Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Custom that Embraced Thanksgiving



In the midst of a modern day Thanksgiving is this, "Day 20: I am thankful for my son's teachers, past & present. They have helped them to grow, while embracing their unique little personalities."  Are my kid's teachers better than yours?  Maybe, maybe not.  Am I bragging that they are?  No.   I am recognizing the people & things that make a difference in my life.  I do it to let them know how I feel & that I truly am appreciative of them.  I do it to put a smile on their face.  I do it to teach our sons about life.

Do we assume the Dad in front of us at preschool knows that we are thankful that he held the door for us this morning?  No, all 3 of us, 3, 4 & 33 years old, tell him thank you.  We make it known.

"30 days of thankful" is all the stuff I love about Thanksgiving.  Thirty days to make known the little, the big things that make my heart smile for an second, a minute, hours.  Thanksgiving is a time to make known the things that seem to go unrecognized for a majority of the year, while we are busy changing pissy sheets in the middle of the night, umpiring toddler basement baseball games & cleaning up bandaid trash strewn across the kitchen floor.
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Thanksgiving is about family flying in from Florida & driving from North Carolina to be under one roof 10 days before the actual holiday.  It is about being exhausted by the antics of 3 little boys, but enjoying eachothers company, even after being woken up at 5:45 am.   

It makes sense.  It is not braggy.  It is real.  The gratitude moves from your stomach to your throat as you erupt in laughter as Harlan tells everyone around the table that he is thankful for "Valentine's Day" & Emory for "Power Rangers." Everyone cries b/c this is real...real funny & real life. 

We all go through some define thankfulness that looks like well-dressed children, Harlan rocking his Batman Halloween costume & Emory donning his very best Angry Birds pajamas.  


Sitting in at the kid's table in Ciocci Lorainne's wall-papered kitchen, we watched the adult's, eating, drinking, drinking, drinking & drinking some more & laughing, as we did the same (minus the drinking).  My father pushed aside the fact that he couldn't stand his younger sister & they broke bread.  They held hands.  We said we were grateful & we meant it, just as we do now with our own little family.

Gratitude is publicly rejoicing in the gifts you've been given.  Gratitude is the quiet "Thank you." in your head before dozing off to sleep each night.  It's the timid celebration of the worst of the worst & how it makes you appreciate the best of the best that you've got.

My holy day is the sharing of a meal -- the making the best of things.  Warmth, be it by a space heater in the still of the night in the basement on an air mattress, as Uncle Peep knows the beauty of.  It's bellies full, of corn & mashed potatoes only, as Emory & Harlan know best.  Our biggest accomplishment: we were all sitting still, for 5 minutes before the boys were done -- loving each other in spite of our shortcomings.

I'm thankful that my husband still loves me fully, after being sent to the couch at 1 am due to freight-train decibel snoring.  I am thankful that my sons have teachers who deal with their nonsense while I am at work preparing to later deal with their nonsense.  I'm thankful for a mother who selflessly takes care of all 7 of us while under the same roof.  I am thankful for life -- though it be harshly lived.  I'm thankful for living in imperfection & I am proud to make it known in this season of thanks & I do not judge you if you shout your thanks from the rooftop, or whisper it in the quiet of your own mind.

Happy Thanksgiving...as I eat my Thanksgiving leftovers 8 days before the actual day.