Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thankfulness: Family

Part two in my short Thanksgiving series about Thankfulness.


Thanksgiving has long been my favorite of holidays. I could list hundreds of reasons, which would take me all night to write and you all night to read it, so I'll trim this to just a few.

I love turkey. Really. And one of the biggest things I look forward to as the holiday season rolls around is that awesome turkey dinner. Oh, and the mashed potatoes, and rolls, and corn, and gravy, and on and on and on.

But most importantly, I love family, and Thanksgiving in my family was always a huge event, with all of the family gathering together for food, fun, and, well, more food.

My mother and grandmother used to work their fingers to the bones every year preparing for us the best possible Thanksgiving feast that love could prepare. Turkey with all the trimmings. And as much as I think of myself as a traditionalist, frankly I don't need all the trimmings. Just the staples for me, thank you.

After slaving and slaving in a hot kitchen all morning (and now I realize that might be a bit selfish of me to enjoy a holiday that required such hard work on the parts of Mom and Gram), we'd gather around the table around 1 o'clock for the feast of the year (bigger even than Christmas). Dad would ask God's blessing over the meal and the hands that prepared it, and we'd dig in, all of us in turn giving thanks for what we felt blessed with. Then we would eat. And eat. And eat (are you noticing a pattern here?).

After dinner, everyone would just BE. Yeah, just BEing is one of my favorite things to do. You know, you sit around, talk, watch TV, play games, whatever you want to do. Some of us would even take a [tryptophan induced] nap. But we would all just BE, and would BE together.

As the day progressed, every adult member of the family would get a small slip of paper, where they would write their name and a couple of ten to twenty dollar gift suggestions. The slips would all go into a hat, and each adult family member would then draw a name for the Christmas gift exchange. This helped to defray the cost of gift-giving, as the biggest gift we could give each other come Christmas was just BEing -- together, that is.

Mom's gone now. I remember her last Thanksgiving (and her last Christmas) with very mixed emotions. Very happy because we were all together once again for my favorite holiday. Very sad because we all knew -- though no one voiced it -- that it was probably Mom's last Thanksgiving. For while we were eating turkey and all trimmings, Mom was being eaten from the inside out by cancer, and the doctors couldn't seem to find it.

That was the last year I spent Thanksgiving with my family. The family I grew up with, I mean. Because being in Retail Management makes it very hard to work late the day before Thanksgiving prepping for the big Black Friday sales, then drive eight hours round trip on Thanksgiving day, then be back at work very early on Black Friday. Because my family -- I and my wife and children -- now spend every Thanksgiving with my in-laws, who live just across town. Because Thanksgiving will just never be the same without Mom. Nothing will.

So, this Thanksgiving, as with every day of the year, I am extremely thankful for Family. For Mom and Dad, Gram and Granddad, Sisters and Brother. For Sister and Brothers by Marriage. For Niece and Nephews. For Wife, Son, and Daughter. And yes, even for my in-laws. Because there is no one more important walking the earth than your Family.

Thank you, Family, just for BEing!


No comments:

Average Joe's Review Store