I love Thanksgiving!! I love that just before Christmas there’s a pause that reminds me give thanks for each of my blessings. I love that it’s a pause wrapped in tradition. Tradition that surrounds me with family, friends and food that make me feel cozy inside.
Ever since we got married, on Thanksgiving morning we’d get up, have a late breakfast and drive a couple hours to Raleigh to spend Thanksgiving with JJ’s brother, his family, and J.J’s parents. We’ve been doing this for years and we all love it!
Two years ago, our family tradition was interrupted when J.J. got C-diff (an awful bacterial infection) that put him in the hospital for 4 days, on Thanksgiving morning. His brother met me half way and our boys went to Raleigh without us.
Last year my mom was hospitalized the week before Thanksgiving for 8 days. We brought her home on Wednesday night before and collapsed. I don’t even remember what we ate. I think I bought a honey-baked ham. My brother made oyster stew. I was thankful to be home and to have my brother and his family here. But I have to admit, I missed our Thanksgiving tradition.
This year my sister-in-love had to go and win herself a free cruise this week, so they aren’t even home to invite us to come see them. She’s probably convinced we wouldn’t show up since we’ve had to back out 2 years in a row. So, they are going to FL for Thanksgiving where J.J.’s parents live. And we’ll be here all by our lonesome selves. (Violins please)
J.J. and I were feeling kind of lost and not knowing what to do. I think we both felt deep sadness that we’d be doing all the cooking :->. Where would out tradition be without all the people who made our Thanksgiving what it had been? We could go to Florida but we really didn’t want to do all that driving. So, we talked about it and prayed about it.
Eventually, we both realized it’s up to us to start a new tradition, right here where God has us, with our own little family. I’ve sensed God telling us we’re the big people now and we need to learn how to cook and create “cozy” ourselves.
It won’t be the same, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be just as warm and wonderful. It’s up to us to make it what we long for it to be.
On Sunday, my heart finally settled into a good place of moving forward. Then yesterday God gave me a sweet confirmation that is where He was hoping I would land. I read my friend Carol Davis’ blog post below and it was just what I needed!
Thursday is Thanksgiving. A time when we reflect and think of all we have been blessed with.
But, it’s not a celebratory time for everybody. For some of us, it will never be the same.
There will be an empty seat because death came for them too soon. An empty seat because one found another table at which to celebrate. A clean plate set but not used that represents the child that has decided family is no longer a priority. Suddenly, this year…we notice that things will never be the same.
I think back to the Thanksgiving days of my childhood. I would enter through the front door of my grandmother’s house while the wonderful aroma wafted from the kitchen. The house was full. The table was set. We could not begin until every one arrived. The smell of pecan pie and sweet potatoes tempted you to enter and get a taste of what awaited. But, you waited…knowing it would be worth it. Being the youngest grandchild, I got to fix my plate first and sit at the small table located closest to the food. This was Thanksgiving.
Year after year, the landscape of family changed. New faces were added. We mourned the loss of empty chairs and celebrated the additions of high chairs and card tables for extra seating. Every year different.
Then, I remember the first year that my grandmother was in a rest home. My heart ached that day when we gathered around the table to give thanks. No longer around her table, no longer with the big family, different. I knew it would never be the same.
But, the older I get, the more I realize, that even in the “never be the same” days, there are treasures to be mined out and enjoyed in the midst of different.
True. The faces have changed. But, let’s not miss the faces that are gathered.
True. Life has changed. But, let’s not look forward to the end of the day and miss the living of this day.
True. It will never be the same. However, truth of the matter is, it never has been. So, squeeze all of the life you can out of today knowing that God has created this day and has plenty for you to enjoy.
This is Thanksgiving.
Happy Thanksgiving sweet friends. I am so grateful for each of you!