Giving Thanks

“I am grateful for what I am and what I have.  My Thanksgiving is Perpetual”  ~Henry David Thoreau

AND so it begins!  The holidays are upon us!  The hustle and bustle of last-minute shopping for dinner essentials.  Family caravans to grandmas house to enjoy food, family, and festivities.

I love the holiday season.  When many people begin to dread the idea of ANOTHER family dinner or sware off Pumpkin for the rest of their lives, I’m just getting into the excitement.  The mall is decorated for Christmas and there is Christmas music being pumped through the speakers of every single store.  I’m ready for it!

As a military family, we were away from the family our entire adult lives.  My ex and his wife are STILL away from their families, so they know the subtle void it places in your heart.  Don’t get me wrong, as military families prepare their meals with their Duty Station Families; there is still just as much excitement about spending time with those friends and family you cherish.  There is something very unique about military communities.  We used to have Squadron Thanksgiving meals and all the spouses participated in creating their family favorite side dish.  Others would show up to eat a lunch they didn’t have to cook and clean up.  I always enjoyed these gatherings.

My mom’s family won’t celebrate Thanksgiving until Saturday this year.  We’ve gotten into the routine of doing that because I grew up in a divorced family.  We learned to make it work, and it was more about the gathering than the actual date on the calendar.  Today my daughter is going to hang out with her Uncle, Aunt, and Cousins on my ex’s side of the family.  She’ll spend the day hanging with her cousins, and I’m going to take the day to reflect on the number of blessings in my life.

I woke up this morning with my phone ringing.  It was still dark in my room, and I’m rolling over trying to figure out what day it was and if I was late to work.  It was 2/3 FaceTiming me from a land far far away.  He apologized for waking me up, while I was trying to ensure that I was decently dressed before I turned the lights on!   I tell anyone I’m out with, friend, family or otherwise, he is one of three phone calls I will always take.  My children are the priorities of my life. Especially a child who is deployed for the military.

NOTE:  I refer to my children as 1/3, 2/3, and 3/3 in reference to their age order and part of my heart. 

We laughed and talked about the holidays, what he’d like in his care package.  Just seeing his face makes my heart full.  We hung up, and I stopped to think for a few minutes.  My son is a grown man.  God has kept him safe, healthy and alive for 20+ years.  I had nothing to do with it other than hoping we were good parents who gave our children structure rules and direction.

I got up, made my bed (I’m thankful for that rule in my life), and started my morning workout.  I could have rolled back over and went back to sleep, but I’m an early riser.  I choose to get up and tackle the day.  I don’t want to waste my day in bed.  I came out to see 3/3 asleep on the couch.  Yet another blessing of my life. She has been here since Saturday and we’ve had some real laughs…whether it’s us dancing and singing terribly in the car, me embarrassing her in the mall yelling at Santa “SANTA!! I KNOW HIM” or snuggling on the couch, I’ve enjoyed every moment of her time here.  Last night we went to find her a dressy outfit for her Birthday and shopping with her is much like bathing a cat.  We couldn’t find anything she liked and I was exhausted so we concluded the trip with a Starbucks treat.  She, as always got a Frappuccino, me a hot latte.  She held my drink as I got situated and I look over to find this girl snuggling my latte for warmth.  My heart is again full.  **Click** Picture saved in my memory bank forever.

Thanksgiving is a day set aside to fellowship and feast with our loved ones.  Tell each other how Thankful we are to have them in our lives.  This Thanksgiving our family will have an empty seat at the table with the untimely death of my Uncle.  When I told my kids that our Uncle had died, they were all sad, yet their first thought was about their cousins and Aunt.  1/3 called me to ask me if I could drive him to the church for the viewing.  I’m again Thankful that my children knew the importance of paying their respects to the family.  It was unexpected and he will surely be missed.

I guess my point in the message is don’t wait until Thanksgiving to tell your family and those you hold dear into your heart that you are thankful for them.  So many people walk around sad and miserable, failing to recognize all the blessings in their lives.  Whether it’s your daily routine that you cherish, the technology that lets you connect to family in a moments notice or the small goofy things you do with your kids.  Have a Thankful heart.

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