It is Thanksgiving Eve. The house is very quiet except for Layla's terrible cough here and there. Everyone fast asleep after our first round of Thanksgiving food. This round of Thanksgiving is a celebration with Matt's parents, full of Lebanese food, a tradition we began a couple years ago that I love. I wasn't ready to go to bed. After a week or so of feeling very uninspired in the writing department, I suddenly felt the need to come here. Last night I tried to force it...wrote a whole post on things I felt grateful for. I generally just write and then hit publish because that's how this blog thing is supposed to go, but last night I couldn't hit the publish button. It felt too forced somehow. I mean there were parts I liked. Things about trying to find a balance between getting into the holiday spirit without getting caught up and swept away with it. Remembering the beauty of the season and leaving the tacky consumerism part of it at the door. Being a part of the contagious magic of it with the girls, without needing to buy them everything on their wish lists. I even got all self-righteous about the nonsense of Black Friday shopping and how ridiculous Christmas can get with "stuff". As if just because I don't partake in that I am somehow better, which is so not the case. I went on to talk about being grateful for my girls, family and friends and all that good stuff. Somehow, it all fell short and I left it.
Tonight as we began our Thanksgiving holiday I was reminded of the beautiful simplicity of this holiday. The one that tends to get overlooked between Halloween and Christmas. The holiday that is a favorite of mine because it is about food and family and let's be honest, what is better than that? This morning while I was at work the girls were with Matt's mom and they made some decorations for our Thanksgiving dinner table. Instead of the list I made last evening of things I felt grateful for, I'm going to expand on what my babies said they are thankful. It is basically the same as I wrote about last night, but something about their beautiful simplicity makes more sense.
1. "I am thankful for my family that loves me, takes care of me and trusts me"
Trust was the big word in this one that caught my eye. Loving and taking care of...that's easy, but trust...that you have to earn. I am grateful that my girls trust me to take care of them. I am grateful for the trust Matt and I have in one another. Without that, our relationship simply would not work. In our family we take care of each other. When someone is down, we rally around. This is true in my little family of four as well as my extended family. We are a team and for this I am grateful.
2. "I am thankful for good tasty food and clean water"
I love that Ava sees beyond our small world here in Montana to realize how lucky we are for these big things we take for granted. We try to remind them that not everyone in the world gets three meals a day, plus desserts. Yes, we work hard to get what we have, but some of what we have is because of the luck of where we were born. I hope they always understand this, feel compassion for those that don't and feel the desire to help everyone get these basic needs met.
3. "I am thankful for freedom and a country that I can worship God how I want".
This one surprised me. We are not a religious family. The girls go to Sunday school and the occasional church service, but not regularly. We talk more about faith than church. We talk about how not everyone believes in God the same way and that is okay so I'm wondering if that is where this thought came from. Regardless I am happy for her open-mindedness to it. Everyone should be able to think how they want and I also am grateful to live in a country where it is okay to do so. In the past few months I have had my own internal dialogue about religion and faith. I know my doubts and questions are okay to have. I am thankful to live someplace where having these thoughts out there does not make me a bad person. Oh, sweet Ava...wise beyond her eight years.
4. "I am thankful for a warm, cozy, safe place to live".
This is something to be thankful for indeed. We live in a beautiful place and a lovely community. And, it may be cold outside, but it is warm inside. The happiest moment of my every day is at night when everyone in my family is safely tucked inside our home sound asleep. Yes, I am grateful for this.
And, then there was sweet Layla's...
1. "I am thankful for flowers because they smell good"
I also am thankful for good smelling things and flowers are on the top of that list. It's the little things. Smells can take you to a happy place. Lilacs give me the scent of spring with the hopes of summer. Pine trees always bring on the Christmas memories. Rain, sea salt and sunscreen are a hot summer day. Occasionally I will smell sunscreen in the middle of winter just to take my mind to summer...crazy, I know. I am grateful for smell and its ability to bring on beautiful memories.
2. "I am thankful for love cuz it is nice"
Love is nice, isn't it? It sure is. If there is one thing I am happy for in this world, it is love. The love I have for my girls and Matt is like nothing else and makes everything okay. Giving love, feeling love, seeing it out in the world...there is just nothing bad about it. You can watch all the terrible news going on in the world...but if you look close, you can see the love too. That is what shines through, you just have to look for it.
3. "I am thankful for family cuz they are all nice".
Our family is nice. I like them very much. Our friends are nice too and I am thankful for them this season as well. We try to surround ourselves with good people who help enrich our lives. Life is too short to get caught up in drama that surrounds some people. It's as simple as what we tell our kids. Be nice to others and make friends with others who are nice to you. How much better could this world be if we all just remembered to be be nice to one another? Kindness is a simple thing.
4. "I am thankful for Thanksgiving cuz it is happiness".
Yup, that sums it up for me. Thanksgiving is happiness. Family+friends+food=happiness. A day to remember everything we have to be grateful for and to share this with those we love. No gifts, no decorations, no hoopla...only gratitude. This is happiness.