Fair warning- this will not be an “everything is wonderful” post!
In the year of our Lord 2020, we have had all sorts of previously unimaginable things come our way. No notice virtual school and no goodbyes to teachers? Check. Two parents working full time, remotely, while doing said virtual school? Check. Can’t visit Grandma over the summer? Check. Try to keep kids entertained and not 100% vegged out on-screen time while stuck at home? Check. And yet, despite these and everything else, my overwhelming feeling headed into the Thanksgiving season is gratitude.
I love Thanksgiving. It’s hands down my favorite holiday and has been since I was a kid. I love the changing leaves, the crisp air (I grew up in VA y’all, and can promise both of those are a thing, even if we don’t get them in Texas!), football, ALL OF THE FOOD, and best of all, just hanging out with family. Everyone would come to our house at some point in the day- some for our big lunch, some later in the afternoon after leaving their family’s big lunch, some squeezing by to grab dessert right before bed. My dad decorated our house National Lampoon Christmas Vacation style, and we’d always do the big “lighting” that evening.
As an adult, I had the opportunity to work with people in very early recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, and I often did the Thanksgiving shift. Holidays can be difficult when you’re trying to make such a significant change in your life, and I always loved being there to offer some additional support. If you don’t know much about recovery, there is a large emphasis on gratitude, which resonated with me very personally. I learned so many lessons from people grappling with such challenging circumstances and was constantly reminded that if they could see the gratitude in those times, I certainly could.
This is not the year I planned, far from it. But my partner and I were both blessed to keep our jobs and health care. We all stayed healthy at our house. But the best part of this year- we got the miraculous gift of time with our beautiful boys that we usually see for a few frantic minutes each morning before school and too short hours in the evening before bed. We got the summer at home, to have water play days, and sidewalk paint, and family movie nights, and silly dress-up days, and baking treats together. My boys (and dogs, who are we kidding) popped into my work Zoom meetings and charmed everyone with their mischievous grins, and they got to see what Mommy does all day when I’m away from them. I learned all sorts of things about them and see them in environments (like school) that I’m not usually privy to. We all learned a lot about giving each other grace AND space. And getting back to a more regular schedule was a little sadder than we anticipated because we know this kind of time together is unlikely ever to happen again.
So this year, I am more thankful than ever for when time slowed down, and I got to soak in time with all of my boys and be together, safe, in our little corner of the world. And though we won’t have my big, traditional Thanksgiving dinner this year, we’ll cook together in our kitchen and share our gratitude around our table.