Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What is the true meaning of Thanksgiving for you?

Can you look past the family quarrels, traffic, and stress of trying to get the turkey and all the fixings on the table in time? I know it’s tough sometimes but this year take a minute to think about what you are truly thankful for.
The Thanksgivings of my childhood are some of my best memories. We always went to my grandparents’ house and for years had the same traditions, I love traditions. We usually got there a bit earlier than the rest of the family and I loved the anticipation of my relatives showing up. I have three male cousins all of whom are older than me so it was like having big brothers. Despite the fact that I was always on the bottom of the dog pile I still looked forward to seeing them. The football game was always on in the TV room, there was always a tray of grandma’s homemade pickles, and like most kids I always put olives on all ten of my fingers. Some years I dressed up as a pilgrim. I can’t remember if that was my doing or my mom’s. Most years there was a fire going in the fireplace unless it was too warm and my cousins and I always played H-O-R-S-E.
My grandparents lived out in the country. They had a large piece of property, most of which was taken up by vineyards. There was a lot of dirt and back then there were many places for a kid to use their imagination. The basketball hoop was attached to the barn and the circular driveway was perfect for riding bikes around and around. I could be imagining it, but there was something magical about Thanksgivings at Grandma’s house. The air was crisp, there were leaves on the ground and the house was warm and comforting.
After we ate ourselves silly we often went for a walk, which seems funny now because I always felt like we were walking far, but it was probably less than the length of a football field. Sometimes we walked down to the railroad tracks, we had to go through the vineyard to get there, and it was always an adventure.
After we made room for pie by walking it was my job to help slice, add the whipped cream and pass it out. There was always a table set up in my grandparent’s bedroom that was the pie table. I guess we just didn’t have room for the pie anywhere else? It’s funny, the things we remember.
My absolute favorite tradition from Thanksgiving is the exchange of Christmas ornaments. I don’t know when or why we started doing this but I have a tree full of ornaments that have sentimental value from many years passed. I loved sitting down after dinner and pie and opening little tissue wrapped surprises! My mom always tried to write the year on the ornament somewhere and maybe who it was from.
I know not everyone is lucky enough to have such good memories of their childhood Thanksgivings and I cherish and appreciate the fact that I do. Maybe the reason it was so special as a kid is precisely because I was a kid, Thanksgiving doesn’t really hold as much magic as an adult. Responsibility and stress get in the way and that’s unfortunate. If nothing else, tomorrow is a day to be thankful for what you do have. There is almost always going to be someone that has it worse than you do and we sometimes lose sight of that. Everything is relative of course, and your troubles are certainly valid as are mine but tomorrow try and see past them and take note of what you do have going for you.
I have very supportive family and friends that love me, I have my health, I have food to eat, I have a warm place to live, I have my life experiences which have made me the better person I am today, I have faith, I have love in my life, I have aspirations, I have things and activities that make me happy, I have a growing knowledge and understanding of who I am, and I am aware of my shortcomings and can recognize and work on them. I’m sure there are more things but that is what I could come up with for now. 
What can you come up with?
I truly hope that all of you have a wonderful turkey day and that you find a little magic in it.

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