Thanksgiving has always been my favorite American holiday because the focus is upon family and gratitude for good fortune and abundance. While efforts have been underway for decades to commercialize Thanksgiving with Black Friday shopping promotions starting ever earlier, at heart this is a celebration of home, loved ones, relationships, and thankfulness for blessings.
As each year passes I’ve become even more attuned to my good fortune in being able to celebrate Thanksgiving with my wonderful husband of 10 1/2 years Todd and my parents and in-laws at our home in Virginia. Collectively my parents and in-laws have been married 120 years: 61 years for my mom and dad and 59 years for my husband’s. I hope
both couples make it 70 years together!
2016 has been a challenging year for family and friends. My mother experienced a fractured pelvis and sacrum followed by two surgeries for breast cancer and follow up radiation. My uncle Clyde Butler and cousin Tom Smith succumbed to cancer. My husband’s grandmother, Ruth Moore, and youngest uncle Greg Moore passed on. Several of my coworkers lost parents this year. There has been a lot of sadness.
Amidst the sadness and grief, however, there is cause for celebration. Despite upheavals in the companies that employ us, my husband and I have managed to weather the changes, transitions, and frustrations successfully. My mother is as feisty as ever with an incomparable positive attitude that inspires all who know her. My dad regularly works out at the YMCA and has the energy of men 20 years younger. My in-laws were able to play golf regularly throughout the season which keeps them mentally and physically fit. Like the Energizer Bunny they keep on going and going. Like a Timex watch they “take a licking and keep on ticking”!
While Mom was recovering my sister and I embarked on a road trip from Virginia to Indiana to visit the parental units. It had been years since we’d had the opportunity to spend so much one on one time together. We laughed and talked non-stop during the 10 hour drives each way and remembered how much we enjoyed being together. She also shared the joy and healing she experiences being a new grandmother to my niece’s first child, an adorable boy that reminds us all of the circle of life.
Before Thanksgiving my brother flew to Virginia to spend a couple of days before the rest of the family arrived and we were able to visit - just the two of us - in a way we’d missed over the past 15 years while life took us in different directions. It was therapeutic.
Yes, I am filled with gratitude for the love, warmth, joy, happiness, and blessings of family and the good fortune I’ve had in 2016 to spend time with those I care about most.