The Ghost of Thanksgiving Past

Thanksgiving is coming, and I write this with a smile on my face. I have a soft tissue injury in my foot and a hand that needs an MRI. These are not ideal injuries for a tennis player who is also training for a half-marathon. Being side lined isn’t fun, but it frees me up to work on other things I put off…like writing, photography, and volunteering projects.

Thanksgivings in my family used to take place around a grand dinner table, that is when I moved up to the adult table if I’m telling the story right. First, I had to pay my dues at the kids’ table. There were always many generations present. My Nonnie presided over the event in her role as head chef, head decorator and most perfect, high hostess. My great granny provided all the talcum powered, soft wrinkly skin hugs we could handle, while complaining about “all the meat on the table” in a way that offended no one. Granny lived to be 105 and made the decision as a child to never eat meat. She had one vice in the form of a sugar addiction, but as she liked to point out, she out lived her doctors. My Big Pop always said a Thanksgiving poem before the big meal, and I wish, from the bottom of my soul, that I could remember it. Even if I could it would not be the same in the telling. His cavern deep, monotone voice, while a nightmare for singing hymns, was pure magic in the reciting.

My Thanksgivings look much different now. All of the characters I introduced to you,  plus more not mentioned, have passed on. Only my mom, sister, and I remain, and my mom and sister live in a different state. I am not nostalgic, although I remember those times so fondly my heart aches a little. I look at my Thanksgivings now with the love of my life, our two teenage boys whom we love more than we can stand, and often our neighbors of 13 years, whom we consider family in every sense of the word, and I feel blessed.

Here’s the thing…I don’t need a magazine perfect Thanksgiving to be thankful. We don’t know if this will be our last Thanksgiving. Tomorrow is not promised to us. If you are like me, you delight in looking at Pinterest and dreaming of creating that perfect Thanksgiving table. Should I go with the fall colors or monochromatic? Oh the decisions! But even if my table looks like a spread from Pottery Barn, please let it be so, that is no guarantee that the people around me will feel loved and welcomed.

Jesus said to love others and show them the way to Him. I struggle with that…often, but it’s really the easiest thing I can do to show my gratitude this Thanksgiving season. I am not required to share my wise advice with a poor unsuspecting family member, no one will mind if I keep my opinions on the latest political debate to myself. And releasing my need to please allows me to embrace that everyone’s favorite dish making it to the table may not happen, and that’s ok. Even made for magazine Thanksgivings are gone in just one day.

Enjoy where you are regardless of who shows up, what the topic of conversation is, and in the face of unwelcome hints as to how to cook a moist bird.

I wish for you a little humor, maybe a little spirits, and of course a lot of thankfulness this holiday.

Meredith is a 40 something wife and mother who is currently using her time to figure out all of the ways she can enjoy her life while on this earth. From tennis, to writing, to photography, to volunteering Meredith is constantly busy with things that take up her time and pay her nothing. She is enjoying her journey to self improvement through book clubs and Bible studies, and is making lasting friendships along the way.