Thanksgiving is upon us. In some ways it feels like we just finished the holiday season. It doesn’t help that we did not have much, if any, summer. It seems like the elements really are trying to fight me, but Haha – jokes on them! I have a new and improved attitude of trying to roll with the punches – or in this case the winter weather.
With Thanksgiving here, I think it is important to thank God for our blessings. Thanksgiving is a mixed blessing holiday. The “discovery” of a new world should never be taken lightly, as there wasn’t a discovery at all. A century before Pilgrims came to America, there was contact between Europeans and the Natives, contact that brought devastating disease and death. When the Pilgrims came on the Mayflower in the 1600’s there was pillaging of native lands, food, and wealth. Natives begrudgingly made a deal for diplomatic relations and settlement by the Pilgrims in exchange for having an ally against other Natives – even if said ally had proven to bring death and danger with it.
This is sad to know and admit – but I had never thought about Thanksgiving as a long, drawn out bloodied history between Pilgrims and the Natives. For me for many years it was just about family, church functions, a lot of food, distant cousins and Great Aunts and Uncles coming to town. In my 20 &30’s years of course I knew what happened at Thanksgiving, and I didn’t celebrate or deny what it represented. I was sad a lot during the holidays then as I was apart from my family or worse yet, there were the years when my family were close by but we chose not to be together.
Now thanksgiving is a time for rest mostly for us. I don’t really have any traditions around Thanksgiving any more. My spouse shares custody with his children’s mother, so it depends on who’s holiday it is with the boys and how we will “trade off”. Every year is different, and we were in the process of deciding whether we would stay home or go to my spouse’s mother’s home. This year our Thanksgiving will be spent at home as our oldest teenager has activities with his Marching Band. I am quite sad about not going to my spouse’s moms because going would also mean I would be spending time with my bestie who lives close by. It also makes me sad that another Thanksgiving is coming to pass that I won’t be spending with my mom. I have not spent a holiday with my mom since I was 29, and I am 43 now.
That last year I spent in Louisiana I tried to do everything perfect. All the holidays, all the traditions. I wanted to remember it forever. Now honestly, I can not tell you about any of those moments except it was a time without my grandpa. That memory stands firm in my mind.
I have found myself trying to find memories of the past, memories of my holidays. Outside of amazing food and dishes I can’t remember too much. It’s funny what I do remember and relate to regarding Thanksgiving. Some of those memories are from childhood and some from when I was an adult. I think Thanksgiving should be about being thankful. Thankful for the moments we are in, thankful for the moments we had, and hopeful for the moments to come.
I am so thankful for my life today. I am thankful to be loved completely and not just for what is on the outside or what I can do for them. I am thankful that my spouse is a kind and loving man. I am thankful that his love is ever growing. I am thankful for two great kids in my life even if they are not my blood. I am grateful for a decent relationship with the boy’s mom, whose friendship has been a huge help to me. I am grateful that my mom has a new home to feel safe in and it’s one that she is so proud of. I am thankful for the most part my mom and my spouse’s mom are healthy and thriving. I am thankful for my friends in my life: the ones from the good ole days, the daily friends that keep me motivated, and the friends from my 30’s . I’m thankful for Belle and that God has let her see age 13. I am thankful for my life as I know that over the years there were points in time where I did not value the fact I was alive.
I thought I would share a few memories of Thanksgiving that stand out pretty vivid. Every thanksgiving we would put up our Christmas tree while my papaw would be out visiting people from his church. The Thanksgiving Day parade would be on and then whatever football game came after. I can almost smell the turkey, and see my nanna cutting up all the goodies for cornbread dressing. Another memory comes from my teens. The kids from my mom’s dear friend were with us. We ranged in age from 16-11 and there were four of us. I was the oldest with two boys and their little sister. That Thanksgiving Cookie (oldest boy) taught me to throw and catch a football. In fact, he was like “we will not go in till you can pass a football correctly”. I am proud to say I can still throw a spiral pretty dang well. I remember the one thing that happened every Thanksgiving (at my insistence) was the pulling out of the good China. We washed it, used it, washed and dried it, repacked it and put it back in hiding till the next holiday. I haven’t used that China for a long time and to be honest, I am almost afraid of the memories that will come with unwrapping it. I’m pretty sure the last time it was used was the last time my entire family was together, way back when I was 12. The holidays of my 30’s were full of sweet memories of nieces and nephews and family all laughing, drinking, and watching football together. I cherish those years! I encourage you to sit down and think about your holiday memories. Even when the memories you have hold a lot of pain most often, we can still remember things that bring smiles to our faces.
Thanksgiving may be controversial from how it began, but there is one thing we can all agree upon, being thankful for all the things we have and the air that we breathe are things that should not be taken lightly. So this Thanksgiving take a moment to look around and see what you value in life and what you are thankful for. Be blessed and I wish you a happy Thanksgiving.