A week of gratitude – time with family and friends

As I prepare some food dishes to take to Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends, I can’t help thinking of how very grateful I am for my life. Of course, my health as a cancer survivor is always at the forefront of my gratitude because how could I not feel blessed?

I’m thankful for all of the people and things that make my life great. And I’m also grateful for what we sometimes don’t realize makes a huge impact on our lives – the lessons learned, challenges overcome, kindness shared, choices made.

Thanksgiving was my dad’s favorite holiday. He liked that our family and friends gathered together, and he enjoyed good food. He also liked how it wasn’t fully commercialized yet (think Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, etc). I don’t think he’d love the craziness of Black Friday and stores opening on Thanksgiving.

I’m grateful for the past, for a childhood filled with love and laughter as family and friends gathered together. I recall many years of people hanging out all over my parents’ home, even sitting on steps and the carpeted floor as we enjoyed a full meal. The Detroit Lions were on television while board games played.

There are still the traditions – our special dishes, including my grandma’s apple pies, which my older sister continues with the same recipe (my grandma’s handwriting makes it more dear). The rainbow jello that my 21-year old niece now makes, plus the many other dishes (turkey, sweet potatoes, and more!).

But of course the movement of time brings changes, both happy and a bit sad. My dear dad’s absence leaves a void in our hearts and at the table, as well as my grandparents who wrapped us in love. There are others who are simply no longer in our lives. And yet our family grows in size and love, with my nephew and nieces, and now my nephew-in-law, and new friends. We still play and laugh. We appreciate our time together.

Most importantly, I give thanks for our blessings of health, happiness, love, and the people who surround me near and far. Thank you for being one of those people.

What are you grateful for today?

Happy Thanksgiving!

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