Thanksgiving has long been my favorite annual holiday. Why? Well, the absence of commercialism is one big plus. Perhaps some only love this holiday because it ushers in Black Friday, but I avoid stores like the plague! Also, I love food, so any holiday centered on a meal is a winner for me (pass more gravy, please). But mostly it’s because my extended family travels “home” to Pittsburgh from Virginia, Maryland, and Connecticut on this holiday so we can all get together. In addition to my parents and brother, I see my aunts and uncles, my cousins and their children, and those of my husband as well. At my mother’s house, tables spill into the entry to accommodate the group (remember the “kids’ table?” That’s my daughter when she was only five).
I grew up on a street with three sets of cousins, one set of grandparents, and my husband’s family. There was never a day when I didn’t feel love coming from many different directions. Now that I’m more or less isolated here in Connecticut, I miss that closeness, and sometimes I lament the fact my kids have never known it. One of my cousins (one who grew up on my street in Pittsburgh) lives here in my town with his four kids, but life is different today. He commutes to L.A. for work, and his weekends are gobbled up with hockey, flag-football, and other obligations, making spontaneous get-togethers too infrequent. It’s no one’s fault, it’s just modern life.
But this time of year isn’t about bemoaning what one doesn’t have, it’s about giving thanks for what one does have…and I have a lot. I have two beautiful, healthy kids, a caring husband, parents who love me, in-laws I enjoy, a roof over my head and food in my stomach, interesting friends, and the ability to pursue my passion for writing. I’m truly blessed, and for that I give thanks. For that, I’m willing to make the eight-hour trek across the forests of Pennsylvania with thousands of other drivers, run around to four sets of grandparents in three days, and gain at least five pounds from those multiple holiday dinners! For all of that, I recognize this as my favorite holiday.
So how about you? How do you celebrate Thanksgiving, and for what are you most grateful?