It isn't that I don't have a lot to be thankful for. I really do. Oh, not that I don't have some challenges, who couldn't use better health and more money. But I see friend after friend do obligatory thankfulness posts year after year, and they are almost always the same things : family, kids, job, home, enough to eat.
Thanksgiving used to be my absolute favorite holiday. I loved that it wasn't about anything but hanging out with family, sharing good food, and being thankful. As my kids have grown and married, however, family has become more complicated. So we compromise and switch off and figure it out, but it isn't the same. I miss ....
I miss the women of my family, my older generations all gone. I miss the home made fudge my grandma would have in the candy dish, her light as air biscuits, her special dishes and silver. I miss my Aunt Eunice's weird and often inedible salads from some recipe in the newspaper. I miss my mom's fussing, and the way her long, strong hands looked, as she dried them on her apron.
I miss the traditions. I miss the photo session to show all the generations, where we are all dressed in our holiday best. I miss the cousins tumbling around on the floor while the men tried to watch the game, in B&W of course. I miss (weirdly) the smell of cigar smoke. I miss the after dinner walk in the park. I even miss being crammed too tight around the table, and the obligatory "Let's go around and everyone say what you're thankful for."
I miss the times when everyone knew that all the stores would be closed and Friday was the day to rest up from T day, and maybe start getting the Christmas decorations out.
But I am thankful, for my kids and grand-kids, both near and far. I am thankful that my children have found love and marriages that bring them joy. I am thankful that, in these tough times, and though they are inadequate retail jobs, and some of them have to go to work tomorrow night so all you crazy people can buy all that stuff no one really needs for a few dollars less on Friday, well, at least they have jobs for now, and we are getting by.
And I sincerely, with all my heart, thank God that I have the freedom to my beliefs, the chance to express myself, a world of almost instant information and entertainment from a machine in my warm bedroom, and access to modern plumbing. Yeah, like every year, I'm especially thankful for flush toilets and nice, hot showers.