Thanksgiving Day 2009 is going to be more than a routine holiday for our family; more than a day off from work or school; and much more than just eating super delicious, outrageously fattening foods. This year, for the first time ever, both sides of the entire family will be together under one roof. This is not an attempt to share expenses or avoid duplicate menus in several homes where the leftovers will be more abundant than what is consumed.
The past year served up more than the average share of good and bad events. The health of the mother of my step children has been a rollercoaster ride all year between holding her own to being at death’s door and back again. At the moment she is able to join us for Thanksgiving dinner. An uncle learned he has advanced leukemia and is bravely trying the most advanced techniques to gain the upper hand. My daughter-in-law’s father lost his long battle with several life claiming illnesses. My husband’s eye procedures were successful and his vision is the best it has been in over fifty years. One granddaughter became a victim of the H1N1 virus. She thoroughly recovered and successfully managed to not share the ailment with a single member of the family.
On the other side of the slate, we were blessed with the arrival of our first grand grandchild, Wagner. Of course, he is the most handsome little child ever. One granddaughter celebrated her first wedding anniversary the same week that one grandson was married. One of my step daughters has been recognized as one of the five female finalists for the “Threads of Hope” charity awards in the San Francisco area for her community work that positively impacts the lives of others. We are more than proud parents. While my stepson still holds on to his 2008 state tax return IOU from California, he IS still employed.
There is the blessing that no one in the family has lost their employment in this downward economy. Several relatives have finished their schooling and are ardently seeking employment, and they are having to lower their expectations for landing that super cool six-figure job. They are finding out what “working your way up” truly means. One grandson, a world class photographer has relocated to New York City. While seeking a job that recognizes his talents and enthusiasm, with the accompanying paycheck, he is working the part time, odd job scenario.
While we are assembling for a myriad of personal reasons like celebrating good fortune, remembering lost relatives, welcoming new family, or encouraging ailing kin; it is primarily this emotional, appreciative opportunity that we are alive and able to gather, to love, and to appreciate each other that surfaces as the main thread throughout. No doubt someone will toast the group with well wishes of good health and being together again next year. Everyone will agree, clink glasses, sip their wine or grape juice, and silently pray that this blessing stay a reality. Family is people you cannot pick, people you can appreciate, and people who accept you regardless of appearances, with or without flaws, achievements, or lack of success. With this circle of support, every year will be a time of thankfulness.