There is one real strong thought/feeling I hope everyone understands when it comes to my views when celebrating any holiday or personal event with loved ones. That the point of the event is to bring together people and share wonderful feelings. The material items of decorations, gifts, everything… is just an extra flavor of fun. They really aren’t needed to experience and have wonderful memories of loved ones.
I’ve been through a lot growing up and living life. I know what it means to say goodbye to all personal possessions and hop into a car with just my family, our fury family, and the clothes on our backs to seek refuge in a hotel during yet another hurricane evacuation. How to celebrate and enjoy the time together regardless of what we had or didn’t have.
Thanksgiving has been a hard time for me personally in different years. One year my family celebrated it at Ryans (a steak buffet place) because my mother was in between treatments. No one was up to trying to prepare a big meal when so much was put into her care and just spending what time she had left together as a family.
I remember trying to make a hospital room feel more warm and cozy for my dying mother who was spending Christmas there. That year it had been her last Christmas and I never could afford a gift to give her but I made what I could. All of my money went to trying to keep the house out of foreclosure and to cover medical expenses. I was just grateful that she was alive and at the time it still looked promising on her health improvements. That was a gift from God and much more important than any item anyone could have given me.
My mom, my grandmother, and my great aunt taught me that being there for each other was much more important than material objects. That without your loved ones you can sit in a fully decorated space and still feel lonely and devoid of the holiday spirit. That being with those you love and admire inside a plain space can be filled with warmth and all the holiday spirit that is needed.
My mother showed through example, that no matter how different people are, that family events are not a time for negativity, disagreements, or hate. That even if someone is just awful, its best to follow a golden rule of “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”.
She also showed us that family is a lot more than just blood connections. People can be related by blood but are by no means a true family. That people who love and care about each other can form a family. .
So really, just remember that when enjoying holidays and planning things around them, that its the spirit of the togetherness that is important. Everything else is secondary to it. So what if you burn the turkey? it will be something you all can look back on and laugh. Be happy and grateful for the love in your life and try not to worry about the small things. Some holidays have been real painful but there are always blessings to look forward to if one tries to find them.
My favorite thanksgiving day to date is the day I was able to go home with my daughter Abigail after she had spent most of that week in the hospital. Just taking her home and seeing her get better was all I could ever hope and pray for.