When I was a kid, I always said "When I grow up, I'm not going to make huge meals and have tons of people over for the holidays." For the most part, this has held true. Images like the Norman Rockwell photo below are not the memories I hold of Thanksgiving. While I won't go into details (as this will do no good for anyone, including myself), let's just say that if I could've gone to sleep on the last Wednesday of November and woke up on the last Friday of November every year, and been perfectly content to lose those 24 hours.
|From Saturday evening Post, 1943|
Before the next Thanksgiving arrived, my step-dad (who I'd only known a few years, but had grown very fond and attached to) passed away unexpectedly. I will never forget the day I had gone back to work after visiting him in the hospital. He was fine, the doctor was sending him home the following day, so I had traveled back home. That first day back to work I was in a meeting when I was urgently paged overhead. Somehow, I just knew what the call was and I started crying. I picked up the phone and said in a quivering voice, "Hello." My mother explained briefly that he had passed. I simply broke down. It just wasn't fair, he was too young, and one of the worst parts of the deal, it was the day before his 55th birthday.
|Step-dad, Jim, orders his meal after my little brothers high school graduation|
While I find myself getting down from this point of the year until after the new year, I am also reminded of all the things I am entirely grateful for in life.
I am thankful that...
I had (and still have) a crazy family. I have learned to appreciate their individual oddities over the years and also know when it's time to walk away for a time and give everyone a break from each other.
I had a time (albeit relatively short) with an awesome step father. He was a great guy who I will always hold near and dear to my heart. I will take the few years we shared any day over not ever having known him at all. And hey, I have another pretty cool step-dad now too.
I have the best husband in the world for me. Even as I sit here typing this, he watches me intently, trying to figure out why I'm tearing up as I type. He knows I don't do well with these holidays, and does his best to keep things mellow, even when I'm verging on insanity. Plus, he lets me do non-traditional Thanksgivings on a regular basis.
I have the world's best dogs who are full of life and energy and keep me on the move, even when I'd rather curl up and do nothing at all.
I was reintroduced to bicycles over the past few years, and the joy they bring; and I am grateful that I've been able to test out and seek out the perfect rides for my needs. Tony Stark and Annabel Lee... I love you both!
We have a place to sleep at night, a roof over our heads, food to eat, enough income to sustain life, and yeah, I'm even thankful for the opportunity to go back to school (even when it drives me crazy).
I could literally go on for hours with a list of things I'm thankful for today and every day, and I suppose that is the point of all the hoopla today. While I may not be preparing a fancy meal, or roasting any animal carcases, I will enjoy the holiday with the one I love in a low key day of celebration, and remind myself that I have much to be thankful for today and every day of life.