Monday, November 28, 2011

Learning To Be Thankful

Growing up, Thanksgiving was anything but picturesque and filled with family togetherness. At our house the holiday was filled with mean comments about the food, complaints about family, and the only thing to be thankful for was if we actually made it to dessert without a fight. It always made me wonder if this was how holidays were truly meant to be.

Once I grew up and had my own family I realized that it could be so much more. The holidays became something I looked forward to. Thanksgiving finally became a day of good food, wonderful company, and thankfully no fists were ever thrown. I was able to teach my children all the things that I yearned for as a child- to be thankful for all the things we had and not focus on what we didn’t.

This year is very special to us in that we have so much to be thankful for. As a family we have made it through several cancers, surgeries, adjusting to living with a rare disorder, the loss of a loved one, and a job transfer that took us on a move across country. It’s been both hard and busy to say the least.

We can now truly say we know the meaning of being thankful. Having to go through our own trials has opened our eyes a little wider to the hardships of others. Our thoughts can’t help but be with the victims of this year’s hurricanes and tornadoes. The words “thank you” don’t seem like enough to show our gratitude to the brave men and women serving our country both at home and abroad. Joy hardly begins to describe what I feel knowing that I am alive and able to listen to my children do something so simple as argue over what float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is best.

I can’t say I don’t wish my childhood memories of the holidays weren’t better. I’d love to have the traditions and warmth from generations before to pass on to my kids but that isn’t something we will ever have and that’s okay. Instead they will grow up knowing they were a part of making many new traditions that we can all cherish and pass on to the generations to come.

The love, true thankfulness, and heartfelt giving begins with us. The past can never touch the joy and togetherness we have now. Oh there still might be a fight or two but it will most likely be started by a hungry three year old who just wants the last piece of pie. The rest of the day though will be filled with the giggles of five goofy people trying to cuddle on one little couch.