Thanksgiving is almost here and there are a lot of reasons why it’s my favorite holiday of the year. First just let me say that my family IS thankful every day of the year, but any opportunity to gather as a family and be thankful – how can you go wrong with that? It’s especially nice for those who get a four day weekend.
|There's No Place Like Home|
We frequently go to my parent’s house for Thanksgiving Day and it is always very special. A little crazy - but special. One reason is because my parents have lived on the same small farm since 1964. Yes, that is correct 1964. They are the ONLY people I know who have lived in the same house for almost 50 years. And the four kids they raised in that home have grown up and multiplied to the extent that I have to write down everyone’s name and calculate a total (about 40 of us). I wish I had been able to raise my kids in one place and never move, but it's a different world nowadays.
|Mom & Dad - 1954|
I am very thankful for my parents and their stability, the roots they have given our family and their commitment to a marriage going on 60 years. My in-laws have also been married almost forever – 58 years next year, I believe. I have a wonderful relationship with my in-laws. They have always treated me like their own daughter. And my husband has a wonderful relationship with my parents. So the blessing count just keeps growing.
|SuperDave and I on that special day|
with both sets of parents - 1979
And then there is my SuperDave and me celebrating 34 years of marriage next month. It went so fast it’s rather scary. If I could go back in time, the older wiser me would do some things differently, in life and in raising my children. But as I always tell my kids, you can only go forward from right here and try to do what's right from today forward. I made my share of mistakes as a parent, but my kids still love me. I've made my share of mistakes as a wife, but my husband still loves me too. My kids come home to visit when they can and stay in touch. I’m thankful my children have full lives and are willing to include me. I’m also thankful for today's technology that allows my kids to record and send photos and videos of my grand girls so that I can “see” them on all the days when they are far away from me.
I have so much to be thankful for just in relationships with my family. As much as I hate to be in FRONT of the camera, one thing I've decided as I've grown older and wiser is that I WILL have pictures of me with my family even if I don't care much for the picture - because each picture is a moment of togetherness. A moment to be thankful.
|Me with Mom & Dad on a recent visit|
I’ve read some true stories in recent years where the author’s parents led interesting lives and the kids were at times the responsible person in the relationship. It makes me realize how blessed I was to grow up in a stable, boring home with parents who were always there and were the grown-up in our relationship when I lived at home.
My family is full of people with different personalities and when you get a bunch of us in the same house it is loud and
crazy. I always pray for good weather so
that we can spread out over my parents’ forty acres of land to be “together”,
it just easier that way – and quieter.
One thing I believe makes family work is RESPECT – yes we’re all different, but we are okay with that. They may make me crazy sometimes – but I’ve got to respect my family members and their right to find their own way, even if it’s not my way. And then there’s LOVE. We have big bushel baskets full of love, my Mom would say, and it covers all the stuff that we don’t understand about each other.
I encourage you to be thankful for all the good things in your life, but especially for family. Be thankful for those moments together - even the ones that make you roll your eyes and want to pull out your hair. Because those hours of togetherness are here for a moment and then they are gone and you'll wish for more.
I'm looking forward to our family Thanksgiving gathering, the moments and the memories - even those photos of myself that I will hate this year and cherish forever after.
Much love and laughter,