Happy Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving for us in the past was not traditionally a big deal. We had our feast more out of obligation, than out of desire of the tradition. My Nana died Thanksgiving Monday 19 years ago, that took a holiday that held no real meaning and spun it into a sadder tradition for my family of origin (my parents). We had a feast, but it really meant very little to our family, other than the fact that we were all together and sharing a fine meal.
Thanksgiving for me all changed when Gabe died. Traditionally Christmas a really big deal for my family (husband, and kids). We went crazy with the outside lawn decorations, and even won contests for them. I was like a really big kid. Our Gabe passed away on Christmas Eve 2004. The bottom dropped out of my world, and Christmas would never ever be the same. We put on a show for the kids, because they deserve to have happy Christmas memories, but for Christopher and I Christmas lost it's sparkle. We began to make a bigger deal out of the other holidays, most especially Halloween. Thanksgiving took on a new meaning to me after we lost Gabe. I was thankful for what I had, because I know knew that life is fragile and can easily be taken.
|Riley's list of things she is thankful for...|
Closes, Puppy, Family, Money, Food, Friends, Life, and Books
I have always been a glass half full person. After we lost Gabe, I clung to this character trait. I looked for the good that had come from the bad, the terrible, our nightmare. I had to cling to the good, or loose my mind. Thanksgiving now truly meant giving thanks for what we "did" have. Every Thanksgiving we set an extra plate for Gabe, because he is still a member of our family, and we are thankful that we had him in our lives, even if for only 9 years. We include Gabe in every holiday, because it's important to us that the kid's remember their big brother is not physically with us, but is still a member of our family. It was also important that we do not make a martyr of him, or disrespect him by only talking about the good, if acted like the child was a saint, then we were saying that the smart mouthed, funny boy he was, was not good enough.
|Rowan's List of things he is thankful for....|
My Puppy, Crayons, Friends, Toys
For Thanksgiving I knock myself out. I have a ham, a turkey, mashed potatoes, turnip and carrots, bacony brussel sprouts, broccoli, coleslaw, homemade rolls, 4 types of pie. The table is so full, to the point of overflow. The feast is almost pagan to me, it feels like a prayer for our year to be as bountiful as this feast before us. We go around the table and share what we are thankful for. Last year the kids made place-mats for everyone telling why they were thankful that that person was in their life.
I am thankful for what I have. I have been given a gift. Even as my washing machine is thumping right now with a load of vomit sheets, I am thankful. I am thankful for the little girl who spent the night throwing up, and am thankful for the brothers and sisters she will give that stomach bug to (don't get me wrong, I'm not crazy, I am not thankful for the extra work, or the stomach bug). I lead a blessed life, and I know it. Even on my worst of days (and there have been a lot of those), I feel blessed to have had the terrible things that have happened in my life. They have made me strong, they have made me appreciate what I have. They have made me appreciate how fragile life is and to try to live in the now.
As I leave this off, I would like to share a poem that as children we said at meals with my Nana. Nana was strong Scottish lady (like there is any other kind of Scottish lady). When I say it, it makes me smile every time and think about my Nana. It also really rings true for Thanksgiving... for me.
Some hae meat, but canna eat;
Some hae nane that want it;
But we hae, meat;
And we can eat;
Sae let the Lord be thankit.
(Some have meat, but cannot eat;
some have none, but want it;
but we have meat;
and we can eat;
So let the Lord be thanked)