Well, I’ve finally accepted, after much wailing and gnashing of teeth, that despite my protestations, the holidays are, in fact, coming once again. I used to really love the holidays. Especially Thanksgiving. For as long as I could remember, my maternal family would meet at my grandparents’ house in Harrisburg, PA. It was a messy tableau of a scene with aunts, uncles, sisters, cousins, and significant others as far as the eye could see. In the later years, there were a few dogs in there, too. I could write a book on how much fun it was. Was it a lot of work? Absolutely. Was there family drama? Sure. But were they some of the best days of my life. Without question.
Since my grandparents’ passing, I’ve tried really hard to do my best at putting on a nice day, but inevitably, it’s fallen short. Miserably short. This year, when the air took on the certain chill and the whiff of fire smoke tickled my nose, I could feel my body start to curl in on itself. How about we go away this year? I asked the hubby. The only one who’s going away this year is the boy and with God’s grace, for the next 4 years that follow. How about we volunteer at a soup kitchen and go for pizza instead? Works for me, he replied. BINGO! Helping others and avoiding the holiday? Sign me up.
However, this is NOT the spirit of Thanksgiving. Yes, there’s something to be said about being happy by helping someone else. This idea, was not that. This idea was one step above what I really want to do: Stay in bed with the curtains drawn watching Lifetime, chain-smoking cigarettes, and eating ice cream straight from the tub. In other words, a nice heaping serving of sloth and self-destruction with a self-pity chaser. Happy Thanksgiving, y’all! Now bring me the apple pie and a fork and hit the lights on your way out.
The ever-rational side of me says: No, Nikki. And besides, there is nothing worse than a sanctimonious servant. Thanksgiving is not the time for that. So, I will connect up with the local food pantry so that I can lend a helping hand in a way that can be truly helpful. I’ve RSVP’d to my friend Julie’s amazing Adopt-a-Family program she runs every year. And I’ll put on a beautiful dinner for my family and be grateful for
- Having the money to provide a meal for my family and a home to be with them
- Healthy family to celebrate with again this year;
- Friends who support me and laugh with and/or at me; and
- Great memories to sustain me when I’m feeling blue and generally ungrateful.
It matters to practice gratitude. As the writer GB Stern reminds us:
Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.
Ain’t that the truth. I get pissed when I don’t get the thank you wave for letting someone in traffic. That said, it’s the very least I can do to say:
Thank you for reading my words and writing to me. It reminds me of my connections, past and present, to you and to myself. THANK YOU. And have a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving. No matter how you spend the day.