I should be starting the pumpkin pie right now, but it feels too weird. Thanksgiving isn’t for a few more days, but we’re celebrating today at my house.
My head isn’t quite in the game, for a few reasons. My daughter will be with her dad on the actual Thanksgiving Day. My family is scattered across a few time zones and not spending this holiday together. I know that Thanksgiving is both an action and a season. I realize that gratitude and the gathering of family can happen at any time, not just on the fourth Thursday in November, which Congress designated as Thanksgiving in 1941.
It’s my daughter’s last Thanksgiving before she goes to college and I feel like it needs to be especially great and memorable. The pressure of the lasts now applies to holidays, too.
I’ve always appreciated Normal Rockwell but I’m coming to realize that he may have set for America “standards that no family event can live up to” just as Ellen told Clark he was doing in the fabulous movie Christmas Vacation.
My wish is that wherever and whenever and with whomever is at your table that you enjoy a happy Thanksgiving. May you have a full heart and tummy. But if your celebration does not resemble a Norman Rockwell painting, please know that you’re not alone.
Thanksgiving can be tough for those who are missing loved ones, struggling with loss, overwhelmed with expectations, fighting exhaustion, trying hard to make peace — and that’s all before you factor in what it’s like to raise a teenager.
If that’s not you, it’s likely someone you know.
That doesn’t mean people feeling those feels are not thankful. Quite the opposite, actually. You can be sad and also full of feelings of gratitude and appreciation and love. All of the hard stuff can co-exist with all of the good stuff.
I wish I had words of wisdom that would ease heartache or disappointment for whom this is a tough day. I’m afraid I don’t, but here’s what I do know and it might be good to hear in case your Thanksgiving isn’t ideal.
People are complicated.
Families are messy.
No holiday celebration is always perfect.
It’s okay to be sad.
Different is hard, and it can be okay, even good.
You are not alone.
You are enough.
Tomorrow is another day.
Happy Thanksgiving. I’m grateful to you for reading.
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Prior Post: 12 Fun Advent calendars for teens and tweens
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