Growing up, Thanksgiving was anything but picturesque and filled with family togetherness. At our house the holiday was filled with mean comments about the food, complaints about family, and the only thing to be thankful for was making it to dessert without a fight. I always wondered if this was how holidays were truly meant to be.
Once I grew up and had my own family I realized that holidays could be so much more. Thanksgiving finally became a day of good food, wonderful company, and thankfully no fists were ever thrown. I was able to teach my children to be thankful for all the things we had and not focus on what we lacked.
This year is very special. As a family we have made it through several cancers, surgeries, adjusting to life with a rare disorder, the loss of a loved one, and a job transfer that moved us across the country. It’s been both hard and busy, to say the least.
Having to go through our own trials has opened our eyes a little wider to the hardships of others. Our thoughts can’t help but be with the victims of this year’s hurricanes and tornadoes. The words “thank you” don’t seem like enough to show our gratitude to the brave men and women serving our country both at home and abroad. Joy hardly begins to describe what I feel knowing that I am alive and able to listen to my children do something as simple as argue over what float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is best.
I’d love to have the traditions and warmth from generations before to pass on to my kids, but instead they will grow up knowing they are a part of making new traditions that we can all cherish and pass on to the generations to come.
Jo is a 30-year-old mother of three miracles (14, 11, and 2 1/2), a wife to Vinny, a poet, an aspiring writer, and a three-time cancer survivor.