Giving Thanks – A Little Late

‘Tis the season for ‘giving thanks’, stuffing our faces, awkward family gatherings, watching your ‘p’s & q’s’, and getting up super early for the deals, right? That’s all I thought about holidays for years and years. I’d just get through them and when they’re done no more family for a whole year!

For the record, it isn’t my family that I’m avoiding and it’s not that I’m not thankful. I do want to spend time with my family and I miss my family often. It’s really the awkwardness, pain and pressure I feel being around my family with my mother during the holidays.

I’m being vague here so let me just say that my mom is the drunk of the family. She’s not one of those funny drunks, either. She’s either crying, being mean, telling an inappropriate story at an inappropriate time, yelling to be heard above everyone, giving a piece of her mind (and it’s not usually a nice or constructive piece) when no one asked, or she just starts making things up.

Baby J & Cousin A w/ Grandpa C

Anyway, aside from my crazy mom we had a great Thanksgiving double feature celebration this year. First, we had dinner at noon with A’s family – which I’m still weird around. It’s just that I don’t do hugs, I suck at random chit chat, I’m socially awkward and I don’t really know his family members well. I’ll get better at it over the years, I hope. But, it was nice and also really funny to have the 11 month old screaming (literally) in her booster seat over how delicious her turkey was 🙂

Dinner at my aunt’s house was at three and over an hour away from our first celebration. I was really excited to go to my aunt’s this year because some members of my family haven’t met our daughter yet. My extended family is amazing, though. We each wrote three things we were thankful for, put them in a jar and took out three things to read off throughout dinner. My cousins each read either a poem, story or song about thanksgiving which was great.  I really wish that we weren’t hours apart so I could spend more time with my aunt, uncle and cousins because they’re all hilarious and fun.

Having a child made me realize and I’ve really learned that this time of year isn’t something you should just try to get through like I used to think. This year I’m really thankful for my life and everything in my life. Sure, the holidays can be a little awkward and family members embarrass you, but I also realized that I am my own person.  I’m not my mother – I’m just a product of her.  So, when she’s drunk and being herself I can be thankful that she’s still well and with us.  Even if she the family drunk. 

I’m thankful for my daughter, who is so full of life and filling my world with joy.

I’m thankful for my husband who can see through the cranky and know-it-all that I am and still love me deeply (even on the bad days). He takes care of us and I don’t show him nearly enough thanks for everything that he does.

I’m thankful for our family’s health, our home, our annoying yet faithful pets, and a steady flow of income even if some days we’d like to quit our jobs.

This year I hope to start some great family traditions, follow along with old family traditions and to start teaching our daughter how to give in the spirit of giving not out of feelings of obligation.

I did get up at 6:00am to go shopping with my sister and my daughter in tow on Black Friday, though. It’s the consumer in me, I guess, just trying to save a buck or two. At least the shopping is done and I only have a couple more gifts left to craft.

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