I’ve noticed on Facebook lately where a few people have put what they are thankful for each day throughout the month of November. It once was a bigger deal in Facebook-land, telling everyone what you were thankful for each day. I enjoyed reading other people’s post about what meant enough for them to write about it and I liked sharing as well.
I haven’t done it this year, not once, and I don’t really have a reason why, maybe it’s because I haven’t seen the majority of my “friends” list participate in the activity and I don’t want to look weird, or be the “that’s so yesterday” person …but I should, not that telling the whole world makes any difference in how I feel about things, about places or people and I really shouldn’t care what people think of a “thankful post”. But, Thanksgiving IS my favorite holiday of the year. I don’t have to wear a costume and hand out candy, and I don’t have to worry about making sure everyone has the right number of gifts to open or if they like them or not. Now, before you say anything, I know that Christmas isn’t about the gift giving, I’m just simply stating it’s not a worry I have when the turkey is being served on that special Thursday in November.
Thanksgiving, to me, is getting to spend time with the most important people in your life, whether it be for lunch, leftovers or just maybe a phone call or text that you make to someone that isn’t able to sit across the table from you. It’s the time you have off from work or the week the kids are out of school. It’s the movie you have been anxiously waiting to come out and finally going with your best friend to see it. It’s the “cheat” meal you are allowing yourself to have, and the random stranger that gave you a compliment. Thanksgiving should be an everyday occurrence. I don’t mean the meal with all the trimmings and fixings, I mean for us to know and to show each other how grateful we are for the ones we hold dear.
I grew up spending Thanksgiving at my grandmother’s house with all my cousins, and as we got older, new faces were added and some subtracted depending on if we got married, divorced or had babies of our own. But no matter who sat around the table, we loved telling stories of holidays past, which usually ended by us picking at my grandmother, just so we could see her get all riled up, even though she fussed at us a little, she enjoyed the spotlight. I think I miss that more than anything at Thanksgiving, but I’m lucky to have the fun memories I do of those holidays’ past. I’m grateful for that!
While looking on my Facebook today I had a post pop-up from 3 yrs ago, where my then 16-yr old had taken me for a drive in the country, we like to do that from time to time. It’s a time we can talk about anything and everything; there is just something about driving around in the country with no where to be, but right there, sharing laughter, having important conversations and just enjoying the others’ company. That particular afternoon, we drove until the sun started to set and as we watched the colors of the sky turn from blue to reds and oranges as the day became dusk, I remember it like it was yesterday. My son said as we drove along, “It’s crazy how something so beautiful only lasts for a few minutes and then it’s gone, I guess we better enjoy it while it’s here, just like us Mom, we aren’t gonna be here forever.” Still looking out the passenger window, I smiled silently trying to hold back tears, because his words went beyond his youth. In that moment, I saw his heart and how he understood the world to be. What a moment I will treasure forever, I’m so thankful for that.
“We aren’t gonna be here forever.” Hmmm, no truer words. Time changes everything doesn’t it? As a mom, I always judge time by when Brandt was 6, 10 or when he started to drive or when Blake was in 5th grade, or the year he got 1st place in the history fair, ya know, just some point of reference to give my brain a little help remembering something important. But, some things are just harder to remember. Can you remember the last time you held your child? I can’t. I don’t mean a hug, I mean there was a day when you put your little boy or girl down for the last time, you never put them on your hip again or raised them above your head like dads do when they play airplane just to hear that little giggle. Maybe we aren’t supposed to know when those times are, maybe we are just to be thankful for each and every one of those occasions that seem so irrelevant at the time and recognize the next important moments that come our way and take advantage of them when we they show themselves to us.
Those moments go beyond just our children and family. Have you ever had someone just randomly pop up in your thoughts? You think to yourself, “I should call them”, but whatever it is you’re doing seems too important to stop, or you just think there will be time when you get done. Or maybe you think you will contact them tomorrow, and well, just like the sun that set quickly that fall evening, time moves even faster. Call them, send them an email, text them. Just contact them, because you never know if that will be your last opportunity to do so. Be thankful for those random pop-ups, they can help you later when your mind searches for the last words spoken between you and the one that needed to hear from you. I have a friend who is battling for his life as I write this, and I cannot help make his fight any easier. I am thankful for the years of memories we share, the secrets, the laughter, the phone calls, the tears, the photos, the lunches and the moments we shared when we needed to say those hard things to one another. When I am done writing this, I will text him, just to tell him I am thinking about him, or maybe I stopped in mid-sentence and already did!
If someone were to ask you to write down what your thankful for, what would you put down? I’m not sure if I would have enough ink in my pen, but after the obvious selections of God, my children, husband, parents, family, friends, and my job, I’d probably jot these down among so many others.
I’m thankful for the crisp autumn air, honesty, faith, summer vacation, the wind that slaps your arm as you drive with the windows down. For the waitress that served me breakfast in some small town in New Mexico years ago and because of her outlook on life I still remember her fondly. For the laughter that fills my house at times, and for the silence when no one is home but me. For odd numbers and the oddities in my life, the lessons I had to learn the hard way, for holding my grandmothers hand in her last moments, for the shape of things you see in clouds. I love Lucy re-runs, Frito Chili Pie on cold nights, the sunlight that rides the rail of the railroad as you drive along beside it, for the music of Cody Jinks and Conway Twitty. For being called mom, momma, mother, stinker, Mrs. Tompkins, Stace or babe, for the smell of breakfast being cooked for dinner, for back-roads, old signs and raindrops on your windshield. The smell of fresh cut grass or the rumbling sound of thunder, for the ripples in a pond that catch your attention, for football games and rivalries, family game night, and friends that still know I know. For red birds and black and white pictures, for quilts and the talks you have with God about the ones you love the most, for being able to call Texas home, for the dust that old trucks stir up driving down dirt roads, for cattle that act more like canines rather than bovines when they are happy to see you at feeding time. For the wink you get from your significant other when no words are needed, for that song that gets stuck in your head and sing all day, for small town preachers with big messages, for sleepy little kids draped over the shoulder of their fathers, and overhearing an elderly couples conversation of their yesteryears. For being able to throw a rope like a cowboy when my sons challenge me to a little competition, for First Responders, old barns that have seen their better days, BBQ sandwiches and small towns with funny names. For Dr. Pepper, sweet tarts, and for any and everything else that make the big stuff worthwhile.
I might be thankful for weird, quirky things, but all those things make me who I am. So, what do I want you to take away from this??? I want you to notice the moments that might seem so meaningless at the time and see them for what they really are. Be thankful for your people, for the things you see, do, and the places you go. I want you to take the time to make those calls to the people who pop up in your thoughts, and I want you to slow down and take in every thing that is around you. It’s there for a reason, and just be thankful for this very moment.