It is the week of Thanksgiving. This year is different for our family. Generally we have a housefull of aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins. This year, the extended family have found themselves traveling to visit others around the area and our family will be enjoying a quieter celebration. I am grateful. With children growing, becoming adults, and moving on in the world, our time surrounding a dinner table is growing fewer and fewer. When we do find ourselves around the table, it seems that we are rushed and not as connected.
My memories go back to the time when the children were all in elementary and middle school. I have fond memories of sitting around the dinner table. It was generally casual. I love to cook, but hate the cleanup. Often our dinners were dished up at the stove and we carried what we needed to the table. In my childhood, dinner required "setting the table" with plates, glasses, napkins, knives, forks, spoons, and all of the accompaniments like butter, salt, pepper, jam, etc. Each meal was an event. And it was lovely. But I often choose a more casual approach. . .
Once we were all settled, I wanted to engage in conversation with the family. We would play "High Low". One by one we would go around the table and tell about the high point of our day, and the low point. Some days, we would have wonderful, exciting "highs". Mostly; however, it would be simple things like who they played with at recess or completing their homework on time. This simple ritual gave me a wonderful glimpse into my children's daily lives when they were away from me.
We will play a similar game around our Thanksgiving table this week. Each place setting will contain three pieces of candy corn. Each of these pieces represent an item of gratitude, which we will take turns sharing. This will be followed by a prayer of Thanksgiving and Gratitude before we begin our meal. Then - considering that my children don't sit around the table together often anymore, I am sure that it will resemble the "wild rumpus" that is oversaw by Max in the book "Where the Wild Things Are",(which is my favorite children's story -and hopefully, there won't be any gnashing of terrible teeth.
Although I try to maintain an attitude of gratitude throughout the year, I wish to take this time to express my gratitude for the wonderful blessings I experience in my life everyday. I am grateful for family - my wonderful husband of 22 years, and my children; I am grateful to still have my parents in my life and my ability to pick up the phone and talk to them any time I want; I am grateful for some amazing friends (you know who you are - I have awesome girl friends!!!); I am grateful for my job; I am grateful for my talents and the opportunity I get to use them every day; I am grateful for my home - it's not perfect, but it protects me from the cold and rain; I am grateful for so many of my daily conveniences like good cooking utensils and my gas stove, a washer and a dryer, a refrigerator, indoor plumbing, a warm coat . . ." I could go on for hours! May you all take time to recognize those people and things which you are grateful for and may your Thanksgiving be a day surrounded by friends and family.