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!
Together is my favorite place to be. Most of the time. Some of the time? I have a sign in our home with these words. Back in April, I considered taking it down. Because it’s my favorite place to be until it isn’t. And for a while there, it wasn’t. The world’s reality forced us into a whole lot of togetherness and it wasn’t exactly rainbows and unicorns. The dramatic change to our lifestyle meant the days were long, the nights were short, and everybody’s nerves were severed. So yes, that 24/7 family time was truly testing my list of favorite things.
Yet even in the midst of this, I absolutely recognize not everyone has people they can call family. It’s a sobering thought because I cannot imagine doing this rugged ride without mine. I love my family. They are my people. I am grateful that I have a tiny troop who loves me for me, accepts all my idiosyncrasies, and helps remind me that the small things do matter. But of course, by that same token, they are also the same people who drive me mad, have their own obnoxious habits and characteristics, and know nothing about cleaning up after themselves. But hey, grateful heart right here! I mean, without them I’d know nothing about the NFL, awful one-liners from movies, or the songs and likes of JoJo Siwa. It’s a delicate balance of love and loathe. But again, grateful heart right here.
Although I joke, I genuinely appreciate the moments when my family makes me smile. They’re a funny bunch. Which is great, because I’m not. I’m often too serious and overly focused to find the funny. Lately though, I’ve been finding myself laughing at all the small stuff around here. Otherwise I might cry at the all the big stuff that continues to rain on our parade. The small moments that bring joy are truly the ones that I’ve been clinging to during a time when it’s been difficult to create big moments outside our four walls. The world for us all has been turned upside down, normalcies have been dismantled, and everything that has brought us comfort in the past is teetering between less and total loss. So, I completely get how difficult it is right now to embrace an attitude of gratitude. We are dealing with an enormous amount of stress and an unprecedented reality. And because we’re human, that alone can overshadow a grateful heart. But you know what? Don’t feel bad. Don’t feel ashamed. And most definitely, don’t feel alone.
Recently, I’ve felt like some people in my life have been (wrongly) judging me because I’m not over here showcasing all the bright and bubbly on social media. I’ve chosen to share some of the honest moments happening in our home or the memes that express the misery that doesn’t go unnoticed. Yes, they reveal disappointment, sadness, and frustration. I’ve complained. I’ve cried. And I’ve struggled. Even though I am grateful for my family, my home, my safety, and my health. I am also overwhelmed with the loss, the grief, and the sadness that COVID has imposed upon our lives. Exposing this does not make me UNgrateful. It makes me human.
My family is my rock when everything else is shifting like sand. I am grateful for that veil of stability, but even the firmest foundation can find itself disturbed. If your house full of humans have been on your very last nerve for the past eight months, I get it. I understand wholeheartedly and I am not judging. We can love without liking. We can appreciate without acknowledging. And we can be grateful without glorifying.
This is the week where we get to celebrate a holiday that is meant to recognize and celebrate all the people and the things that we are thankful for. During a time that has really done a heavy number on our spirits. Like everything else this year, Thanksgiving looks different. It feels different. And it will most certainly BE different. And while I’ll be spending it with just the people under this roof, I am certain it doesn’t make me any less grateful for the family members I’ll be missing this year. For the quiet blessings that have gotten lost among this mayhem. Or the other things that fill my cup under normal circumstances. I still have a grateful heart. And I bet you do, too.
I am grateful for a husband that likes to cook. Having him home has meant less of something I consider a major chore. He reminds me that a family meal is important.
I am grateful for a son who goes with the flow. He’s flexible and has continued to roll with these crazy 2020 punches. He reminds me that it’s okay if I can’t control it all.
I am grateful for a daughter who is incredibly entertaining and has the most creative mind. She reminds me how important it is to stop and smell the roses.
What does your family unit look like? Is it the people who live under one roof? Does it include all the extensions of yourself and your significant other? Perhaps it’s individuals who you’re not even related to. That’s okay, too! Whoever it is, I hope right now more than ever, you have a crew that helps you feel more alive amid some of this anguish. People who hug you and hold you tight. People who make you laugh and even make you cry. People who deliver light when it feels really dark. And most of all, people who love you without limitation. These are the people I am grateful for. I call them family.