It’s been a long time since I’ve had a family thanksgiving not laced with stress and tension. As far back as I can remember, Thanksgiving Day at home has meant an almost unbearably quiet meal, stiff with a stifled conversation that skims over the meaningful subjects. No relevant stories. No good-natured jokes. No easy-going banter or relaxing with a movie after dinner. Just a turkey and a thinly veiled aura of emotional discomfort.
You know, looking back, it all seems so odd. It’s strange how the unusual is accepted as the standard over time, from nothing more than exposure.
I remember one of my favorite thanksgivings was when I was working at Safeway cruising 100 mph through the holiday rush. All the last-minute prep; harried mothers, sticky children—with pies and cans of cranberry sauce flying down the aisles and conveyor belts. I liked it because I could fall into the rhythm of work, unworried with anything outside of those grocery store walls. And with that, I could be unconcerned with awkwardly eating stuffing and mashed potatoes at a silent table, barely tasting anything.
I’m thankful for so much. My mother, my brother, friends, the simple fact that I’m alive, that I want to be alive. That in and of itself is a fantastic feeling. I’m thankful for my health, my family’s health, my dog Charlie.
I’m even thankful for some of the things in my life right now that are far from ideal. Through these aspects comes a degree of hope for the future. A willingness to look ahead that maybe wouldn’t be there if I took too much time to wallow about how things aren’t, but instead look toward how they could be and will be.
This Thanksgiving was special and warm, and I tasted every bite with true thankfulness in my heart.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving.