Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving all year round

Thanksgiving has come and gone; most everyone is back to work, school, and reality. Thanksgiving came and went rather quickly this year for me; I didn't get to enjoy the buildup to a break from school/work. I didn't have to think of Thanksgiving to get me through the month of October and November. It just came, nothing spectacular happened, and then my life returned to its easy, slow pace.

However, I don't think this lack of change is a bad thing. Believe me—I don't envy those who had to leave their warm beds this morning and venture out into the snowy weather. For me, this lack of significant holiday feeling has within it a lesson: Thanksgiving isn't a one-time thing, but rather an everyday thing. I didn't feel any extra gratitude on Thanksgiving because I am filled with gratitude every day: gratitude for my home and family, for my education, for the gospel and the fact that my parents raised me right, for my gifts and talents, for the changing weather. It took me awhile to get to this point, but I don't need a holiday to make me appreciate what I have, because no matter what goes wrong in my life, I will always have so much more than I lack.

However, I did have one extra thing to be grateful for on Thanksgiving day. We gathered at my Grandpa Jackson's house with about 30 of my Mom's family members (which is only about a quarter of the grand total). The attic was lined with a couple of long tables, just like we did it when I was young. Jessica and Vikki fought over the bunny spoon. The small kids sat at the tiny table. Everyone brought their specialty foods and the first few minutes of the meal were full of compliments to the various chefs. It was Thanksgiving as I have experienced many times in the distant past, but not very much in the recent past. After dinner, Mom, Lore, Terri, and Deona kept us entertained with their sister banter (now I know what I have to look forward to in 20 years). It was an afternoon full of good food, laughter, bonding, and more laughter. I am grateful for holidays that give us an excuse to reunite with beloved family members.

And, I must say that I'm grateful for one more thing: I am sitting inside a warm house that has been Christmas-afied, there's at least a foot of snow outside and it's still snowing, and I have nowhere to go. If I had school or a full-time job, I wouldn't be enjoying this particular moment nearly as much.

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