiday memories with gratitude and love for all that Thanksgiving embodies.