Each year since I was a child, my family has hosted Thanksgiving Dinner. As a child, we would have approximately 35 people in our smaller home each year. I never did not appreciate this as it usually meant waking early and helping to set up the house. It also meant that my mother, who ran the kitchen like a military General, was more than a little stressed with the intricate ballet of food preparation and house decoration. That stress would obviously trickle down to the children.
As I became an adult, I came to appreciate how nice it was to have all of my extended family in one place each year. For the past 15 years, I have lived in another state from my family so while Thanksgiving is still hosted at my house, the attendee list is not quite as full. We do our best to invite any local friends who don’t have other plans and we do get the occasional family visitor who will come in for the holiday, but it is just not the same.
Even with the obvious differences between my childhood Thanksgiving experiences and my adult Thanksgiving experiences we have tried to maintain as many traditions as possible. This has ranged from the choices for side dishes and desserts to behavior at the table. One such behavior is to go around the table and state something that we are Thankful for. This is a tradition in many homes and one that I did not enjoy as a child. As an introvert, I dreaded that brief moment when it would be my turn and I would have to speak in front of the larger group. I always felt that I had to come up with the “perfect” thing to be grateful for. At times I tried to be funny and makes folks laugh. Other times, I would try to be serious and say something heartfelt, while worrying that this would cause tears to well up in my eyes. As an adult, I have many of these same feelings and fears but now, I relish this tradition. Much of my joy now, is in listening to the things that my children come up with to be thankful. It warms my heart to hear them say something truly heartfelt and allows me to see the type of person that each is becoming.
As I have previously mentioned, my wife is a Breast Cancer survivor (more like WARRIOR). This is something that is always first on my list of things to be thankful for. Not just on Thanksgiving but every single day. Additionally, I am thankful for the wonderful human beings that my children are becoming. But to keep with the theme of this blog, this year I am extremely thankful for the opportunities I have been giving in life and that I have awoken to in order to walk the path toward financial freedom. There have been many people along that path who have believed in me, inspired me or just been an encouraging voice and to each and every one of them, I say “Thank You.”