It is getting close to the day where we celebrate Thanksgiving and as I read status updates on Facebook, other blogs, and listen to my co-workers and friends talk about their traditions – it amazes me how much it varies from family to family. It’s supposed to be a day to give thanks for all the blessings we have in our lives, and so often I think it gets turned into something else. People stress about making the perfect dish, cleaning their homes to be ready to play hostess, stressing about having family all together in the same room for several hours and so much more. Did you know that Thanksgiving night is the highest alcohol sales for the ENTIRE year at bars/restaurants? More so than New Years Eve which is just basically a big party where you are supposed to go out. What does that say about our culture? What does that say about family time in America? Where people are so ready to leave their Thanksgiving plates in the sink and head out to a bar to get a drink instead of spending time with their families. I just think that is sort of sad. I’m sure there are people who have traditions of meeting up with friends and family at bars in the evening and that contributes to it, but mostly it just makes me think that people want to avoid their families.
My family is not perfect. To some, I’m sure we are weird. When we get together, we don’t do a whole lot actually. We sit and talk. Most of the time, we sit around and watch the pros handle all the cooking and baking. I usually find myself somewhere in the middle – not really that great at helping cook, but willing to try and lend a hand when I can. We watch television, we rest. It is mostly a break from real life…and that is something I’ve always appreciated about holidays with my family even if when I was younger I desperately wanted to be hanging out with my friends or boyfriend instead. But now that I’m older – I’m so happy I grew up in a family that for better or worse – we spent the whole day together. Just being together even if we ran out of things to say and just sat in the same room and watched a movie instead. Thanksgiving has always meant family time to me. I grew up in a family that never drank, so I don’t have any funny stories about a drunk uncle or cousins getting into fist fights over the last piece of turkey. I should mention I grew up in Kentucky and hearing stories like this isn’t so far fetched. 🙂 So again, when we all get together for the holidays – there was no option to just drink more so you could “deal with your family” – that’s not even a part of my family tradition.
As an adult as I’ve hosted a few Thanksgiving dinners at my house – it’s interesting to see what lingers from those traditions I was raised in. I remember one Thanksgiving where several of my friends weren’t able to make it home for thanksgiving – so we hosted a friends thanksgiving at our house. It was just a different type of family! One thing that remained the same for me was I wanted to take a few minutes to say prayer and thank God for all the blessings in my life. This is something we always do in my family. To tell Him how appreciative I was of his forgiveness, mercy and love that I know I don’t usually deserve. I remember that it might have made some of my non-religious friends feel a little strange, but it was my house, and my thanksgiving and the person I am most thankful to is God and I thought it was important to remember that on a day such as Thanksgiving.
This year, I am thankful for so many new things because I have the opportunity to be a mother this year – and being blessed with such a miracle is absolutely amazing on Thanksgiving. I have been blessed with amazing friends both near and far who love me so much – and I’m constantly amazed by the power of friendship in my life. I am incredibly blessed. I have a husband who loves me even at my absolute worst and knowing that we’re going to be a family of 3 is such an exciting adventure we are embarking on this next year. I’m so thankful that I have him in my life. I have a wonderful family (both blood and not) who are supportive and feel more like friends as I’ve gotten older which is such a gift. Mostly, I’m so grateful I’m not one of those people who dread the holidays because they don’t want to see their families – I am blessed to have family who I’m so excited to see and spend time with through out the holiday season.
I know that next year, Thanksgiving will be completely different, my life will be totally changed. I’ll have even more family to love, and for that, I’m grateful for the opportunity to raise my own version of family and add to it the traditions I love so much from my family and new things that will grow to be important and part of my child’s traditions.
I hope that this Thanksgiving – you take time to be with your family if you can – whether that is friend family, blood family, adopted family – whatever. Just spend time with people you care about and be grateful for the opportunity to love and be loved by those in your life. Tell someone you are thankful for them tomorrow!