Thanksgiving weekend is my favourite long weekend in the calendar year.
No other holiday weekend fills me with a greater sense of nostalgia. It’s not so much for Thanksgivings past, as it is the realization that year after year I have more and more for which to be grateful.
Gratitude, in its most humble form, really rocks my world.
Oh sure, I can spend a good deal of time calculating complaints about all that is wrong with the world. That’s easy. It feels really good too. It’s healthy to get angry if you can control that fire and use it to fuel you on to better things.
Sometimes I get the blues too. But blue is a beautiful colour. You only have to look up to the sky to know that, and when you look up, things tend to change for the better.
If they don’t, I get anxious until I follow my turtle Troy’s lead and withdraw to that hard shell that I keep around myself, where nobody can follow me. That’s where I can sort things out.
I don’t get bitter, because it tastes bad, but I have been known to cast stones, knowing full well they will hurt just as bad when they are cast back. Karma is no mystery.
For all of these lessons, I am grateful, and when I know that, I’m at my best.
This Thanksgiving weekend the usual suspects will no doubt frustrate me: a messy house, hectic schedules, a house that never gets finished and that unrealistic pressure to cook a stellar holiday dinner.
But the heart of the matter for me will be gratitude for everything I’ve just listed above and then some.
I will be grateful for the accumulation of the very things that make my house a mess. It is just stuff. It could all be gone tomorrow. If people judge us on our messy house, they can stay outside the door where we leave the trash.
We are not where we live, but how we live.
Our lives are hectic because we value activity. I am thankful for a son who loves to play hockey and who, as long as I don’t shout out his name, appreciates it when I show up to watch. At 11 years old he is already one of the best people I know.
I will smile inside when I look at my daughter, whose outfit makes me cringe and whose attitude makes me wonder if we’ll survive this next phase of life, as she rolls her eyes at my inability to be even remotely cool. She’s figuring out who she is and that is the most beautiful gift – to be able to witness a girl embracing her sense of self worth.
I am thankful for the house that is more than a renovation project; it’s our home. When the Carpenter finds the time to tackle a project, he wears a tool belt and I get to watch him work, thank you very much.
And while I loathe cooking I will be grateful that there is food on the table. It may not be fancy but it will be edible (mostly).
Gratitude requires the courage of an open heart, a strong faith in love, the fearlessness to forgive, the awareness to appreciate simple gifts and a deep understanding that you deserve nothing more than that which you give.
For that wisdom, I am thankful.