Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday.
Thanksgiving usually meant large family get togethers, blessings that went on and on…and on – usually including tears, wine glasses that were never empty, Uncle Charlie’s seasonal boujalis, constant watch over Brooks to ensure he didn’t end up in a fire pit or the river, hoards of really good, made from scratch food and a feel-good internal warmth that came from turkey as much as the love in the room. We usually had at least a few days, if not a week, off of school leading up to Thanksgiving, giving you time to prepare casseroles and get fully immersed in the holiday spirit/really make a dent in that Christmas Crown. Or at least enough time to wish that you could be off while your kids were in school.
Not so this year.
There’s no media surrounding Thanksgiving here for obvious reasons (or perhaps more accurately, I haven’t been watching the news lately as I’ve been going to early morning workout classes and too spent after having my ass handed to me to drag myself into the living room to find the remote) and no decorations in your face to speak of. If it wasn’t for Brett’s birthday making us pause to celebrate, we might have let Thanksgiving slip by unnoticed.
It has also been a damn rough week.
Brooks has had issue after issue at school and we’ve had meeting after meeting. It’s nothing truly new to him – mainly the school figuring out that he’s a tough kid. Their usual tricks for compliance aren’t going to work on him. More effort will be required as well as pride put aside to listen to the parent – who might actually know a thing or two. No small feat for a school that’s been around and has had a track record of success for more than 100 years. More effort required on us as parents as well.
Sigh. Parenting is hard.
Can I get an amen?
It’s helpful that Thanksgiving fell on a rough week such as this one – making me pause to take stock of my life and what I’m grateful for. It helps to calm the rough waters of my life at the moment. So in no particular order a list of things of which I’m grateful:
- I am grateful for friends that know me so well that they anticipate my emotions before I’ve even had a chance to process them. Thank you to the sweet, sweet, friends who sent me a care package full of “Texas” items. You cannot imagine how big my smile was when I opened the package. And I’m grateful to another friend who sent a very knowing and hilarious email with a list of reasons why I shouldn’t be sad to miss Thanksgiving. I desperately wanted to post her email because it is laugh-out-loud funny but it couldn’t be done with complete anonymity plus it might have given her husband a heart attack.
- I’m grateful for a mentor who is willing to write to me on his Thanksgiving break and succinctly put my life into perspective and order while also encouraging me and making me laugh.
- I’m grateful that I was part of a school designed for the child that didn’t fit in a “traditional” school; for the people there that taught me how to teach the child, not the curriculum; for the examples of exemplary teaching and learning; for the obstacles, disagreements and discussions so that I am now better equipped to assist my son and participate in more obstacles, disagreements and discussions.
- I’m grateful for the friendships I’ve made through the American Women’s Association. I cannot imagine what a sad sack I would be without them.
- I’m grateful for the opportunity to participate in a different culture. Visiting a place does not allow you to see those deeper layers of culture that I’ve been privy to here. While hard and many times frustrating, I’m glad that my kids are doing some growing in a place that’s so safe and child-friendly. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this place with friends and family that have come, or will come to visit so that they have the opportunity to participate in a different culture as well.
- I’m grateful for time and space to be reflective. I’ve felt extreme guilt over not working at the moment. Yes, even though we just moved to a new place and we’re just now starting to get our shit together and figure out what life is like here – I’ve still felt guilt. I do appreciate the time that it has given me to reflect on life here and life as it was before.
- I’m grateful for my husband for pulling me along for this adventure, crying the whole way, even though I’m the one who always said I wanted to live abroad.
And of course,
I am grateful for the love and support of family and friends and I’m thankful to be able to give that love and support to others. Thank you Lord for this beautiful Earth. – Papa Joe Allison
Perhaps I’ll have a glass of boujalis this evening.