It took a little work and a few conversations, but I had my mind settled comfortably around spending Thanksgiving on my own. Thankfully, being thankful is not something I save for one day of the year, and although I wrote from Hawaii last week and am thankful for the experiences in life that blow my mind, I count my blessings for the heat in my house and the gas in my car daily…warmth, mobility, and freedom.
It’s an off year, so I didn’t have my kids on Thanksgiving but they were coming home on Friday, and it didn’t feel worth battling traffic or airport crowds to make that turnaround happen. I’ve noticed no matter how much my mind is able to say a holiday or birthday is “just another day” it takes more processing to get myself to really believe it. But just in time, I got my mind to that peaceful place and was looking forward to a quiet day in front of my fire with my favorite books, settled in, no turkey, no traffic…then my friend Guy extended an invite that felt right and I found myself sitting next to a great grandmother at their dinner table. As we started talking, there was a sense of something familiar about her, she told me about her five sisters, her 90 years on earth, and pointed out her great grandchildren across the room.
“When’s your birthday?” I asked
“December 10.” She answered.
Mine is too. We were kindred spirits. And I had to give myself a moment to imagine what it must be like to look at a room full of people that had so much less experience in life, but you now rely on to help make every day happen. The circle of life takes active participation from all of us, and it was happening throughout this home.
Guy has four kids too, so we have a lot of common ground to cover, like how it all goes so fast. Both of us understand, especially as they get older, that parenting is more modeling, less speaking, because for teenagers and young adults so much has to be risked and experienced for them to grow on their own. It’s literally the hardest part of parenting. For the last few weeks I have felt the heavy lift of my goal to break generational patterns of alcoholism, codependency, and all the baggage that comes with it. As I continue on my own wellness journey, I love connecting with people who have patterns I can learn from. Here are a few things I experienced this spontaneous Thanksgiving:
Families come together in many different ways. It’s beautiful when they show up with love for both their differences and their sameness.
Faith builds resilience that surpasses human frailty. Keep praying.
If you are an adult, know yourself and lead with love. Let the kids be the kids.
For all you hear in the news these days, it was a blessing to be in a space for Thanksgiving filled with these women who make things happen no matter what challenges they’ve come up against in their lives. My almost 91 year old birthday twin Laura, Guy’s mother Florence, a force of an 85 year old woman who stood over a foot shorter than me, and the other women in this completely new environment, gave me more hope than I even knew I needed that wonderful and loving families rise out of the chaos of life if we are strong enough to lead and keep the faith. They say wisdom is pattern recognition, and I grew a little bit wiser this Thanksgiving surrounded by tough and loving women. This beautiful blended family has a story that is not mine to tell, but it was wonderful to be a part of it for an evening. Here’s to embracing the holiday season with no expectation of what it needs to look like, and with complete trust that there is always something more to learn, and even more to celebrate.
With love & optimism,