More Than Just Turkey & Football

Thanksgiving postcard circa 1900 showing a tur...

Thanksgiving postcard circa 1900 showing a turkey and football player. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m feeling pensive as Thanksgiving approaches, mostly because my husband won’t be here.  Due to a bit of bad time management on his part, he’s out of the country, working, and won’t return until the Saturday after.  We had our symbolic turkey dinner the Sunday before he left so he wouldn’t feel that he missed out entirely.  It was nice and all, but still…

A few friends who know about the situation have invited me to their homes for the day, but travel with Mom can be difficult, especially when it’s so stinking cold.  And she doesn’t know these people, or doesn’t remember them.  Leaving the security of her home makes her feel nervous and unhappy, and she’s ready to come home ten minutes after she’s arrived.

I invited some family down, but that didn’t work out.  They’re headed west to spend the holiday with our newly discovered brother and his wife.  Others are working the Friday and/or the weekend or don’t want to deal with the traffic (can’t say I blame them).  One relative said he’d “think about it,” but I believe he’s holding out for a better offer.  I’m sure there are things he’d rather do than hang out with an auntie and his great-grandmother.  Truly, that much excitement is not for the faint of heart.

<self deprecating eye roll>

Friends are in the same bind – they all have jobs and plans and families of their own.  If I owned that dimensional doorway I keep meaning to build, I’d whisk a certain Army officer and his wife up from Texas for the weekend.  I’d import several former Coast Guard cadets and their families.  I’d fly in my step-son from the West Coast, bring my husband’s step-mother in from Arizona, kidnap his cousin from the warmth of L.A.  A convoy would roll in from upstate New York and Maine, New Jersey and Virginia, Michigan and Vermont, Wisconsin and Minnesota.  This house would bust at the seams with laughter and conversation and so what if most of us have to sleep in sleeping bags on the floor?

Alas, that’s not to be, but I’m determined to not sit here on Thursday and lament.  I have a few little things planned, stuff that won’t have any particular significance to my mother, but carry meaning for me.  A big meal isn’t going to be one of them, however.  Been there, done that, wore out the shirt.  We’re going simple this year, if only because Mom doesn’t have a clue that it’s the holiday and won’t miss anything.

The big thing I want to do, though, is not spend the day feeling sorry for myself.  I try to live a life of gratitude and mostly I do a pretty decent job of that, but on a day that’s meant to make us take a break for that very thing, it seems important to remind myself once again of how rich I truly am.

So this:

I’m grateful for a husband who loves me.  He’s not perfect and neither am I, and I’m grateful that we accept each other’s faults, love one another despite them, and keep on forgiving and loving through all the hard times.  (And I’m grateful for the good times, too!)

I’m grateful to have a roof over my head, food on my table, and warmth in my home.  I’m grateful for clean water and sanitation.

I’m grateful for the pets who grace my life at present and those who have gone.  They are a priceless source of love.

I’m grateful for my mom.  This is a hard one for me, because I’m not thrilled she’s here and I get tired and frustrated with the energy drain and the unceasing work of taking care of her.  But it’s been a real opportunity to look closely at myself, how I think and what I value.  This can, I hope, be a chance for some personal growth on my part (if I don’t brain myself with a frying pan first).

I’m grateful for my friends near and far, old friends and new.  I’m grateful for my Facebook pals, many of whom I’ve never met in person, but have proven to be counted upon for a hug, a laugh, or a firm kick in the pants as needed.  I’m grateful for the missing friends with whom I’ve been reunited.

I’m grateful for my writing, the ability to put words down and have them move people.

I’m grateful for my extended family, those I’m related to as well as those I’m not, those heart-friends who have become family.

I’m grateful for my good health, for the ability to get up and move around, get outside, walk the dog, and dance (when no one is watching).

I’m grateful for my joy in all sorts of music.  I won’t win any contests with my singing, and I don’t do it except when I’m alone, but I love music and the many ways it moves me.

I’m grateful that I still experience a thrill of childlike joy at the first snowfall of the season, that I rush to put on shoes and coat (or not) to get out in it and turn my face to the sky.

There’s more to be grateful for, I know, and I’ll be ruminating on them as the days pass, quite content to take an accounting of my life and note all the ways in which I am a very rich woman.

And so, my friends, I wish you a most wonderful Thanksgiving, if you celebrate.  If not, I wish you a most marvelous day.  In either case, may you all experience a moment of clarity in which to re-discover your own wealth and gratitude.



About Melissa Crandall

Longer ago than I care to admit--although I will--I cut my writing teeth on fanzines and media tie-in novels. Since then, I've moved on to narrative nonfiction, speculative fiction, and essays. I write to explore and understand the world around me, the things I see and experience nearby or from a distance. If I shake myself up, cool. If I shake you up, even better. Not gratuitously--what's the point in that?--but to set what I know, or think I know, on end and realize, "Well, doesn't it look different from this side!" My work is neither sexually explicit nor graphically violent. Let's face it - your imaginations will come up with things far worse than anything I could write, no matter how descriptive. Besides, it's just not my thing. I live in Connecticut with my supportive husband Ed, a cat named Ruby who might just think she's a dog, and an epileptic Australian shepherd named Holly who isn't quite certain anymore who she is, except she knows she loves her mommy.
This entry was posted in Gratitude, Thanksgiving and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to More Than Just Turkey & Football

  1. I hope you and your Mom have a very happy Thanksgiving no matter how you choose to celebrate it. Wishing you all the best!

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