Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Thoughts

"The more light you allow within you, the brighter the world you live in will be." -Shakti Gawain

I write this as my Thanksgiving turkey is stuffed, seasoned and roasting in the oven; homemade cranberry sauce simmering on the stove and an apple pie cooling on the counter with the sounds of the Macy's Day Thanksgiving Parade in the background - and the glee in my daughter's voice as Santa makes his arrival in NYC.

It is a quiet Thanksgiving this year - no family visiting and no travel.  Just myself and the kids.  But quite an enjoyable day so far cooking, relaxing and best of pressure - easy to please 3 kids with the Thanksgiving basics.

However, this is far different than Thanksgivings of my youth - as the youngest of a blended family (9 kids - our own version of the Brady Bunch) holidays were always filled with noise, games, laughter and lots, lots of food.   Once I married Brian and moved to Philadelphia, Thanksgiving was spent with friends or sometimes travel to visit family in Rochester. Until the Thanksgiving I was pregnant with Jay.  Brian suggested we spend the holiday at the Outer Banks and enjoy our last holiday without the craziness (and joy) of kids in one of our favorite places - the beach.  So, we packed up our Thanksgiving feast and began a  tradition that lasted through the birth of all our children as well as our move to the Midwest. 

Until Brian passed away.

Walking the Outer Banks beach one of many Thanksgivings
Brian & Rachel that last Thanksgiving

The last Thanksgiving the kids and I shared with Brian was at the beach.  The following few years were spent with my family in Rochester, Brian's family in Tennessee and the last few years in Bloomington.  My oldest is now a junior in high school and for the third consecutive year will be performing in his high school Madrigal performance this weekend.  No opportunity to travel very far because of these performances - but I do love seeing him perform (he is quite talented - something he inherited from his father's side of the family as my family has no singing talents what-so-ever).

I think I am ready to start this tradition again.  I think it would be good for my soul to be there again....a moving on....and an opportunity to revisit a life I loved with Brian.  His ashes were scattered off the coast of the Outer Banks, and as a family, we have not been back there since that day.

I miss Brian quite a bit - especially around the holidays - but I am very thankful that I had the opportunity to be a part of his life.  To have memories with him....and to see him in our children.

As with every Thanksgiving, it is tradition to reflect on what we are thankful.  Here goes:
  • My children - although at times they drive me crazy (think two teenage boys and a red-headed daughter that hasn't fallen too far from the tree) I love them dearly.  It is difficult being the only parent but they understand the difficulties and I know they are appreciative of our struggles.  As I find gratitude each night before going to bed, all three consistently make the list for a variety of reasons.  My life would be 100% different without them - perhaps some days would be easier but in the whole scheme of life, I would never have been able to move forward as I have without the three of them at my side.
  • My family - we are not the closest of families - I think due to the circumstances in our lives - and it doesn't help that I live halfway across the country.  But, I know that if I need something, all I need to do is pick up the phone and I can count on my sisters, brother, nieces and nephews to be there for us. 
  • My in-laws - Brian's family has been a blessing to me.  One would think that perhaps it would be difficult for them to be around the memory of their son and brother (I recall my grandmother not being able to be around us after my own mother passed away because it brought too much pain to her).  My mother-in-law and her husband are like parents and friends to me....a major void in my life with the passing of my own father 8 years ago. There isn't anything they wouldn't do for me and the kids.
  • My health - yes....very important item to be thankful for.....even more so that I am the only parent.  I can't even tell you how concerned my kids get whenever I have a doctor appointment....all routine annual visits of course....but I understand them being concerned.....and extremely grateful that I am healthy.
  • My friends - this one is a given.  I can't list you all but without each and everyone of you, my children and I would be lost!  You provide me laughter, support, a shoulder to lean on,the necessary kick in the pants,  the opportunity to cry without feeling sorry for me, shelter for my children with I need a break - or off running my marathons, accepting me as I am (the craziness, the goofiness, the sadness, the directness etc).  I could go on and on....but that would be another blog entirely!
  • My children's successes - My kids have definitely been dealt a raw deal in life.....but that hasn't stopped any of them in being successful in life.  All three are very unique individuals, all have their strengths, and the word "can't" isn't part of their vocabulary - except when asked to do chores around the house I suppose.
  • The LIVESTRONG community - without this organization, my life would be completely different.  The friendships I have made over the past three years has added so much to my existence.  I cannot imagine any of the friends I have made through these experiences not being a part of my daily life.
  • My blog readers - I appreciate your support as I often use this space as a free therapy session....appreciate your willingness to read my rants and raves....appreciate your understanding and comments regarding my achievements and difficulties.
  • My LIVESTRONG donors - I am incredibly thankful and overwhelmed at the generosity of my friends, family and strangers in supporting my efforts for LIVESTRONG.  This year we raised over $11,000 for close to $35,000 the past three years.  This is something that is near and dear to me, so your support is something I am very appreciative of each and everyday. 
The theme in this list - the people in my life.....bringing the LIGHT into my soul.

Rachel is busy making a Thanksgiving concoction in the I asked her what she is thankful for:
  • Her dad
  • Me
  • Our friends 
A Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.  May the friends and family in your life provide you with light needed for you to shine each!

What are you thankful for this year?

No comments:

Post a Comment