“So, what do you want to do for Thanksgiving?” I asked my husband. We were sitting together one evening after the kids had gone to bed.
I received a typical response, “I don’t know, what do you want to do?”
I hesitated, inhaled and searched the depths of my soul. I knew what I wanted to do and I knew what I felt like I should do and they were battling it out in my gut.
My family has been hit pretty hard over the last few months with a series of unfortunate events. It seems like one thing after another lately. It’s all I can do to get through each day and as I searched my soul that night I recognized how weary I was. I knew I really needed to refuel.
“Nothing.” I heard myself say. “I want us to stay home.”
In the hustle of the last few months, I just wanted to relax at home with my little family. I wanted to spend time reconnecting and recharging with them.
I didn’t want to arrange for doggie care. I didn’t want to pack or unpack. Load or unload. But I felt tremendous pressure to do it anyway. To go. To see. To visit those distant but loving relatives for whom I feel so much love and gratitude.
The pressure I feel doesn’t exactly come from them (maybe a little)…it comes from inside me and from messages I get from all kinds of places…
That night, I saw a commercial on television of a family preparing for their Thanksgiving feast together. Connecting. Loving. Making memories. The message was that there’s always room for one more at the table and of course they let us know where we could get our groceries for the occasion. But there was a tone that extended family should get together for the holidays.
Yes. Family is important and it’s awesome if we can get together. But sometimes we need to focus on the ones nearer. Sometimes we have things holding us back. Sometimes those things can’t be avoided. Sometimes we need to make the holidays meaningful in our own way, with what we have and WHO we have available.
I know it’s time for me to reevaluate how I’m spending my time and to reconnect with God through that process but for now…I’m going to let go of the guilt and I’m going to enjoy Thanksgiving connecting with my little family of 4 in our own home. Perhaps we’ll watch a movie, or bake cookies, or do a puzzle together. I’m going to look forward to talking, playing, giving out hugs and just slowing down a little.
So I’m going to challenge you. When you’re celebrating Thankgiving, be present with the ones you are celebrating with. Keep your thoughts and focus on those people who are around you. Don’t get bogged down in guilt or resentment about the ones who aren’t there. Be thankful for the moment and experience a little Thanksgiving connection with the someone (or many someones) special to you who ARE there. Let’s vow to be present in the Thanksgiving that we have.
P.S. If you are gathering this Thanksgiving you might want to check out my post: Getting Along When You Get Together.