On Thanksgiving, 2014, I recall that after some masterful cooking in the kitchen, we sat down to a meal. It had become my family tradition. After years of both sides of family arguing over whose turn it was that we come to their Thanksgiving, I finally had enough and drew the line in the sand to declare that my own family would be having dinner at our home.
By 1995, my children were at an age (17, 15 and 10) where it was even more important to gather the troops after shuffling around our schedules and continual running with soccer games, track meets, religion classes, music lessons/concerts, trips to the doctors while balancing all of this with my busy work schedule. My husband began to cherish and look forward to this time, as well, as he was the grounding force behind the scenes when things got chaotic. It was his time to relax and enjoy the moment of fun, kids, and food.
In 2014, Thanksgiving was, in my opinion, the perfect feast. [Every year, I seemed lay claim that this was my best culinary year ever. Family cooks, I’m sure you can relate!] Turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, sauteed green beans, maple carrots, salad, and my traditional RTS (rosemary, sage & thyme) stuffing. Of course no Thanksgiving dinner is complete without wine and desserts: pumpkin and pecan pies
So! I’ve addressed the reason we celebrate with only my family, and, or course, the food – important on this day. From the kitchen on that blustery 2014 day outside, I beckoned the family from the games they were playing in our warm, cozy living room, shouting the infamous “It’s time to eat!” Imagine “kids” in their 30’s, running to the table, elbowing each other – now with grandchildren (16, 14, and 12) vying for their place at the table with the adults. A happy, and familiar, sight for an aging mother’s eyes!
We finally sat down to eat, gazed in amazement around at all the food on the table and, at that moment, I decided that we needed to say out loud what we were thankful for. I started. “I am thankful for these days when we are together, laughing, playing and enjoying each other.” We continued around the table and each person voiced gratitude for things in their life or the day.
Last, but certainly, not least ,was my oldest son, who usually had an entirely different outlook on life. He paused, swallowed, then said with deep thought, “I’m thankful for each day that I am able to draw a breath of life.” Silence seized the moment, frozen still in a sudden time-warp of mystic befuddlement.
Everyone heard the message, everyone seemed to want to embrace the message, but were grappling with their own egos to respond delicately to such a profound statement. My heart drew inward just that moment. I felt his painful journey to gratitude, yet this was such a precious moment of beauty for the souls sitting around the table.
These words might not have much bearing on the average family at a Thanksgiving table, but this was different. My son had accomplished living to be 34 years old, battling Cystic Fibrosis since he was born. His struggle to simply breathe had become a daily battle. Yes, his message was quite different. How does one find gratitude when faced with the struggles of multiple stomach surgeries, diabetes, pain, and now, just breathe, function, and live life every day?
His words created a very sudden immediate, humbling moment for those around the table. The family members who said they were grateful for material things like turkey dinner,the upcoming football game, or something humorous to skate from any emotion that may creep in while listening to everyone else’s heartfelt thanks, were now questioning their own sense of gratitude. My son was intense yet modest about his words of gratitude. My son, who was usually the one to issue humor or gregarious quotes. The moment of silence was peaceful, yet this hollow space yearned to be filled.
Then a gift broke the silence..quite humbly, each person at the table began to thank him for giving his heart to this momentous piece of time. I looked upon my family at this meal in a more loving light, as my heart beat with a great sense of joy and satisfaction. My children had become beautiful adults and I can be thankful for years to come that they will look out for each other and be grateful for different things in life.
I will always remember my son’s words that day. It made me think of how precious our lives are on this earth with such little time to create our mark of love and gratitude.
My son’s words made time stand still for just a small moment to allow everyone space to go inward for a self-check of why we exist: To love, be loved, and walk in gratitude every single day of our lives.
May you all find love and peace in your moment at Thanksgiving and wherever you celebrate gratitude around the world.
Kat helps people awaken the light within to live a life of joy. She believes that every person deserves to live their authenticity with conviction and a voice to be heard.
She is a Core Alignment Mentor, Professional Neuro Linguistic Programmer and Emotional Wisdom Trainer. Kat is also a writer, aromatherapist, and energy worker. Her work has helped many people overcome fear, anxiety, loss of confidence, memory loss and more. She conducts 95% of her mentoring over the phone.
Kat is currently taking new clients for December 2016. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 314-359-2647