This afternoon while packing for a Thanksgiving trip to Houston I was feeling stressed about everything I needed to do before noon tomorrow. Between now and next Saturday when we return. Between next Saturday and the weekend before Christmas, etc, etc, I’m sure most of you know what I’m talking about. It seems the older I get the less I am enjoying the holidays, vacations, well – everything really. Kind of a bah-humbug general state of being. So I quit packing. I just sat down and tried to remember the last time I felt joy and excited anticipation for a holiday, for a Monday or a Wednesday or a weekend. When was the last time I felt thankful for Thanksgiving? What was wrong with this picture? Why wasn’t I saying “Thanks!” anymore?
It has been a a year of losses. When, however, you are in your 60’s you should start to anticipate some of those losses and look at the pluses that those people you have lost, have added to your life. My mother was almost 91 when she died, as were my cousin who died a week later and my mother’s best friend from nursing school a month after that. All gone this summer. I also lost a very special friend who helped me immeasureably as a new mother when I lived in Alaska, far from my own mother. All of these people were a big part of my life. It is time for me to look at the glass again and realize it is more than half full, not half empty, not at what I’ve lost but what they gave to me.
I remembered we added a new baby to the family in September. There were two weddings – adding two new nieces and in recent weeks two very special engagements. Two nephews married, bringing two special women into our family. My niece and my daughter announced they are bringing two wonderful men into our lives. I need to rethink my thinking and start celebrating again.
I’d like to invite you to celebrate with me. Take a few minutes as we approach the holidays, especially Thanksgiving, to think about those people who have been in your life, maybe for only a short time or maybe a lifetime. They were there for a reason. These are the people who have made your life the tapestry it is.
One of the people who came to mind for me, as I was thinking about all the people who have been in my life, from the time I was very young until today, – silly as it sounds – was a neighbor we had when I was a child. He had a garden in his backyard. I refused to eat tomatoes unless they were “Burl’s tomatoes” until I was old enough to realize other tomatoes were good too.
It’s because of him that I enjoy red ripe tomatoes. Now that might not sound important but I think of all the wonderful tastes/food I would have missed without this man’s tomatoes.
That’s not the real reason he was important however. More than that – he made it made me feel special. This man took the time to pick a tomato from his garden and present it to me, the little girl next door, as a gift. He was part of the fabric in my life, the part that makes me want to make a small child feel valued.
I could go on and on about the people in my life that made me the person I am (at least the good parts) but this is your story not mine. This year before your Thanksgiving table is set and the candles are being lit, the turkey being carved and everyone is sitting down to celebrate the day, carve out some time to sit quietly. Think about the people who have come in and out of your life and what they have meant to you.
THIS LIST IS FOR YOU
Someone special when you were a young child – a family friend, relative, neighbor. What made them important?
A teacher: elementary , high school, college
A friend: from childhood, high school, college, work, relationship, now
Someone who helped you as a new parent or in a new role
A business person or associate
spouse or significant other (yours preferably)
Now that you have started, add your own list and keep going.
BLESSING -BIG AND SMALL
We are all blessed with so many people throughout our lives. Sometimes it isn’t until later in life that we realize the role a certain person may have played – even the ones we think maybe didn’t treat us very well. . Events that may have seemed hurtful or hard at the time may have had a positive impact later in our life or taught us a valuable lesson.
In years past our family has taken time to go around the Thanksgiving table and say what we are each thankful for. This year our family will not be all together around the big table in my house. We are scattered across the state- and farther. It’s important for me to take some time and say “Thanks!” to all of these special people. I will do this in my mind,/memory, by phone, by letter, e-mail (and NO I DON”T TWITTER……) any way possible to let them know how thankful I am for their part in my life. Won’t you join me?
HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO MY READERS AND TO THOSE WHO HAVE HAD A PLACE IN MY LIFE..