Thanksgiving… Normally a time to surround ourselves with a congregation of family and friends, will undoubtedly be a bit different this year. However, the richness of this season of gathering isn’t completely lost as we pivot as a community in an effort to take care with one another. Several of our writers took a moment to write down their experiences with gratefulness even during this year of uncertainty. Happy Thanksgiving!
Happy COVID Thanksgiving, ya’ll!
If you read my Veterans Day post, then you know I’m used to having to celebrate holidays on different days or in different manners. Honestly, as I sit here typing this while 7 months pregnant, I am so excited to spend this Thanksgiving socially distanced. I get to avoid the over stimulation for my son, he will eat, he will sleep well, and my husband and I have full control over the tasty Thanksgiving menu. We get to experience our first, and last, Thanksgiving as a family of three.
Our son, Josiah, will be 4 in February and I can’t decide who has had more change, me or him. There was a point in time I wasn’t sure I wanted to have children, and while there are still times when I silently say to myself, or my husband, as I down a pint of ice cream, “What did we get ourselves into?”… I am truly grateful for everything this little boy has taught, and continues to teach, me.
The biggest lesson I have learned is enveloped in emotions. I’ve been described as cold, and maybe never described as nurturing, in my life before Josiah. I have had to learn to understand my own emotions and how to navigate someone else’s emotions that may not make sense in any given moment. For example, I took him to the post office with me on a Saturday, well as you may have guessed the line was way too long and my bladder wasn’t going to wait that long with a baby pressing on it, so I decided to leave. Josiah was upset, he cried all the way to the car and to our next destination. I had no idea what was going on. To be honest, I wanted to cry too, this was the second time I had attempted to mail this stuff out, unsuccessfully. Sometimes, you just have to acknowledge that your feelings are an overreaction and move on. Kids overreact and we know that as adults we experience similar overreactions, just maybe not over leaving the post office or not being able to hug the tiger at the zoo.
My son and this growing baby have made me appreciate the little moments, the excitement in the small things. Josiah loves frogs, so every time he finds one buried in the rocks in our backyard he’s excited. I’m freaked out, but he loves finding those frogs, every single time it seems new to him.
This pregnancy has been a lot different than my first, I’ve felt more pain and have been way more uncomfortable, but I have been able to stop and enjoy more of her movements and connect with her on a daily basis. If I feel like the day has been rushed and I haven’t felt her wiggling around, I take the time to sit on my favorite chair and just be still for a few moments to acknowledge her presence.
Something else I appreciate is at the end of a long day, or returning from a birth that spanned a few days, is the love and excitement my son greets me with. Not only do I know I’m loved, but I also get to soak up the extra snuggles that day/night. Let’s be honest though, if I’m gone for an hour the kid throws open the garage door to yell MAMA! My heart is so full during these moments.
My son has made me grateful for imperfection. My house can’t be perfectly cleaned, decluttered, or free of marks on the walls, but on the other end of the spectrum, he doesn’t expect me to be perfect either, and what a relief that has been. The love a child has for their parents regardless of the Pinterest activities they created for them is HUGE. We could have a baking extravaganza filled with goodies and fun crafts one day and the next day we could eat popcorn on the couch and watch Moana for the 500th time, it’s all the same to him. I truly see the unconditional love in our day to day, and as he falls asleep at night I find myself, even after a hard day, feeling a lot of love and admiration in my heart for him and being a mom.
Finally, my son made me take a good look at myself and what I was doing with my career, my calling, my life and I realized that what I was doing wasn’t it. The universe was showing me in different ways, but he was the answer the whole time. He showed me that I didn’t need the extra full bank account to satisfy my soul, but that I needed the extra full heart. My job wasn’t allowing me to show up for him or my husband the way I wanted, so he showed me that being afraid and taking the risk was worth the reward.
This Thanksgiving, I encourage you to think about all that your kid(s) have made you grateful for this year while you are covered in flour and kneading homemade pie crust. Let the kids get in on it, let the flour hit the ceilings and let the love and laughter fill your home with warmth.