Today I will play in my annual Thanksgiving Family Football game. My goal this afternoon is to simply play the entire game without injury. For that alone I will be thankful, but I’m also extremely thankful for the event itself, which has come to mean a whole lot more.
Over the years my rather large family (2 brothers, 4 sisters, an adopted sister, 7 spouses, 12 kids, and Papa) has spread out over the entire country. Yet in the middle of growing our careers, building our relationships, raising our families and managing our hectic lives, somehow we all commit to get together in late November for this little game, which of course is capped off with a magnificent turkey dinner.
The Thanksgiving week has always been my favorite holiday ever since I was young and I’ve only recently come to realize exactly why.
For starters it’s a short week so kids are always excited for a few days off school, and many adults are even more excited for a few days off work, so everyone seems to be in a good mood.
The slower pace of the Thanksgiving holiday seems to play out perfectly as well. No scrambling to buy gifts, no new outfits needed, all religions are included, and the main meal: Turkey, potatoes, stuffing and pie, well that won’t put too large a dent in your bank account.
The most important ingredient for me however is that I’m always surrounded by the people in this world that I love and care about the most, my family.
There is something about Thanksgiving is that seems to afford us the opportunity to take stock in our lives and remember all the amazing gifts we have been blessed with and the many things that we all can be thankful for.
Before the actual meal, one of our family traditions is to go around the table and have everyone share what they are thankful for. This ritual is filled with laughter, love, tears, humor and emotion and has become the culminating event for our week.
My mother, who was an amazing teacher, started this tradition when I was very young. Now that she is no longer with us I realize that it’s just one more gift that she passed along to all of us, a sort of lesson plan in the classroom that defines our family. It’s here in this moment that we get to let down our guard, be truly authentic, and tell those that we care about how much they really mean to us.
While he was still with us, my grandfather used to be part of our Thanksgiving celebration. When it came his turn to share what he was thankful for, every year he would always say “I’m just thankful to be here with this amazing family for one more year.” Today when we go around the table, I feel as though everyone in our family now truly understands exactly what he meant, and connects to that statement in our own unique ways.
As we share what we are thankful for, I can still hear my grandfather’s voice repeating that statement over and over again, resonating like a classic old song. It’s here I realize that just like him, among all the other things I’m very thankful for, I am so thankful and blessed to just be here with those that I care about so much, to celebrate life for another year.
Ask yourself this Thanksgiving weekend:
What are you most thankful for in your life?
Whom have you chosen to celebrate all the gifts you have been blessed with?
How will you take a few moments this weekend to pause and reflect on what you are grateful for in your life?
Thoughts for the week:
“Silent gratitude isn’t very much use to anyone.” – Gertrude Stein
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” – William Arthur Ward
“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Life is an echo. What you send out, comes back. What you sow, you reap. What you give, you get. What you see in others, exists in you. Remember, life is an echo. It always gets back to you. So give goodness. ” – Unknown
“Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.”
Never let the things you want make you forget the things you have – Unknown
“When you feel things are bad, when you feel sour and blue, when you start to get mad, you should do what I do… Just tell yourself duckie you’re really quite lucky!
Some people are much more…oh, ever so much more… oh, muchly much-much
more unlucky than you.” –Dr Seuss
“Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.” -Guillaume Apollinaire
Looking forward to our next conversation