It’s the eve of Thanksgiving, and I’m a bit saddened that my two eldest daughters aren’t here this year. The eldest is finishing her master’s degree and has to work on Thanksgiving in order to pay for her classes. The second oldest wanted to visit the family of her boyfriend in another state. So, it’s the four of us here.
When Katie, my eldest, first started going to college, the vacation days she had for Thanksgiving were so short that it wasn’t worth a $400 or more plane ticket to fly home – especially when the winter break was shortly following. She would go to my parents’ house and spend Thanksgiving there – which was good because she was still with family.
As for the second oldest, Christina, I recall the day where I was dating a boy, and we wanted to go over each other’s houses for holidays. Although, with my first true, long term boyfriend, I don’t think his mother cared for the fact that he would come to my house. Nonetheless, I do realize that having kids in their twenties leads to them starting to do other things during the holidays. Who can blame them? It’s the course of life.
Here I am, making a dinner for the four of us just the same as if the six of us were together. So many years were spent with all of us at the table for the holidays. I guess I didn’t realize how quickly the time would come when we weren’t all together. I know that, in a couple of months, my youngest daughter will be the only one who hasn’t hit her teenage years, and all of this happened in the blink of an eye.
I walk by the mirror and see a middle aged woman. I see myself aging the same way my mother has aged – which isn’t such a bad thing if you saw my mother – except, it’s just a reminder of how short life is and how we go about our lives on a day to day basis getting upset about stupid things, worrying about nonsense, and aiming to achieve huge things when it all could end in a day. It’s easy to take everything for granted that you have. We all do it. We all forget how precious every day is and how important the people are in our lives.
I look around and know that the most important things to be thankful are: my family and people who are important to me in my life. I’m thankful for life, and the ability to live it despite major hurdles that were thrown my way. But, despite every crazy thing that has ever happened…one thing that remains true is the love I have for those who mean so much to me. Even friends who have come and gone are still in my heart. Even those who I may have had a falling out with at some point – I still wish well for them and wonder how they’re doing. I’m still thankful for them even though they may never know it.
We all can miss so much on a day to day basis. Some of us don’t tell people we love them enough. We don’t give a hug when we should. It was the one thing I swore I would do more than anyone, but fell short of my own expectations.
We don’t apologize when a person deserves it. We don’t forgive and forget. We’re so driven in life that nothing else matters in life and forget that the most important things in our lives are the people in it.
I looked at the food I am making, and I asked myself why I made my typical, traditional Thanksgiving dinner when there are only four of us. I think, “The Pilgrims would’ve thought we are gluttons. How hard they had it to survive and make a go of it here!” Sometimes, it’s easy to forget how good you have it until you think of what our ancestors endured to come here. Their journey must have been a horror show. If they actually survived the trip, many lost their lives to horrible winters and illnesses. Yes, we have it good. We do have it good.
I think back again while I’m cooking. I recalled a time where the older two girls and I were in a small apartment in the city. The only counter top in the closet-sized kitchen was about a food wide. The refrigerator was apartment sized and small. Somehow, I managed to make a Thanksgiving dinner that year where I actually dug up change to purchase the food. I didn’t think twice about it. It was doing what I had to do to have a special holiday with my family and make memories with them. There were some rough times in life, and I’m sure there will be rough times in the future, but I’m thankful for every moment we’ve had in life together. Hopefully, one day they’ll bring all the grand kids here for Thanksgiving, and the house will be full again. Although, this can wait a bit!
I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I hope that no matter who you are, where you go, or what you do, that you make the most of every day in life. Life truly is a gift that we shouldn’t take for granted. The people in our lives are gifts as well. Make that extra effort to tell them how you feel, give them that compliment, show them the affection that you are so uneasy about showing – don’t ever let the day come where you regret that someone never knew. To all of you, my warmest thoughts! I do appreciate so many who have come into my life, and hope that, tomorrow, at the dinner table (or wherever you may be) that you let people know how much you care and appreciate them.