Traditions…. & the value of family
Good morning! I have a few thoughts nestled in my brain and heart. I traveled for October thru most of November. Enjoying my granddaughter and the peace and tranquility of Spain. I arrived back in New York and realized that November was almost over! Thanksgiving is tomorrow. The turkey is defrosting and I so enjoy the warm, hearty, comforting meal. I really love morphing leftovers into something super delicious too. What I realized was lacking was a sense of traditions. What I deeply grieve and miss is….family. Our family members are scattered about. Some are in different states and some are close by. The pattern that emerged over the last decade was each family didn’t appear to care about spending time together. Yes, we received an invite or two to travel to them. I often invited a nephew whose family lives down south. Last year, he didn’t bother to show up. Didn’t even text to cancel. Sometimes your expectations often leave you disappointed. Over the last few years, I expressed my feelings to my siblings. I think the hardest part was the silence on the other end of the phone. The other day, I stated NOT to send any “gift cards” or presents. It’s another added expense and I said, quite frankly, we do not share the holidays together, the gift is meaningless. I received silence again. I really sit and reflect on all these feelings. I have a few theories and revelations. The first being, their state of mind. Their inability to focus on Joy or family traditions and the desire to be together. The lack of empathy, holiday spirit, bonding, and negating making any memories for their own children. This, is the demise of traditions! When I was in Spain, my daughter wanted to do a traditional Thanksgiving meal. She really seemed to enjoy being with us and celebrating an American tradition and holiday. I’m glad we did it. I’m proud that she is teaching her child the value of sharing a meal and celebrating together.
When a friend asked me yesterday, what are your plans? I told her… nothing much, just a quiet, simple dinner. I could hear in her voice she was concerned or a bit sad for me. I wanted to remind her….I’m kinda used to this. When my parents were alive, there was always a big family dinner and lots of pie and memories to be made. Today, my life is not the same. Traditions died, family remains separated (by choice) and now I read the ad’s for all you can eat Thanksgiving feasts for $65 a plate. I haven’t sunk that low yet. I am glad I told my siblings what I feel, how I am missing them, missing “US”. No, it didn’t change anything. What it did for me was reinforce where my heart is. What matters most to me. A few years ago, after my son died, I would cook and bring meals to kids and families in need. It brought me so much gratitude. I fundraised one year and provided groceries and a full Thanksgiving meal for 10 families in need. Again, It filled my void, it taught me to be humble and kind and thankful for what I have.
So, for this Thanksgiving, I challenge you to think about GIVING rather than receiving. Volunteer to help serve others, donate food or clothes to a shelter or a rehab. Make a few pies and drop them off at the Vets center or a nursing home. Thank a Nurse! A special caregiver, a house keeper! I bought special chocolates for the flight attendants this year. Their smiles and appreciation made me feel so good. It’s the LITTLE things people. Donate to your favorite charity or just sign up to do something for a child or the elderly. Remember your teachers, your religious instructors, the bus driver or the pastor. It doesn’t have to be grand. Just reminding someone, You are LOVED and cared about. That is what Thanksgiving means to me. I couldn’t close this post without remembering my beautiful parents. Thank you for teaching me traditions and what truly matters.. I miss you both so so much. & To my boy, Michael, who ate so many mashed potatoes! and loved every holiday… I miss you the very most my beloved son.
May your holidays be filled with joy and thankfulness and good health. God bless.