How to even begin a post like this is difficult to do. This particular entry is more for myself than anyone else. I wanted to make sure and document it before the details became fuzzy and the spirit of this day weakened by life and time. Today was the first Thanksgiving in my 26 years on this earth that I did not share it with my family. Most times it was my immediate family, and other times my extended family. In this Town X, going to share Thanksgiving with my family was just not possible. I had my co-worker, and friend, invite me over to share Thanksgiving with her family. I really did not know what to expect. I knew it would be full of love and sharing, but I wondered if my missing my own family would overcome the gratitude that I have felt lately. Although I did miss being with my family, and thought of them constantly, this particular Thanksgiving is one that will live on in my fondest of memories. Here are some of the reasons why.
The first is the incredible people I got to share it with. The day was spent with family and games, laughter and cooking. I taught their family and grandparents to play stupid (only the best card game ever!) and it was unbelievably funny. In the game the 10 is a special card that can save you from others. Well when their grandmother played her 10 she followed up with a terribly sad, "Oh no!" Confused and concerned everyone at the table quickly asked what was wrong. Her response, "That was the card that made me most happy and now it is gone." Needless to say that should have been a preview to the highlight of comedy for the evening. That arrived when, as she was leaving and hugging goodbye, she looked at her son and said, "How do you like the new hair?" I thought she must have recently gotten a haircut. Boy was I wrong! It was at that moment that she followed it up by saying, "Do you like it on or off?" Then she grabbed her hair and pulled it off revealing a very bald head. My jaw must have dropped because no one stopped laughing for quite some time. Being a character does not even begin to describe how amazing this woman is.
After the festivities and "hair raising" fun at the house, I went and met a friend at his AA meeting. Here is where the introspective and humbling part of this Thanksgiving came into play. I have been to my fair share of AA meetings, but never on a holiday. I sat quietly and listened to the stories, the gratitude and the love in that room. For some, sobriety was new. This was their first Thanksgiving they would remember tomorrow. For others, they offered stories of hope and faith to those struggling and feeling alone. This meeting offered me a chance to truly examine what I am grateful for this year. It offered me perspective for my life and the challenges that I face. In the midst of darkness, these individuals offered clarity and joy. When I looked into their eyes I was given the opportunity to catch a glimpse of their strength and determination. It was remarkable. I cannot even begin to express the joy I felt today. So often I think of Thanksgiving as the last hurtle before the Christmas season that I love so dearly. But this year, this day, has offered me more than I could ever have imagined. I realized that although I may not have been able to spend Thanksgiving with my biological family, it was indeed spent with family. To all of those people that have filled my life with love, I offer my sincerest gratitude.