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Posts Tagged ‘Thanksgiving’

It’s that time of year. A time to think about gratitude and sheer luck – we happened to be born in these United States and not in say, Syria. We get to roast a turkey and kick back to watch football, we’re not packing up our meagre belongings to flee across borders, escaping bombs, and worse. We’re making cranberry sauce. We’re trying politely not to talk politics.

Bob and I are packing tonight for California. We’ll be catching up with the newlyweds, and meeting up with nieces and cousins for Thanksgiving. My amazing Sister-in-Law, Jorja, is hosting the combined clan in Pasadena. Big props to her, she lost my brother Mike several years ago, but family is everything to her. And she just moved to Cali to be closer to her grandbabies, so we can relate!

Did I mention the Rocker won two Clio awards? He composed the music for the trailer, Dunkirk, the movie by Christopher Nolan about WWII. About altruism and honor, sacrifice and courage. I was thrilled when he told me, almost as an aside. I remembered when we sat at a cafe on the street in Silver Lake, and he saw Nolan get out of his car. The Rocker was still “taking meetings.” I had faith in him; somehow, I knew everything would work out. I can’t wait to see those golden statuettes!

So this Thanksgiving I am grateful for:

  • My Little Pumpkin running into my arms
  • My Love Bug singing to me as a turkey in her school play
  • Bob agreeing to move to Nashville
  • The Bride and Groom in their new house, paying off their med school loans
  • The Rocker and Aunt Kiki not just surviving, but thriving in LaLa land
  • Great Grandparents who are still living independently

Life is about change, I know. And I vow to embrace whatever the future holds. I am California dreaming and I prefer not to think about North Korea, or a president who tweets like a Kindergartener. I’m happy not keeping up with CNN. I’m happy making chicken masala for our crew tonight.

Despite our differences, we Americans can gather around our Thanksgiving tables, and be grateful we are free to worship and speak freely. We are free to take a knee. We are free to be… totem poles of love.

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Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I wake Bob and we list the things we are grateful for – sometimes, the list is short. But in the full light of day, before we gather at a friend’s table for Thanksgiving with Ada, Hudson and the Bride’s family, I thought I’d do my Norman Rockwellian best to write a current gratitude primer.

I am grateful for the sun bathing the mountains this morning.

I am grateful for the deer stomping his greeting to me.

I am grateful for Ms Bean and her willingness to cuddle.

I am grateful for a fireplace that lights up at the push of a button.

I am grateful for my sanctuary, the aviary.

I am grateful for my First World problems in our free country.

I am grateful for my family, all over the world, and all our quirks.

We were all once strangers in a strange land. And I am grateful to you my readers, who sometimes comment, email, text or tell me that what I write resonates.  Thank You!

 

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Granted, I’ve never kept a gratitude journal. I tried once keeping a diary, in middle school, it was pink and had a pretty lock and key. When my older brother found his way into it, I decided it wasn’t worth keeping after all. The Bride, however, did like writing in a journal consistently, at least in high school and through most of college. I think it was a way to let off steam in her highly competitive world.

But years ago I did follow Oprah’s advice and try to list, in my mind and sometimes aloud with Bob, three things every day I was grateful for, every night before going to sleep. Some nights the list was easy; 1) I saw two juvenile foxes playing in the backyard, 2) The mole isn’t cancer, 3) My son’s band released an awesome album.

And sometimes finding things to be grateful about was harder; 1) The sun came up, 2) The rice didn’t burn, 3) A hospice nurse was at the wrong house. Some days, it feels like nothing is going your way, but especially on those days, it’s important to find something, anything to turn your mood around.

Which is why it seems like Thanksgiving is just some arbitrary day on the calendar to be grateful. Why shouldn’t we be grateful every day? After all, we may have been saved by Native Americans on that First Thanksgiving, but then look what we did to them. We brought them plagues and pox and then we herded them off their sacred land.

We’re not with our Big Chill family this year because we were expecting a grand baby in Nashville. Our little guy came three weeks early and his other grandparents, along with Aunt Jen and Uncle Dan, will arrive tomorrow to sit at the Bride and Groom’s table. It’s their first Thanksgiving, but Bob and I will get the turkey in the oven early in the morning like we’ve done for decades.

And tonight I’ll make a gratitude list, and instead of telling Bob, I’ll tell you: 1) I’m grateful my little Love Bug said she needs me to help her play Pictionary – Dada draws a picture and we guess what it is; 2) The Preschool Thanksgiving was the cutest thing I’ve seen in a long time; and 3) I’m so happy to hold our little grandson in my arms. And I could go on and on. What are you grateful for?

"Mama you are a princess and I'm a ballerina" the Bug

“Mama you are a princess and I’m a ballerina” the Bug

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It’s morning by the beach and we’re all up. Scratch that. The Love Bug is taking her morning nap. She was a trooper on the plane. Wide eyed and taking it all in until it was dinner time, then she slept until wheels down. Today she gets to see her Rocker Uncle and Ms Cait again, and meet her extended Big Chill family. Do you know about the Big Chill?

“I’ve got sunshine, on a cloudy day.” We all met in high school, a nerd squad with Broadway ambitions. People laugh, because most only know that the boys went to Woodstock together (remember I went to Catholic school). But we were all in the Drama Club in the late 60s and could run through Guys and Dolls with little provocation. Only one couple has divorced, leaving our old friend an expatriate in Viet Nam. Another couple is absent, closing on a new house in VA, so we’ll be closer in the near future. But this trip is historic in a way, the 3rd generation of Chillers has met – 18 month old Carter from Atlanta and the Love Bug, aka “Bout du Chou” have finally been introduced. We also have two grandbaby girls in upstate NY waiting in the wings. And we have another Big Chill wedding planned for next year, the daughter of our soon-to-be VA neighbors. It seems lately we see each other more than once a year!

There should be a name for that type of friend. One you may see only once in awhile, but just as soon as you do, it’s old home week. It’s like they know your innards, you can almost never surprise them – well, except when I learned that Bernie was an ace accordion player. And laughing is inevitable, jokes are known almost before they fall from your mouth, almost as soon as you make eye contact. They are the opposite of “fair weather” friends. Because you know they would be there, in a heartbeat, in a crisis. “Foul weather” friends? That doesn’t do it justice!

I have decided to take a sabbatical from the news this week. If somebody wants to start a war, so be it. What if they made a war, and nobody came? One person can make a difference, and I’m starting right here, right now. Tell me 3 things you are grateful for this Thanksgiving. I am grateful for old friends…for sunny, happy days, and for my family.

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