Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday. The other ones are weird religious inventions or consumerized hijackings of religious inventions. And sure, the origins of thanksgiving are a bit murky, but it's hard to argue with such a simple holiday: spend some time with your family and/or friends, and be thankful.
I especially like that it's about appreciating what we already have, taking a break from the distraction of every day life, and thinking about all of the good things that make it up.
Today, as I spend time with some of them, I've been thinking about how thankful I am for my family. I've always gotten along really well with my family, but since most of them were around by the time I was born, I'm sure I have a tendency to take them for granted. As a kid I always just assumed that everyone had a great family and that their family was behind them supporting them all the time. Then, as I grew up, I saw situations where that wasn't the case, and I realized how good I have it.
I have three fantastic siblings, any or all of whom I enjoy spending unlimited time with. We each live in different cities now, but when we're together it's like we're best friends. Besides a scuffle over a plastic ninja sword as a kid, I can't think of a single fight I've had with any of them.
As my siblings have grown up to become three extremely capable and independent individuals, each completely different, I've become increasingly awed by my parents. I have no idea how they did such an amazing job as parents, supporting everyone and pushing them in a positive direction, yet leaving room for individuality to sprout. It's intimidating, actually, because I'll be a parent some day, and they've set the bar high.
My parents divorced a couple years back, and both remarried. That process often ends in disaster, but both of them picked great new spouses, so the family I was already so grateful to have expanded to be even better. I go on a lot of trips every year, but some of my favorites are low-key ones where I visit my parents and step parents.
And really, my immediate family is just the tip of the iceberg. I'm close with cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents as well, each of whom I'm immeasurably thankful to have in my life.
I was having breakfast a couple months ago with a good friend, who isn't as close with her family. She told me that she felt like she had made her own family out of her friends. And at that moment, I realized that, including her, I was doubly lucky to have a family of amazing friends. The purpose of a family is to have a group of people who are unconditionally rooting for you, love you, and are always on your team. That's how I feel about my friends, too.
Anyway, what I'm most thankful for today is my family, from my parents and siblings all the way to my friends. It's easy to take full credit for all of the great things that happen in my life, but I know that all of those things were primarily made possible because I've always had the support and love of my family.
So, happy thanksgiving, and here's hoping you have a lot to be thankful for as well, and that you got a chance to stop and reflect on those things.
Photo is an amazing banner my step-niece made. You might be surprised to learn that she didn't need any help on the spelling.
Very thankful to have you as a reader, as well!
Always good to read these personal posts... Thankful to have you as a blogger, blog provider, and friend as well! :)
I have always been a very thankful person the entire year. The Holidays seem to bring me down a bit because I think it brings out the "fake" in people. People portray themselves as loving, caring individuals, and look for special days to go big to get noticed.
I know my opinion sounds like a downer, but it is my experience. I talked to a couple people that were going to go feed the Homeless on Thanksgiving. I thought, Wow, that sounds good, but who the hell feeds them the other 364 days of the year.
As for Christmas presents, I feel the same way. I give and give all year round. If someone calls me in the middle of the night with their car broken down, I go help them. I have lent my personal car to them while their car got fixed. On the other side, I know people that wouldn't answer their phone in the middle of the night, and wouldn't help anyone during the year, but come Christmas they are buying a bunch of junk that's on sale to give as presents. I want people in my life that are there for me when I need them.
I have worked on many Holidays in my life in a public service job. I am Thankful for all those people that WORK on the days that nobody wants to work. The people that don't get to sit down and glorify their lives because they are keeping the electricity on, the water running and the sewer system clear so it doesn't back up when we flush. I am Thankful for the people working on the highways and roads that allow for the millions of travelers to safely get to their destination. The guys out there clearing snow off the road, changing flat tires, or working in a gas station so everyone can get gas on the Holiday.
The list is pretty large of all the people that work on the Holidays. I appreciate all of them. I especially appreciate those that don't have jobs that get as much pay, as some jobs pay 1.5 rate for those days.
My mom once joked that I make her look like my enemy on my blog. The force that I rebelled against as a youngster was my parents, so they get painted as the opposition sometimes. I'm proud of this rebellious streak, and attribute some of my success to it, but also know that I would have none of what I have if it wasn't for them.
Even ignoring the all-trumping donation of their genetic material, my parents, along with the rest of my family, are unquestionably the biggest positive force in my life. Although it doesn't usually make it into sappy blog posts like this one, the truth is that every single day, I think about how incredibly lucky I am to have such incredible parents. If I dwell on the thought too long, I find myself fighting back tears of gratitude.
As someone who enjoys a huge degree of personal freedom, I am only now beginning to be able to comprehend the sacrifices that my parents have made for me. I was a difficult child even before I was born, giving my mother 36 hours of labor before finally popping out into the world. From that time until long after I left the house, she and my father put my needs above their own. It's fair to say that for most or all of that time, I didn't realize how profound this sacrifice was, let alone acknowledge it.
My Thanksgiving would have boring as all get out, if an acquaintance of mine, after church this past Sunday didn't ask me what my plans were--I had none. So, she & her parents came over with home-made quiche & a 3-berry dessert. For me, a very lovely day.
These are things I'm thankful for this Thanksgving:
* that I live in a country, where there's freedom* that though I use a manual wheelchair, I have mobilty & strength in my upper body
*; that I've got great friendships
* for ALL the material goods that keep me comfortable and/or I have fun witho