I refused to participate once again in the 30 days of thanks crap that you see on Facebook. While I think it's lovely, I'm a big believer that people should be thankful all year round, not just one month a year. Gratitude is something that's becoming a lost art- much like empathy. I'm not sure if it's because we're living in an online society where it's okay to bitch and moan all the time on social media or because people are just generally more grumpy, but it seems to me like people should feel grateful a little more often. Maybe it would make the world a better place.
I have a hard time with Thanksgiving and it's taken me over forty-five years to figure out why. I really don't enjoy the holiday so I kicked back the other day to try and figure out what it was that really bugged me. I came up with an entire list- I don't really like Turkey so the meal doesn't have much appeal to me. For over 20 years, my hubby's worked long hours surrounding Thanksgiving so it doesn't really feel much like a holiday. But, when it comes down to it, I really don't like Thanksgiving because I equate the holiday with loss.
The last visit I ever had with my beloved Papa was Thanksgiving weekend when I was nineteen- he was gone a few weeks after. Thanksgiving was the final happy holiday that my family spent together before my parents moved out of my hometown and went their separate ways (Chanuka that year was supposed to be the last one, but sadly, a close family friend died unexpectedly and it was overshadowed). Five years ago, I lost my Great Aunt Dee, Great Uncle Billy and then two weeks later, my Great Aunt Rhoda. Two years ago, I lost my job and now my husband is losing his.
Thanksgiving for me is one of those holidays that I appreciate for the meaning but it just doesn't give me the joy it gives others. That's why I try to practice gratitude year-round so it's not wasted on a holiday that doesn't speak to my soul. I am thankful all year long for the blessings bestowed on my family. Especially in a year like we've just had.
In 2014, I committed myself to getting my daughter's migraines under control. To getting her healthy. I haven't completely accomplished the goal but we've made Baby Steps (and some big strides) to get there. We've stood up to bullies, school and doctors. We've tried new medications, natural remedies, therapy and just about everything else that we can. We've begun homeschooling and we'll hopefully integrate Rosie back into school for a couple of hours in January because she misses her friends. We see light at the end of the tunnel and boy, I have to tell you, it's been a dark one.
I've always said that becoming a mother defined me. It was the moment that I was eternally changed- all my goals, dreams and aspirations for the future we're altered. I'm grateful for the opportunity to be a good mother. To spend time with my child every day and to have her still adore me (sometimes) even though she's in the middle of teenage angst. I absolutely adore my child.
I'm also grateful for my husband. We've had to take a step back from some of our goals for me to be able to devote the time to get Rosie whole again. He's been understanding, patient and kind. And, now, he's getting ready to walk away from a job that he's loved and hated for 22 years. It's an exciting, yet scary time for us all.
I'm thankful for the support of family and friends although I've noticed that the list gets smaller every year and that's okay. The ones that have been there for me to drop off a cup of coffee or sit when it's been a really bad day, are irreplaceable. I'm lucky to have such amazing people in my life.
And, every day, I'm grateful that we live in a free country, with a roof over our heads and warm meals. That we can vote, make choices and be independent. That we have health insurance, adorable dogs and can afford to pay for dance. We are truly lucky.
This Thanksgiving will be the first one that we're all together for the entire day. For that I'm grateful but then again, gratitude is something I focus on year-round. We're really blessed. All of us. Let's try to be thankful for 365 days.
What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving?