My family has never been strictly traditional with Thanksgiving celebrations. Sure, we usually have turkey, and there’s usually some beer and football. Logan probably questioned his willingness to pursue our love the year that my mom served corned beef and broccoli for Thanksgiving dinner, which also happened to be the first holiday he spent with us. To Logan, the traditional family recipes he grew up with are an absolute non-negotiable part of his Thanksgiving celebration. He admits that the corned beef tasted good, had it been St. Patrick’s Day or Easter, but it wasn’t Thanksgiving. The one tradition that my family has always held is to go around the table as we’re eating and talk about one thing we’re thankful for.
Oh. My. God. I remember being about 15 and saying something like “I’m thankful that as soon as I’m done eating I can go to my room and put on my headphones”. I didn’t always appreciate the act of public appreciation. I have never been a heart-on-my-sleeve type, so having to open my heart in recognition of the things that I was thankful for felt awkward and forced.
This Thanksgiving, in honor of my family’s one tradition that has been steadfast no matter where we’ve lived (or what we’ve eaten), I want to publicly appreciate.
Here are just a few things that I’m thankful for, to make up for all the Thanksgivings I didn’t play along. And I’m probably still going to be frantically trying to think of something to say at the table this Thanksgiving, and it will still feel a little uncomfortable to be pronouncing appreciation. But I am grateful, even if I don’t like to show my cards.
- I am thankful to have a loving and supportive family, and that we enjoy each other’s company. I know that even those times that I felt like I was not being loved and supported, it was a result of my choices not living up to my family’s expectations of me. Thank you for always loving me, and expecting me to be better.
- I am thankful for my amazing husband. He is kind, funny, thoughtful, strong, smart, adventurous, loving, and has been a wonderful influence on me and in my life. Thank you for being a sweet, sweet sweet-sweet.
- I am thankful for the opportunities I’ve had to follow my passions. I studied subjects I loved, pursued band management, event coordination, music, belly dance, photography, travel, non-profit work, and cooking, among other things. I’ve been able to spend my life doing things I loved.
- I’m thankful for my baby Pie. She is healthy and easy-going. She has given me new direction in life, and has created a wonderful life for me that I didn’t think I wanted. She makes my life challenging and overwhelming, but she gives me purpose. Thank you for being my baby.
- I’m thankful that I am able to be at home with my Pie. Because of Logan having a good job and our planning for it, I am able to be home to care for the Pie. Although there are days I wish it were different, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
- I am thankful for my volunteer work. I am able to make a difference in people’s lives while using my skills to encourage social change, health, and to promote the arts.
- I am thankful for my at-home-work position. It’s a small job, but it’s perfect for me right now. After leaving my old job they asked me to continue on this project from home, and I am thankful that they would have me.
- I am thankful for my experiences. I’ve traveled, worked an archaeological excavation, attended a good school, had jobs that made a difference, lived in poverty and in (very temporary) wealth. I’ve had a good time.
- I’m thankful for the times when my parents didn’t bail me out. It was hard to be left to dig out on my own, but I learned hard & valuable lessons that wouldn’t have been learned otherwise.
- I’m thankful to live in a bubble of tolerance. My community is a kind and caring community that is tolerant of others.
- I am thankful that I live a life of ease. Fresh, clean water pours out of taps. Toilets flush, electricity is pumped through the walls to power anything I can imagine. Transportation is rarely uncertain. Mail is delivered to my home. I don’t need for anything.
- I’m thankful for my friends, who love and support me even when I’m a bumbling idiot. I say things without thinking, I don’t keep in touch, I don’t spend enough time with you. But for some reason, you love me anyway.
- I am thankful for the internet. I know, that’s a dumb one. But seriously, my life has grown significantly because of the internet. I have been able to interact comfortably without exhausting my “social tank”, I can research anything I could think of, I can find support, news, opinion, humor. I found my couch, my husband and my cat on the internet.
- I’m thankful for the life I have, for the people who have sacrificed in order for me to live this life, and for the people in my life who make it so wonderful.