It’s been several years since I’ve spent Thanksgiving with my family. And while I do believe that we should all be grateful and appreciate our blessings every day, I’m very happy to have a dedicated day to simply be with your nearest and dearest and enjoy each other’s company. OK, it’s not uncommon to hear how much these obligatory family events are dreaded. But come on now, there must be some good memories and warm fuzzy feelings you can recall.
For example, the last time I had a full-on holiday with my family my nieces and nephew were 10, 4, and 8, respectively. Now, they are 16, 10, and 14. Now I’ve seen them periodically over the years, but spending a full day with them was pretty amazing. My older niece, 16, has grown into a beautiful girl and her singing talents impress me more every time I see her. My nephew, 14, just made his prep school hockey team (as a first-year) and after less than a semester of French speaks what he has learned so far, including the prayers he shared with us, with barely a hint of an American accent. The youngest, 10, has developed quite an artistic talent for drawing and likes to cook. Fantastic kids.
Even more fantastic though, is the way that they dote on my father. He’s aged a good deal in the last few years, but has been especially unwell this fall. He’s on the mend, but it’s a long road. The long dinner at my brother’s home, which might normally test his patience, instead seemed to energize him for a bit and I heard him telling stories that I haven’t heard in quite some time. He needed a short rest in between dinner and dessert, but the pies must have given him an extra burst, because he succumbed to a full-family Wii-fest! From bowling, to swordfighting, to wakeboarding, he and my mother seemed to lose decades as their scores improved with every round. Personally, I felt like a teenager myself and I couldn’t have been more grateful in that moment for having grown up a part of my family.
Back at my parents’ house, I expected them to be ready to hit the hay. I was about to succumb to a serious turkey coma (having eaten enough to rival Henry VIII), but instead we curled up to watch DeNiro and Pacino until well past midnight. I watched my father reposition the ottoman so my mother could put her feet up, then saw her cover them up with the closest blanket.
One day may not be enough to fully express our thanks for all the goodness and grace in our lives, but I’m glad for the tradition. And grateful. Very, very grateful.