Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks and express gratitude for all that you have. A day to celebrate a delicious meal with family and friends. In my house the preparations would begin 2 days before with everyone pitching in to clean the house. Mother Fran would give out instruction to ensure everything got done in time for the big meal. Desserts were usually made the night before and tucked away so as not to tempt us.
As a kid, I remember my dad would put the turkey in the oven early in the morning and the house would smell so good. My siblings and I would spend hours peeling potatoes, cutting vegetables, snipping the ends off of string beans. I remember those little baby onions, cheesy casseroles and chocolate pecan pie.
The dining room table would be set with the fancy table-cloth and dishes and silverware reserved for special occasions. We often needed 2 tables set up to accommodate all of us, there was the dining room table for the adults and the kids table. The house was full of adults and kids cooperatively preparing a feast! Football was on the television, card games and board games were being played. Laughter filled our house.
Flash forward to Thanksgiving 2016. Do you want the good news or the bad news?
OK – Bad news first.
I have to work on Thanksgiving Day. A nursing home operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and when my boss asked who was willing, I agreed to work. Granted when I agreed I thought there was holiday pay involved but apparently that is not the case for yours truly.
I will not spend Thanksgiving day or weekend with any members of my rather large family. Child #1 is traveling with her honey and Child #3 to spend the day with #3’s family. Child #9 is traveling with his honey to spend the holiday with Child #2 and her big family. Child #6 is already in Florida with her hubby, Child #7 and Mother Fran. But me, Child #8, I will be at work.
More bad news – There will be no turkey, no pie, no yummy casseroles. I told you, I will be at work.
Oh but none of that matters. Seriously none of it.
The Good News!
I am working on Turkey Day but off Fri-Sun. One of my best friends in the whole wide world and her daughter are coming to visit me. They are coming today and staying until Sunday! We met at work in 1989 and have been friends ever since. I held her daughter in my arms as a tiny baby still in the hospital. This is a friendship one can not take for granted.
So we will celebrate our holiday on Friday with a feast of our own. I give thanks for my friend for braving the holiday traffic to spend her Thanksgiving with me. I give thanks for her daughter for joining her on the 7 hour drive.
Let me tell you a little about my friend.
This is the friend who I called every single day for weeks on end when my last relationship ended. It ended badly and I needed to process it (a lot). I would take my dog on a walk around the reservoir and as soon as I knew where I would get cell phone reception, I started dialing. Every day, she patiently listened to me talk about the same things, offer encouragement and tell me she loved me. I always felt better after the walk and the talk.
This is the same friend who flew with me to Florida when I bought my Dad’s car and drove it back with me to Massachusetts. The same friend who agreed to skip the second half of the whitewater rafting adventure to sit in the hot tub with me after I fell into the frigid water.
This is the friend who threw a Super Bowl Party and got mad at me for watching the game instead of talking to her. The same friend who still laughs at me for making her move pots of dirt from one apartment to another several times. The same friend whose cat used to sit behind me on the couch and swat me in the head with her tail while we watched movies and talked for hours.
She is my confidant, the friend who knows all of my secrets. The one who never judges me even when I screw up royally. This is the friend I once took a punch in the face to protect. The friend who I can call in the middle of the night, the one who always tells me to text her when I get home so she knows I made it.
The word of the day is grateful and boy am I grateful.
The house is clean, the fridge is full and my bestie will be here tonight! I choose happiness with my bestie!
Sitting around the dinner table, my sister-in-law used to state “highs and lows”. Each of us would have to tell the best and worst part of our day. Well I already know what I will respond on Thanksgiving!
What are you grateful for Thanksgiving?