I’m thankful for green bean casserole, homemade mashed potatoes, homemade gravy, turkey, rolls, pumpkin pie….
Okay. I am thankful for those things, but I would be lying if I said those were the most important.
When I was growing up, I got to see my family all the time. Aunts, uncles, grandparents—it seemed like everyone was there around the dinner table, no matter if it was a weekend or weekday. My grandmother’s house was like a second home to me (a cleaner home).
Getting to hang out with my family so much when I was younger made Thanksgiving a treat, sure, but not so different from the other dinners I had with them. I mean, the food I listed above clearly marked Thanksgiving as a special occasion. But on any given Thanksgiving in my childhood, I had seen my extended family just a few days before.
Now that I’m an “adult,” the treat has become not the pumpkin pie (but oh boy, I love pumpkin pie). The treat is having four or five hours with some of my favorite people in the world. I drive back to my hometown and, for a few days, get to spend a lot of time with my family. Since I’ve started my own life, the memories I had taken for granted when I was younger are less common. I would say this makes me appreciate the ability to make new ones even more.
I love Thanksgiving because I get to see all of my family. We play charades after dinner, and we wait until we aren’t absolutely stuffed to bring out the dessert. These rituals are comforting to me, and I am thankful that I have the good luck of having family to do them with.
I know Thanksgiving can be stressful because of what comes after it. The next day is literally Black Friday, a holiday that’s a pain for worker and consumer alike. And then we know what comes after Thanksgiving—Christmas music, Christmas shopping, Christmas oh-my-god-I-didn’t-know-we-were-supposed-to-buy-your-in-law’s-friends-presents, so on, and so forth.
I’m not going to tell you that isn’t going to happen. It’s all going to happen. But that doesn’t mean that Thanksgiving is just the moment before the month of the year that stresses you out the most. It’s a full day that you get to have with your loved ones, that you get to take stock of all the different ways you’re lucky. So please do that this holiday. The holidays seem to be getting more and more about what we don’t have…so on this day, I hope we are thankful for what we do.
So take the day for yourself if you can, sit with your family, and watch the parade!