Like so may people, it is easy to get swept up in the little things that annoy me, or make me roll my eyes back into my head: the wet weather, keeping up with meals and household chores, dogs that need walking, shopping that needs doing… the list is long. On a given day, these things can really pile up, and it sounds like one long whine. The moments of gratitude can be drowned out, in the din.
For the most part, we are not a family that prays. These days, Principessa prays for all of us, but we have not been a family that begins meals with grace. On Thanksgiving each year, however, we begin our meal with giving Thanks, true thanks, for the things that we’re grateful for in our lives. It is a tradition that I love.
Each year, I start with sharing with the guests at our table, the history of the plates, glasses and silver that they are using. Each item on my table was a gift from my husband and my grandmothers, great-grandparents, and parents. The water glasses we use are the same ones I used when I was a child, at my grandmother’s table. I can still hear her telling us not tap the Waterford with our forks, but the temptation to hear that beautiful chime, was and still is too much for children to resist. The silver was given to Smart Guy and I from his two grandmothers, when we were married; the plates, spectacular Dresden fine china was given to us by my mother. Beyond the fact that these things are beautiful, they hold special ties to people we loved, who were a big part of our lives, but are no longer with us. It is a meaningful way to start each holiday meal.
As we go around the table and say thanks, the things that people are grateful for vary. Younger children inevitably say that they are thankful for the presents they will get, the fact that they have no school, or for their moms and dads. From there, up in age, it is always meaningful to see what each person shares. Inevitably things that I may not have thought of, which have meaning to others, touch me. Often we all realize that we have more to be thankful for than we thought.
This year, I will enjoy a very quiet Thanksgiving, alone with my boys: all three of them. We will be in a sunny, warm place, and Middle Man will join us. We’ll eat at a nice restaurant; I won’t be cooking. Honestly, I am looking forward to the sun, but will miss the traditional meal and the faces around my table. I will miss having my daughter with us, and will be thinking of her safety. However, this year, I am thankful for many things.
I am thankful that my daughter has remained safe thus far, in Israel, where things are uncertain for so many Israelis and Palestinians. I am thankful that she loves what she is doing, and where she is— even if it sets my teeth on edge sometimes. I am grateful that all three of my kids are healthy, happy and good people. I am thankful that Smart Guy and I have been able to share these twenty-five years, and those three kids. I am thankful for this past year, with China and Denmark, our two exchange students, in our home. I miss them terribly and I’m so grateful that we had the chance to get to know both of them. I am thankful that my mother is no longer suffering from Huntington’s. I think of her daily, and miss her more than I ever anticipated, but it’s a true blessing that she is no longer living each day with such difficulty, unhappiness and suffering. I am thankful for family, all over the country, who I love and who love me. I am grateful for the sun that I will enjoy for a few days, after weeks of gray and rain. I am grateful each and every day, for the beautiful place where I live and the scenery that surrounds me. aI am thankful for all of the people who have taken the time to read my posts, and share in this journey. Writing has gotten me through so many things in the last year and a half, and I am grateful for the support you have shown, in reading those posts and sharing your comments with me.
Finally, I am thankful for wonderful friends, who make my life truly good. My friends have made me laugh, have brought meals, have listened and cared over this past year, when so much was happening. I am thankful for those who are new friends, and those who have been there for many years. I have been very lucky. I am very thankful for these, and many things.