This year, I’ll celebrate Thanksgiving in a country that doesn’t recognize it as anything but an ordinary day. But that’s no reason not to be thankful. This year, we’ll continue the tradition of Thanksgiving breakfast but it will just be us and our cat. Maybe in the years to come, it will grow to include more. But for tomorrow, I’m thankful for our little family to be around the table. The solemness of not being with family builds in my heart an even greater thankfulness for them. Memories of last Thanksgiving, when I knew I’d be far away the next year, play around in my mind. I remember being thankful for so much:
I’m thankful for my mother-in-law’s eagerness to please a household, for her kind, honest smile that says, “It’s not perfect, but it will do.” I’m thankful for rambunctious children and the shameless opportunity to dance and play alongside them. I’m thankful for my sister-in-law, that she proudly walks out of the door the same woman she walked in as. I am thankful for her confidence. I’m thankful for my grandparents-in-law, the way they smile adoringly at their family, the way they perfectly arrange the fruit basket year after year. I’m thankful for my little brother’s long hugs, for the grown-up air he’s suddenly got around him. I’m thankful for my mother’s charm, that she highlights even the dullest of moments. I’m thankful for my grandmother’s charisma, that she is instant friends with whoever she sits next to. I’m thankful for my aunt’s quiet desire to serve, for my uncle’s exploding kindness. I’m thankful for my sister’s inclusiveness, she always makes me feel at home. I’m thankful for my stepdad’s encouraging words, the way he’ll always share a good thought about another. I’m thankful for my grandfather’s smile, for his deep, compassionate heart. I’m thankful always for my husband’s impossibly constant grace toward me, his insane love, and his awesome hugs.