Thanksgiving in the U.S. is a time when families get together and give thanks. We see messages go out reminding us to take time and think of what we are thankful for. It’s a time of reflection and a time of connection.
I moved to California in 2003. Not long after that I met a friend and we became like family. We would spend Thanksgiving together, mainly at her house. Our kids were close and we’ve been like family for many years. Over the last couple of years I have opted to do Thanksgiving at home with my kids because 2 years ago, I became a home owner and moved into my own condo and it felt important to me to have Thanksgiving in my own house with my kids. I think I made my friend sad by doing that but it really became important to me. Maybe because it was my own place or maybe because all the years of my past caught up to me and I just wanted to not go to someone else’s house for the holidays.
My mother died of alcoholism when I was 12. After that, holidays stopped for me. While she was alive holidays were filled with drunken drama but at least the house was decorated and it felt like the holidays. After her death, there was never another Thanksgiving in our house, never a Christmas tree or any holiday celebration around the Christmas holidays. My father sold the house and all the decorations that made Christmas and Thanksgiving special for me, the things that made it a memory. I got shipped off to my relatives while he disposed of everything. After that, I was shipped off to some friends’ house for Thanksgiving and Christmas while my father sat at home and drank himself into a stupor.
I miss having Thanksgiving with that close friend and her family, but what I was missing more was having special time with my kids in my own house. I am looking forward to sharing that special time with them, all to myself. A fun fact – we don’t do Turkey. My daughter is a vegetarian and my son and I aren’t that keen on it. What are we serving? Fried chicken, green beans, broccoli casserole and much more.
This Thanksgiving, remember there are those who are hurting, those who don’t have anyone to spend the holidays with and those who are having a tough time in their lives. Say a prayer for them, remember them, hold space for them. That’s the essence of giving thanks.