My mother has a tradition at Thanksgiving. We all hold hands, the meal spread before us on the table, and tell everyone assembled what we’re thankful for this year. When I was a kid, this made me cringe. First, the tradition made sure everyone was staring at me—horrifying when I was a self-conscious teenager. Second, what the heck was I going to say? I would obsess for days ahead of time to come up with the perfect short, thoughtful phrase. Inevitably, I would flub it and a slight titter (or out-right guffaw from my brother) would circle the table. Eventually, as I matured, I learned to play to the crowd, keep it simple and the moments eased on by.
These days, it’s so easy to focus on the worst. Crisis after crisis hits the headlines and pops out of every mouth, TV, blog or tweet. The stories are frightening and devastating. Every-day life is full of small calamities, too: the car breaks down, the toilet backs up, the cat throws up on the new sofa, bad hair, really bad dust-bunnies. Sometimes it seems like there’s nothing to be grateful for. Then Thanksgiving arrives and I remember my mother’s tradition. I spend a few days thinking about all the great things in my life and I re-focus on what’s important: family, love, laughter.
This Thanksgiving, I won’t be sharing a meal with my family, but maybe that’s a good thing. The turkey would need a sweater to keep from catching a chill while I list all the things I’m thankful for this year. I have a wonderful husband. I have terrific friends, some of whom just helped us move. You have to be grateful for people who help you haul an eight-foot sofa up five flights of stairs. I get to write every day. I have romance readers who enjoy my stories. The list goes on and on.
Now I’m going to pass this wonderful tradition on to you. Join hands, everyone. What are you thankful for this year?