Happy Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving. It’s a time in America where families get together and give thanks. Often times its celebrated with a meal. Many families have their holiday traditions that they bring out year after year. Many have wonderful memories of their childhood holiday season.

Unfortunately for me, those memories are very limited.  If you know my story, you know that both my parents were alcoholics.  When I think back to Thanksgiving when I was a kid, it doesn’t bring back many fond memories.  My mother was an outstanding cook.  Unfortunately I never learned those skills from her because as time went on she would rage more and more at me if I ever stepped foot in the kitchen.  She was always angry, always drinking scotch.  She kept a bottle on the counter with a shot glass and would throw back a shot and slam the shot glass on the counter. I don’t remember her not drinking so my entire childhood was spent walking on eggshells not knowing what would set her off.

She died when I was 12.  After that the holidays were never celebrated again in my house.  My father sold the house and everything in is and moved us into a cheesy two-bedroom apartment. It was drastically different from the sprawling house on Driftwind Drive in the upscale suburb of Windcrest in San Antonio Texas.  After my mother’s death my father spent every holiday sitting on the couch drinking himself into a stupor.  He sent me packing to somebody’s house for Thanksgiving and Christmas every year.  So not only did I not have my mother any longer, I didn’t have a home and really didn’t have my father either.  My life was spent feeling abandoned.  It took a lot of work to overcome all of that but I have done it. You can read the entire story in my GoPINK Rules of Engagement book.

Over the years I seemed to end up at other people’s houses for the holidays.  I didn’t know how to cook all that well so it was easy for me.  In the military it’s a tradition for military families to get together so depending on where I was stationed several of us would get together and everyone would bring something.  The person who was hosting the get together usually made the turkey.

When the kids were younger and I was still married to their dad, we would go to visit his family in Colorado.  I have probably only made a turkey once or twice in my life.  Your friends became your family in the military.  That tradition carried on after I retired.  In recent years my kids and I have often spent Thanksgiving with a close friend and her family.  It’s been a great tradition and I am thankful to have such close friends that are like family.  One person told my daughter once that friends aren’t family.  Family is whom you want to call family.  You don’t have to be blood relatives to be considered family.

This year I am staying home.  My kids are with me and I am making fried chicken because my kids aren’t much into turkey.  I did learn how to cook despite the fact that my mother attempted to imbed in me at a young age that I didn’t belong in the kitchen.  Today I will make fried chicken, green beans, broccoli, cheese and rice casserole and sweet potato fries.  I will bring out the fancy china and set the table. Not traditional but I’ve always done things a little different.  Being in my own home this Thanks giving feels great.  I get to spend time with my kids at home.

There are many people during the holidays who are alone and no amount of comfort is going to make it ok for them.  There are military families and those serving abroad who will not be with their families this Thanksgiving.  There are people who are sick in the hospital. There are those who are no longer with us and those they left behind are still mourning the loss.  There are those without a home and may have to go to a food kitchen for a Thanksgiving meal.

In this era of always wanting more, it’s time to take a moment or even an entire day out to just be grateful for what you have, even if the only thing you have is the air that you breathe and the clothes on your back.  I can list out all the “things” I am thankful for and the list is long.  However, what I really want to give thanks for is that I am here today and will spend time with the two most important and wonderful people in my life, my kids.  They are both incredible human beings and I am grateful that out of all the mommies in all the world that God could have chosen to give them to, he chose me.

I hope if you celebrate Thanksgiving that you have a wonderful day no matter where you are or what you do.  If it’s not a holiday you celebrate, take a moment to tell someone what they mean to you and how thankful you are to have them in your life.  Then take some time to look in the mirror and smile at the person you are most thankful for, you.  Give yourself some gratitude and enjoy being you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Veteran negotiation and contracts expert Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, author of “Think Like a Negotiator,” has over 30 years of experience crafting killer deals both stateside and internationally, many in excess of $100 million. She’s currently the CEO of Dynamic Vision International — a specialized consulting and training firm that helps individuals hone negotiation skills — as well as a nationally regarded keynote speaker, session leader and panelist on the Art of Negotiation. Eldonna may be reached online at www.EldonnaLewisFernandez.com

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