With Thanksgiving approaching, I've given a lot of thought to what I'm grateful for.
And with Christmas music already playing at grocery stores, people excited about Black Friday shopping, and a mix of invitations for our holiday weekend, I've been thinking about what Thanksgiving is to me.
Thanksgiving, to me, is warm homey kitchens filled with wonderful smells.
Every year when I was growing up, we piled in the car on Thanksgiving with pies in the back window and traveled to my grandparents' house in Moose Lake, MN. Some years driving was slow, with lots of snow on the roads. We gathered there with cousins, aunts & uncles & stayed until we were good & tired going home.
Thanksgiving to me, is Family, gathering nice & cozy, comfortably crowded.
As my siblings & I grew up, our branch of the family grew, & Thanksgiving transitioned to my parents' being the grandparents' house where we gather.
Between my parents, siblings & our families, there are 20 of us this year. I'm happy to carry on the tradition of warm, cozy, family gatherings for our kids.
Of course Thanksgiving is about the feast, too. A real, good, home-cooked feast.
Turkey, ham, stuffing (real stuffing.. none of the boxed stuff), potatoes, corn & so much more.
The feast is not just about the food, but the tradition of eating at a prepared table together. For the holidays Grandma would set the table with her fancy glasses with the 'K' etched on them, and that table was extended as far as it would go. It's a time to practice our best manners & respect.
I guess that gets me to what Thanksgiving truly is; giving thanks & respect, around a table, together, for all that we have to be thankful for.
Here's what I'm thankful for this snowy November day:
Our home, warm & strong, that shelters me not just from the cold & snow, but from the busy & sometimes invasive outside world. My own peaceful, private space where I can be.
I'm grateful that our kids are healthy, happy, & a joy to be around.
Thankful that our teenagers are fairly easy on us, young men we are proud of.
Grateful for kisses on the cheek from Beau, and that he plays with my hair every night when I read to him. For his exceptional thoughtfulness & goodness that brightens any otherwise ordinary moment. For Lilly & her silly notes, the simple innocence of her girlishness, thus far untainted by pop culture. For Johnathan, his easiness to please & to be around, his willingness to help, the bashful chuckles of humor that he shares like little gifts.
I'm deeply thankful for the security we have due to Mitch's skill & hard work.
I'm thankful for our shared beliefs & values. Beyond everything, we believe in our family. I'm grateful to always know this.
The patch of woods we live on. I've been reading a lot lately of some hard times & hard places, and I am so grateful for abundant firewood to warm us & wildlife to feed us.
Clean northern Minnesota air & water.
All the pretty things the good earth offers for us to see & be a part of.
I'm thankful for interesting books. They are some of my favorite acquaintances.
For the peace & clarity around me as I get older. Making decisions to no longer sacrifice myself & my time for things that aren't important to me.. this is coming easier, and it's wonderful.
I'm thankful for learning.
I'm thankful for crossing paths with & knowing many good people, and the ability to share with & learn from them.
For all the amazing things I've been able to see, do, & experience.
And for all the amazing things I've yet to see, do & experience; I'm thankful that I have them to look forward to.