We all have expectations of what the Thanksgiving holidays are meant to be.
Media has certainly played a big part in creating what the “perfect ” day is supposed to be. So, when the situations in life are less than Hallmark-perfect, the feelings of loss or being “less than” can eat away at the very core of what we have come to believe is normal.
I have had many share with me over the years that they feel that “the joy of holidays has disappeared.” I am convinced that this is not uncommon. There are simply those who retreat for a few days, allowing others to believe that they are busy and happy.
Things change. Family dynamics change. People struggle to change with them, not knowing how to do things differently. They are thrown into a tailspin and nothing resembles what was or what is “supposed” to be.
I have had many years of Thanksgivings to learn to do things differently. Many of them have been fun, and filled with much love and peace. Yet, I still have not learned how to manage them well.
Life has changed drastically for family members and friends that they are learning to deal with their own expectations of what holidays and life truly mean. I suppose that I had talked myself into believing that some situations would go back to what they once were long ago. But that is my own version of what I was taught to believe today should bring.
Today, I will not host a Thanksgiving dinner. There are no definitive holiday plans or invitations to join any one else in a celebration of the holiday, or to help them in hosting such an event. Today will be like any other day.
There is not a moment where we are not surrounded with the commercial visions of sugarplums and Santa and Norman Rockwell-inspired visions of family gatherings.
Wait! Sugarplums and Santa? Aren’t we still talking about Thanksgiving? I am confused. Halloween to New Years becomes such a blur when Christmas decorations are being sold in October.
Anyone of us can fall into a pit melancholy, hurt and pain. We can feel slighted for not getting invitations. We may feel discarded by those who “should” (fill-in-the-blank).
I admit that I have fallen into that pit a time or two over the years.
Yet, I have learned that every day can be a day of thanksgiving, whether or not it is filled with turkey and stuffing, and pumpkin pie while watching football games with people you may see once a year.
But who is to say that you cannot stuff a turkey with bread, or bake a pumpkin pie in July, if you wanted?
Has Thanksgiving been reduced to simply a turkey, cranberries, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows? Is this what it has become because we have all bought into unrealistic expectations that have been shoved down our throats by society, media, and (dare I say) dysfunctional family?
Each day we wake up, there is an opportunity to give thanks for whatever we have. Is that not what the words represent? Thanks giving?
I do not know if I will eat turkey or pumpkin pie today. I might just have pancakes and eggs at my local Denny’s.
On Saturday I am meeting a group of people for a traditional dinner and game night, if I need my tryptophan-fix.
Yet, today I will reflect on many things for which I am thankful:
- LIFE itself
- People who have remained by my side to care for me since my 2012 diagnosis
- Living in a place where I am safe
- The few dear friends and family members who continue to make it a point to let me know they love me by picking up a telephone or sending me something in the mail to surprise me
- Having enough
- Opportunities presented to me when I trust in the process, others and myself
- A new life born on Tuesday–my grand niece, Rosie, at 9 lbs. 6 oz.
- Being enough
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For those of you who celebrate today, have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with much joy and love and peace that you so deserve on this day and always.
And for those of you who are sitting at home alone, maybe you will join me for those pancakes at Denny’s.
For what things are you thankful for today?